Los Glaciares National Park

Los Glaciares National Park is located in the southern most region of Argentina. The national park encompasses an area of 2,806.9 square miles (7,269 sq km). It is the largest national park within the country of Argentina and is a sister park with Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

The name is derived from the ice cap located in the Andes of this part of the range. This Andes ice cap is the largest glacier field in the world apart from Greenland and Antarctica. It serves as the source for 47 large glaciers with 13 of them flowing eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to Perito Moreno Glacier which is considered one of the more significant tourist attractions within the country.

The ice cap accounts for about 30% of of the national park area. The ice cap of Los Glaciares National Park is unique with the glaciers starting at 4,900 feet (1,500 m) above sea level as compared to most other glaciers that begin at elevations from 8,200 feet (2,500 m) and higher.

Perito Moreno Glacier stretches over 19 miles in length with a width of 3 miles (5 km). It is approximately 560 feet (170 m) thick with an overall area of 97 square miles (250 sq km). Although one of the more remote parts of the world, Perito Moreno Glacier is accessible from the land.

Spegazzini Glacier and Upsala Glacier are two significant sized glaciers found within the national park; however they do require securing a boat tour to visit them. Most people are satisfied with seeing Perito Moreno Glacier, however these additional glaciers are worth the effort and you are encouraged to explore them as well since you are in this part of the world.

Mount Fitz Roy, locally known as Cerro Chalten, Cerro Fitz Roy, or Monte Fitz Roy, is another stunning attraction found within the national park. The summit reaches a height of 11,171 feet (3,405 m).

Lake Argentino features an area of 566 square miles (1,468 sq km) making it the largest lake in the country. Lake Argentino is located in the southern part of Los Glaciares National Park with the surrounding area serving as one of two regions of the park.

Lake Viedma covers an area of 420 square miles (1,100 sq km) and it is located in the norther park of the park. It along with the surrounding area accounts for the second region of the national park. This lake along with the southern Lake Argentino feed the Santa Cruz River. Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre are both located in this region of the park.

Los Glaciares National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site displaying an excellent example of Magellanic subpolar forest as well as featuring the Patagonian steppe biodiversity. The arid Patagonian steppe is created from the barrier of the Andes mountains which prevent moisture from the Pacific Ocean reaching the other side of the range.

Cougar, guanaco, nandues and the South American gray fox call this steppe area home. Ranching is threatening the gray fox placing it on the endangered species list. The Magellanic subpolar forest serves as the home for guindos, huemul deer, lengas, and nires.

Highlights

  • Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Mount Fitz Roy
  • Cerro Torre

Without question the Perito Moreno Glacier is the highlight of Los Glaciares National Park. People from around the world travel to the majestic Patagonia area to explore the region with Perito Moreno Glacier being one of the highlighted attractions.

The more adventurous look to climb Mount Fitz Roy or Cerro Torre. These are targeted mountains for climbers who venture into Patagonia.

Sources:

Back-Paker, Hiking Guide Cerro Torre & Mt. Fitz Roy Trek in El Chalten, https://www.back-packer.org/fitz-roy-trek-in-el-chalten/, retrieved September 2019.

Britannica, Los Glaciares National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Los-Glaciares-National-Park, retrieved September 2019.

Los Glaciares, Los Glaciares National Park, https://www.losglaciares.com/en/parque/, retrieved September 2019.

New World Encyclopedia, Los Glaciares National Park, https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Los_Glaciares_National_Park, retrieved September 2019.

Patagonia-Argentina, The Glaciers Naitonal Park, https://www.patagonia-argentina.com/en/the-glaciers-national-park/, retrieved September 2019.

UNESCO, Los Glaciares National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/145/, retrieved September 2019.