With its alpine peaks, crystalline lakes, and wealth of artisanal chocolate, Bariloches is a dream destination for South American travelers. In summer, the hiking, biking, kayaking, and fishing are some of the best in Patagonia, and the accessibility and ease of access make them easy for travelers to enjoy.
In terms of hiking and views of Bariloches, one of the best trails in northern Patagonia is the climb up Cerro Lopez. This 7,178-foot mountain towers above Bariloches, and offers unparalleled, panoramic views of the entire Argentinian Lakes District. Standing atop the windswept summit, gaze out towards active volcanoes that rise from the spine of the Andes. Down in the valley, thousands of feet below, the outline of Lake Nahuel Huapi shimmers and weaves through the hills, and the summit holds an inspiring and energizing sense of alpine freedom.
To reach the summit of Cerro Lopez—or at least get near the top—there are a number of different options for travelers depending on fitness and skill. Making the climb all the way to the top requires 7 to 8 hours of hiking, with a short stop at Refugio Lopez at 5,300 feet. From here, it’s an hour-long scramble up Pico Turista to an area close to the summit, or simply finish at Refugio Lopez and order a meal and drink. Alternatively, there’s a 4x4 road that climbs its way up the bumpy spine of the mountain, which is used by tour companies accessing the refugio or ziplining their way back down.
To reach the trailhead for Cerro Lopez from downtown Bariloches, take the bus toward Colonia Suiza and stop at Arroyo Lopez. The best season for hiking on Cerro Lopez is from December-March, and there might be snow and inclement weather during the early spring or fall. Always be sure to check the weather before hiking, as well as pack appropriate clothing and emergency supplies for the trip.