It’s a sad state of affairs for passionate trekkers living in Buenos Aires. The region in and around the city is just plain flat, which offers some great opportunities for a beautiful country stroll, but requires a bit more traveling for those looking to explore tougher terrain. Enter Sierra de la Ventana. This mountain range, located almost 600 km South of Buenos Aires boasts beautiful views and a range of hikes for every level. Several camping sites dot the landscape, providing plenty of places to get in touch with nature!
Recently, I got to visit the range for a nice weekend of long hikes, fire-cooked meals and knock-out views. The campsite we chose was perfect for those who still want some creature comforts. The close proximity to town was great for restocking the rations, but the large grills and hot showers really made the site. No, we weren’t roughing it, but after the hiking we did, we were ready for a bit of campground luxuries.
Though we only had time for two small hikes the first day, they were a great warm up for what was to be our Everest the following morning. I would highly recommend the waterfall hike. The trail finds you climbing up over boulders, through a canyon to reach the waterfall. The scenery is beautiful and the hike is quite fun.
The second day, we decided to conquer Tres Picos. At 1250 meters high and 17.5 miles long, the hike was supposed to take us an estimated 10 hours. As we were signing the release forms and paying our 40 pesos, we were reminded multiple times that the unmarked trail was known to see unexpected storms of torrential downpour and hail. All kinds of fun images were flashing through my head at that point! Luckily, the dramatic weather never made an appearance, but the dramatic views came in abundance.
The hike itself was for an intermediate level, I would say. Sometimes, you’d simply be walking over grassy landscapes, at other times, the trail turned quite rocky. Novice hiker tip! Bring trekking poles (or a very large stick) they will save your knees! There’s a hike-in camping option that puts you in view of the Tres Picos, so you can complete the hike in two days, if you wish. This campground is really just a clearing on the top of a mountain, with absolutely no extras. No fires are allowed and you must bring out all that you bring in. But, it’s located at the mouth of a cave, which can be really cool, or (for people like me) really terrifying. The views are incredible and it has to be an unforgettable experience!
Towards the end of the trail, we found ourselves navigating boulders on the mountain’s edge. To conquer the last bit, the peaks themselves, we had to ascend a steep path that requires climbing, crawling and the strength to not look down. This part might not be the favorite for those with a fear of heights. The view at the top is really special and totally makes up for the blisters and sunburn you’ve by now acquired.
Sierra de la Ventana is a fantastic area that offers something for every age and activity level. I would recommend at least a 2-3 day stay. Also, sunscreen. I recommend a lot of sunscreen.
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