After passing by the village of Meliquina, Del Córdoba Pass lays out a different kind of tour used as an alternative to the 7-Lake Road.
With its majestic water bodies, native forests and snow-capped mountains, the 7-Lake
Road is one of the most beautiful and best-known paths in Patagonia. However, there is an alternate road that also offers an attractive circuit in this area of the mountain range. Del Córdoba Pass starts beyond the charming village of Meliquina
To take this road, travelers leaving from San Martín de los Andes
must take the 7-Lake Road. Alter passing by various inviting spots, such as the Pil Pil vantage point (14 km away from the city) or the Arroyo Partido
vantage point (18 km away from town), the junction with Provincial Route 63 is reached. Some kilometers ahead, Lake Meliquina may be spotted.
It appears and disappears as travelers move along the winding road. This spectacular lake and the hamlet of quiet Meliquina form a harmonic landscape that tempts visitors to stay on the beach or at some spot to enjoy the quietness transmitted by the scenery. But the idea is to continue.
A few kilometers ahead, the bridge over the Filo Hua Hum River is crossed and after going past the Lanín park ranger station, a detour leads to Lake Filo Hua Hum, a remote nook in the park chosen to practice fly-casting. Going back to Route 63, the next stop is Casa de Piedra
or Ruca Cura
(House of Stone). Hidden amongst the rocks, this cave used to be a natural dwelling and continues to be a sacred site for the local Mapuche
community, the first inhabitants of these lands. Inside, cave paintings dating from over 10,000 years ago reflect the culture of this primitive people.
On the other side of the road, the rocks give shape to a natural balcony over the Caleufu River, which features rapid blue waters and backwaters teeming with trout.
This is the area known as Del Córdoba Pass strictly speaking, which goes through slopes, green valleys and steep mountains with rock walls whimsically carved by the wind, the water and the ice. The road is winding and features steep drops exploding with red, yellow and ocher every fall, which turns this into one of the most spectacular pictures in the region.
The forest starts to give way to the steppe as the valley is crossed and the rough paths are followed amongst the mountains. Once it starts its way down, the road gets close to the confluence of the Limay and the Traful Rivers. At this spot, a gas station, a restaurant and an inn let travelers have a rest and get supplies, as well as fuel. The tour comes to an end by taking Provincial Route 65 to the right and visiting Villa Traful
, which stands 35 kilometers away.
National Route 234, best known as the 7-Lake Road, leads back to San Martín de los Andes and represents an excellent closure for a perfect day trip.