Alerces National Park
Considered one of the most beautiful parks of
Argentina, Los Alerces National Park was established with the
purpose to protect the forests of the "alerce" tree (Fitzroya
cupressoides), a conifer from the southern region that can survive
thousands of years, reaching 70 meters (229 ft) in height and a
diameter of 1 to 4 meters (3 to 13 ft). Its longevity is its most
shocking characteristic. A typical tree grows at a rate of 1 mm (.1
cm) per year, therefore an alerce with a diameter of 70 cm (27.3 in)
would have lived about 700 years. Within the park, in the Lake
Menendez sector, there are trees whose ages vary between 2,500 and
3,500 years old.
The park, with approx. 263,000 hectares (631,200
acres) of land, is primarily made up of a mountainous-marshy
ecosystem with dense, pure forests of lenga, coigüe, and
cypress trees. You find the forests of the alerce trees in the
extreme western zone of the park, where there is more precipitation.
There are countless lakes and lagoons, cascades,
hilly strips of land (las Pirámides chain and Torrecillas hill) and
tall glaciers. The main lakes are the Futalaufquén, Menéndez,
Rivadavia, Krügger, Verde(Green), Cisne, Stange, Chico(Small)
and Amutui Quimei. The latter is a reservoir originating from the
The Park Headquarters are located on the shores of
Lake Futalaufguen. There is a Visitor's Information Center and even
a small population of people that has settled in this area. The
village is called Villa Futalaufquen, and offers a few basic
services to tourists.
The park boasts some 20 different excursion trails,
paths for vehicles and others that are specifically for touring on
horseback or mountain bike. These trails allow you to access many
other attractions within the park, prehistoric stone paintings,
native plants and flowers, Alto El Dedal Hill, Los Pumas, Cinco
Saltos (Five Falls), and the Tio Mindo Cascade to name a few.
However, the most interesting excursion is one that
begins at Limonao Port and allows you to view the oldest alerce
forests in the park. It includes a voyage that combines navigating
through Lake Futalaufquen, Arrayanes river, Lake Verde, and Lake
Menendez with a hike through the thousands of alerce trees that are
located in the northern branch of the last lake. The tour allows you
to appreciate the vegetation that surrounds the lakes and the
Torrecilla Hill with its hanging glacier.
Chubut Province, 45 km (28mi) from Esquel.
When to go
Lake Futalaufquén, Lake Verde, Lake Menéndez,
Lake Rivadavia, LakeKrügger, Lake Verde, Lake Cisne, Lake
Stange, Lake Chico, Amutui Quimei Reservoir, Torrecillas Hill, Tío
How to get there
From the route that goes to Trevelin from Esquel. After 10 km
(6.25 mi), turn right onto Route 258, a somewhat damaged
highway, that takes you directly to the park.
Trekking, observing flora and fauna, fishing.
Interpretation Center, camping, accommodations.
Lake Rivadavia, Trevelin.
Alerces National Park
Los Alerces National Park is found approximately 46 kilometers
(29 miles) to the north of Colon. It covers an area of 8,500 hectares
(21,000 acres) and was founded in 1966, with the objective of preserving
the palm trees of yatay (Syagrus yatay).
These palm trees grow to reach heights of 10 to 20 meters (33-66ft),
with leaves up to 2.5 meters (8ft) long, producing a succulent orange
fruit, and the trees are said to live an average life of 400-600 years.
At one point, the palm trees covered huge areas of land in the province
between the rivers in Argentina, along with Uruguay and southern Brasil.
Agricultural and livestock needs, however, exploited the land, leading
to the gradual destruction of its habitat and thus an alarming decrease
of the trees.
The terrain in the park is, for the most part, undulating and sandy,
interrupted occasionally by jutting sandstone rocks and streams from
the high plains that travel down towards brooks, quietly hidden among
the dense vegetation of the forest. This is the continuation of the
missionary forest that borders with the Uruguay river, and that at
this latitude, does not present much of a risk to the surrounding
flora. The most characteristic trees of the area are the laurel, ceibo,
ingá, willow, espina corona (thorn of crown), among others.
In another area of the park, close to the administrative center of
the park, the species are different.. There, the palm trees give way
to ñandubays, coronillos, molles, talas,and locust trees, típica
The wildlife of the park has become very much extinct, comprised of
chinchillas, ferrets, capybaras, nutrias, giant river otters, skunks,
mountain cats, rattlesnake, tortugas pintada y de río.
There is a Center of Interpretation in the park where they inform
visitors about the characteristics of the environment, wildlife,
and flora. Close by is also an area for camping.
Province of Entre Ríos. 50 kilometers to the north
When to go
All year long
Uruguay River, Ruins of Calera Barquín.
How to get there
From Colón, in your car or by bus, head north on route RN
14 towards Concordia. Desde Colón, en automóvil
particular o autobuses, hacia el norte por la ruta RN 14 que
lleva a Concordia. From the exit to the entrance of the park
is 14 km (8.7 miles).
Trekking, observing wildlife and flora.
Center of Interpretation and camping.
Colón, Paysandú, Concordia.