Covered in native Araucaria trees and riddled with dozens of lakes, Lanin National Park is a Patagonian treasure in the Argentine state of Neuquén. This park was established in 1937 at a time when the border with neighboring Chile was still hotly disputed. Both of the nations could agree, however, that given the area’s biodiversity and magnificent natural beauty, it was an area deserving of preservation for hundreds of years to come.
Today, Lanin National Park holds some of Argentina’s best hiking, fly fishing, and camping. The park stretches out over a total area that’s larger than the state of Rhode Island, and the dormant, snowcapped, Lanin volcano dominates the vista from a lofty height of nearly 12,300 feet. The two-day climb up Lanin volcano is one of the park’s most popular activities, but shorter day hikes and biking trails are available for summer visitors. 24 shimmering, forest-lined lakes are found within the park, including Lake Lacár, Lake Huechulafquen, and the famous “Road of the Seven Lakes” that’s one of Argentina’s best drives. In summer, bask on sandy Catritre Beach on the shores of Lake Lacár or explore the backcountry in search of puma or the elusive Andean Condor. Camping is available at designated spots throughout Lanin National Park, and from its southern border with Nahuel Huapi National Park to the summit of Volcán Lanin, this park is a Patagonian utopia of beauty and recreational fun.
The Lake Lacár section of Lanin National Park is ten minutes from San Martin de Los Andes. Farther north, the Lake Huechulafquen section is approximately 36 miles near the base of Volcán Lanin. There’s a $9 entrance fee for visitors 16 years and older, and late spring through early fall are the best times of year to visit. Be sure to pack rain gear and warm clothing since the weather can often change quickly, and there are three visitor centers within the park—by Lake Huechulafquen, Puerto Canoa, and Lake Tromen. For more information, the Visitor Center and Lanin National Park Museum is in the center of the San Martin de Los Andes and is open from 8am-9pm daily.