It lies on National Route 152, 120 kilometers away from Gral. Acha and 220 from Santa Rosa. Visitors may camp, climb up the hills to catch panoramic views of the area, enjoy wildlife mapping and reach an area where there are cave paintings.
Lihué Calel means ‘mountain range of life’ in the Araucano
tongue and it is the name of the mountain range system located in the center-south of the Province of La Pampa
, on National Route 152, 120 kilometers southwest of General Acha and 220 kilometers from Santa Rosa
Created in 1977, in comprises an area of 10,934 hectares, with a maximum elevation of 590 meters. The hills are rocky volcanic formations of Precambrian origin that may be visited through authorized paths.
Though rainfalls are scarce, the mountain range encourages the accumulation of water and thus there is plentiful wildlife in the area. Cougars, foxes, Patagonian hares, wild cats, viscachas, Pampas cat, ferrets, skunks, red alligators, Argentine black and white tegus, rheas and herds of guanacos are usually spotted in this zone. The area was invaded by wild boar and red deer, which altered the ecosystem in spite of the controls carried out by the National Parks Administration.
The typical flora includes caldén
woodlands where three species are spotted. One of them has experienced a curious adaptation: its leaves are positioned in a north-south direction, which reduces the influence of sunbeams during the hottest times of the day.
Two kilometers beyond the access to the park following the gravel road, there lies the administrative area, where the park ranger office and the restrooms stand.
Activities available include an ascent to the mount called Sociedad Científica
(Scientific Society), which reaches a height of 590 meters MSL in order to get a panoramic view of the mountain range system from above. The ascent does not represent a strong hardship and takes about 45 minutes.
It is also possible to spot the shell of estancia Santa María de Lihuel Calel, once owned by Luis Gallardo’s family until the Province of La Pampa expropriated it in 1964 for tourist exploitation and then donated it to the National Parks Administration.
During our stay, we could tour around some of the interpretation trails. The one named Valle Namuncurá starts in the campsite area and reaches Cerro Alto (Mount High). At this spot, we could see the features of the woodland, its flora and fauna.
The place known as Valle de las Pinturas (Paintings Valley) may be visited by car on a 20-kilometer roundtrip. This Tehuelche mark dates from 1,500 years ago. The gravel road is in good condition and the last 600 meters must be covered on foot along a trail that gets to an overhang hiding cave paintings.