Backpacking along 7 Lagos

The sensations and feelings while visiting each and every lake are simply indescribable, more so with good information and an even better attitude.
Ruta 40 or de los 7 Lagos joining San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura is an invitation to spend the night at its campsites surrounded by dense forests and pristine lakes and streams. It is advisable to know about them beforehand to choose the ideal spot to pitch your tent.

Several companies provide transport between the two cities so backpackers frequently buy tickets which allow them to stop at different campsites along the way, either organized of free.

Pitching a tent requires care. It is important to be informed about winds, which can be uncomfortable, to take advantage of shady trees, to find shelter from rain and place the groundsheet on grass, not dirt.

We took a short distance bus and paid attention to the road. After short ride from San Martín de los Andes when the road veers away from the lake, we came to a mini campsite with an incredible view, though no access to the beach. The road continued through a Patagonian oak forest where you can also camp near the houses of the Mapuche community.
  • Between forests variegated

    Between forests variegated

  • A path invites overnight

    A path invites overnight

  • With backpack

    With backpack

  • Awakening to a lake

    Awakening to a lake

  • Contact with the pure air of the seven lakes

    Contact with the pure air of the seven lakes

  • Perceive the language of nature

    Perceive the language of nature

Farther ahead, at Lake Hermoso, where the lake and the river meet, there is another simple site two kilometers from the road.

We then left LanínNational Park behind and entered Nahuel Huapi. There are organized sites by Lakes Falkner, Pichi Traful and Correntoso.

The one by Lake Falkner has a long sandy beach, shady areas and restrooms. There are circumscribed plots and good facilities, so the fee is rather high. A few meters away, on the coast of Lake Villarino the campsite is free and a good option to save money. However, it is rather windy due to its location.

A little ahead, by the Villarino park warden’s house, there is a narrow trail about 2000 meters long, leading to Lake Pichi Traful. Fishermen frequently park their trailers by the coast and cruise the northern branch of Lake Traful where the fishing is great. It is also a reference for youngsters as it is the starting point for walks.

Upon reaching Lake Correntosothe landscape changes as its beach, grazing areas for sheep, goats and cows are an invitation to enjoy bucolic peace and quiet. The old trees at this rustic camp site provide ample shade; the local Quintrupay family offers tortas fritas(fried bread rolls), homemade bread and jams throughout the day.

When camping in the south of the country, nature seems even closer. Its trekking paths, kayak outings, hidden falls in the forest or simply ‘doing nothing’ ensure a different holiday. What about the cold? Yes, it can be cold, especially at night. If you want to be comfortable, all you need is warm clothing and not to expect the same comfort as at home.

Gathering around a bonfire at night, easy conversations and the friends you will make along the way are added to the mysteries that unravel during every outing. The clean, fresh air of the seven lakes leaves an indelible imprint on those who open their perception to the language of nature.

Useful information:

Mini Camping del Lácar
Ruta Nac. 40 km 3,5 (Sin costa de lago)

Camping Rincón del Mochilero
A 500 m de la ruta 40, camino 7 Lagos

Camping Lago Hermoso
Ruta 7 Lagos a 37 kilómetros del centro

Camping Lago Falkner
Ruta Nac. 40 a 50 km de SMA a orillas del lago Falkner

Camping Lago Pichi Traful
A 60 kilómetros de SMA

Camping y Hostería Lago Correntoso
A orillas del lago, a 104 kilómetros

Camping Agreste lago Espejo Chico
A dos kilómetros de ruta 7 Lagos, dista 87 kilómetros de SMA

Empresas de ómnibus en Terminal Transportes San Martín de los Andes

Albus y Ko-Ko
Tel 0810 333 7575

La Araucana
Tel: +54 2972 420285
Read complete Outing... Mónica Pons / Eduardo Epifanio

Useful Data

Bear in mind: Ask for information about bus and campsite fees at the local tourism information office or the bus station.

A fishing permit and knowledge of the regulations is mandatory.

Before going on a walk it is essential to inform about your itinerary and ask the locals for information about the area.

Be sure to pack the bare essentials, including warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, flip flops for the lake and two pairs of footwear (trainers and trekking boots). Even in summer temperatures can be low, especially at night.

Make sure you have a sleeping pad and a nylon awning to protect the tent roof.

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