Los Arrayanes National Park
Los Arrayanes National Park is located on the western side of Argentina along the border of Chile. It sits a little south of the midway point of the country. The park covers an area of 6.77 square miles (17.53 sq km), creating the smallest national park in the country.
It was part of the neighboring Nahuel Huapi National Park protected area; however, it has a more specific focus on the landscape and vegetation it protects. The park was separated out and named after the arrayan trees that it protects.
The arrayan trees are flowering trees that are part of the myrtle family. This forest of arrayan trees is at the heart of the national park. The forest has trees ranging from 300 to 600 years old.
Visitors can explore the forest on foot by taking the 7.5-mile (12 km) trail from Villa La Angostura out to the forest. Travelers can also access the forest by boat, kayak, or catamaran, which gives a different perspective as you approach the forest from the waterways.
Many people will take one of the boating options out to the forest and then hike back. Then take advantage of one of the lagoon beaches to take a swim and refresh afterward. You can also opt to bike back instead of hiking.
The park is not known for wildlife; however, it is present. Some of the hopeful sightings include fox, guanaco, huemul deer, and pudu. There are a variety of condors, eagles, hawks, and woodpeckers that attract birdwatchers to the park.
The arrayan trees are part of the myrtle family. It is a tree that reaches heights of 49 feet (15 m). Trees vary from 33 feet (10 m) up to the maximum height. The tree is characterized by extensively bushy foliage that will display fragrant flowers during the spring. It is an evergreen tree.
The arrayan trees are also known as the quetri, cuthu, or red trees. The trunk of the trees displays a cinnamon color.
Los Arrayanes National Park Trails
Hiking is one of the main activities of the national park. However, exploring the arrayan forest is done on a well-preserved wooden trail. The trail out to the forest features a variety of elevation changes that attracts mountain bikers.
Arrayan Forest Trail
This is a 7.5-mile (12 km) that runs between the Villa La Angostura and the Arrayan Forest. This trail features a variety of elevation changes, which also attracts mountain bikers, so make sure you pay attention to what is happening around you.
Arrayan Boardwalk Trail
This is a 0.62-mile (1 km) trail representing the last part of the Arrayan Forest Trail. The entire journey is on a boardwalk elevated off the ground to protect the roots and earth around them.
Lago Escondido trail
This is a 6-mile (9.66 km) trail that is rated moderate. It traverses along the shoreline and out to a lookout over the lake. It has chances to see wildlife and wildflowers during the peak season. The views are the highlight of the trek.
Los Arrayanes National Park was created to protect the arrayan forests, which is a rare species of trees. The park management installed a wooden path that would allow visitors to hike through the amazing forest without disturbing or hurting the trees' soil and roots.
The park used to be part of the larger Nahuel Huapi National Park; however, it was separated out to emphasize the importance of the arrayan forest that it protects. This move was to heighten the rare forest's sensitivity and for a distinct effort to invest and protect.
Los Arrayanes Highlights
- Arrayan Trees
- All Trails, Best Trails in Los Arrayanes National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/argentina/rio-negro/parque-nacional-los-arrayanes, retrieved October 2020.
- Bosque Los Arrayanes, Los Arraynes Forest, https://www.bosquelosarrayanes.com.ar/bosquelosarrayanes_eng.php, retrieved October 2020.
- LAC Geo, Los Arrayanes National Park, https://lacgeo.com/arrayanes-national-park-argentina, retrieved October 2020.
- My Turn to Travel, Magical Disney Forest in the Los Arrayanes National Park, https://myturntotravel.com/los-arrayanes-national-park/, retrieved October 2020.
- Patagonia Argentina, N.P. Los Arrayanes, https://www.patagonia-argentina.com/en/los-arrayanes-national-park/, retrieved October 2020.
- Whole World or Nothing, Complete Guide to Los Arrayanes National Park, https://thewholeworldornothing.com/los-arrayanes-national-park/, retrieved October 2020.