Los Cardones National Park is located in the northwestern region of Argentina. The national park encompasses an area of 250 square miles (650 sq km). It is southwest of El Rey National Park.
The landscapes are sculpted by hills, sierras, valleys, and ravines. The elevations vary from 8,858 to 16,634 feet (2,700 to 5,070 m) with a predominant arid climate across much of the terrain. Although primarily arid, the park also features elements of the high Andes as well as lowlands fed by streams. The highest elevation is accounted for by Cerro Malcante.
The Argentine Saguaro, also known as the cardon grande cactus, are found throughout the park. These tall stunning cactus serve as the source for the name of the park.
The arid and dry climate serves as a tremendous environment for preserving dinosaur tracks and fossil remains. The fossils are from a variety of wildlife that is now extinct, so the park adds a historical significance to its natural environment.
The park is home to over 100 species of birds with the Andean condor being a favorite for many travelers. Guanaco, vicuna, the gray fox, and the the chinchilla are some of the possible wildlife visitors hope to see.
The arid terrain and rugged landscapes are breathtaking. Striking colors blanket the terrain serve as the backdrop to the endemic cactus that is similar to the American west and Saguaro National Park.
These Argentine Saguaro cactus are a highlight for many because of their tall cowboy like presence. The highlights vary from stunning views to historical traces of lost nature. Dinosaur tracks and fossile remains of extinct animals are special experiences for those who like to peak back into what used to be.
The park also features Argentina's largest chandelier cactus woodland. This and some of the other churqui forests are unique features of nature not found in most of the country.
Piedra del Molino is a massive granite rock formation reaching a height of 11,811 feet (3,600 m). The granite sculpture is impressive while it also provide captivating views out over the park.
Los Cardones National Park Trails
Hiking is one of the common ways the park is eplored and it allows for a more intimate experience with nature. There are only a limited number of trails which leads many visitors to employ guided treks to experience more of the park.
This is a short 0.1 mile (0.16 km) loop trail that is rated easy with only a 19 feet (5.79 m) elevation change. It only takes a few minutes to complete, but it comes with views of the landscape.
Enchanted Valley Trail
This trail is rated moderate and features an elevation gain of 767 feet (172.8 m). It stretches over a distance of 5.0 miles (8.05 km). Trekkers can lookforward to chances to see flowers and other vegetation of the park as well as wildlife.
Los Cardones National Park was created to protect the high monte ecoregion and the magnificent cardon grande cactus. The park also helps reserve the fossil remains and dinosaur tracks found throughout the borders.
Los Cardones Highlights
- Argentine Saguaro
- Dinosaur tracks & fossil remains
- Chandelier cactus wooland
- Embark, Los Cardones National Park, https://www.embark.org/peru/activity-type/adventures/los-cardones-national-park, retrieved January 2022.
- Lonely Planet, Parque Nacional Cardones, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/valles-calchaquies/attractions/parque-nacional-los-cardones/a/poi-sig/1530263/1326532, retrieved January 2022.
- Natural World Safari, Highlights and Main Attractions of Los Cardones National Park, https://www.naturalworldsafaris.com/latin-america/argentina/los-cardones-national-park, retrieved January 2022.
- Southern Explorations, Los Cardones National Park, https://www.southernexplorations.com/los-cardones-national-park, retrieved January 2022.
- Wikipedia, Los Cardones National Park, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Cardones_National_Park, retrieved January 2022.