Los Alerces National Park “Los Alerces” sits 42 km from the city of Esquel in the patagonian province of Chubut, and it’s the home of the famed Millennial Alerce. This tree is as high as the Obelisco of Buenos Aires, and as old as the Greek Parthenon. Its magnificence captivates the visitors that come from all around the world to see it.
Los Alerces National Park
Los Alerces National Park -located 42 km from the city of Esquel in the Province of Chubut, Argentinian Patagonia- protects within its 263.000 hectares the Patagonian Alerce (Fitzroya Cupressoides) also known as Lahuán, which means “grandfather, keeper of all the wisdom” in Mapuche (original inhabitants) tongue. It’s one of the biggest and longest-lived trees of the planet, reaching 3000 and even 4000 years. This National Park, initially a Province Reserve in 1937, shelters the Patagonian Forest consisting of a wide variety of tree species such as Coihue, Cypress, Radal, Maiten, Ñire, Lenga; and also an innumerable amount of animal species, being the most remarkable the Huemul, a nearly extinct Andean deer; finding one is the ilussion of hikers that love nature, and those who yearn to capture it with their camera.
The park offers a wide variety of trails, and it’s also part of the “Huella Andina”-stage 37-, where you can enjoy trails of all difficulties; In Villa Futalaufquen, where you can find the Intendancy of Los Alerces National Park, you can access the Information Center and the Interpretive Center; inside the last one you can see a model of the Park with the detail of the South section of Huella Andina.
The Park is also the ideal place for fishing of trouts (salmonids), kayaking, lake excursions, mountaineering, cave painting recongition, and many other interesting activities of patrimonial interest.
Nature, heritage of the humanity
While the Park was created to shelter the Alerces, it was also recognized that many endangered animal species needed to be protected such as the Pudú, some amphibians and the already mentioned Huemul. The last one is prehaps the most charismatic, becoming Natural Monument in the year 1996 to ensure its preservation.
The National Park “Los Alerces” is also the home of many native species such as cougars, red foxes, coloco opposums, and others including the red deer, the european hare and the salmonids.
Given the beauty of the place and the characteristics of the old Alerces, the National Park “Los Alerces” has been proposed to be declared World Natural Heritage by the UNESCO.
The trip to the Alerzal, a unique experience.
While sailing to the Alerzal, it’s possible to contemplate the impossing Torrecillas Glacier with its walls of bluish white; all of its magic can be captured from the Menendez Lake. Unkown by many, it’s a tressure left behind by the last glaciation in the Argentinian Patagonia. Unlike the most popular glaciers in Argentina the Torrecillas is of the “cirque” type, because it’s formed on the top of the mountains, giving the imppression it hangs from them.
Recently in the Alerzal circuit -and toghether with new signaling- new galvanized walkway grating has been installed to reduce the impact of men and minimize atrittion of the ground. Also the new panoramic viewpoints improve the quality of the experience for the visitors.
In the months of January and February there are daily excrusions to the Milennial Alerces from Puerto Chucao. These can be hired from travel agencies in Esquel.
From Puerto Chucao
To get to Puerto Chucao there’s a trail which begins crossing the “Pasarela del Río Arrayanes”, an amazing hanging bridge from which you can see the trouts swimming against the current.
Since the incidence of men in this ecosystem is minimal the National Park “Los Alerces” is one of the most valuable reserves of the Argentinian Patagonia, which brings the responsability to everyone to keep preserving its fauna and flora.