From El Chaltén we took the famous Ruta 40 to Perito Moreno (the village, not the glacier). The biggest problem with this section was getting fuel for our truck.
We had refueled to 100% in El Chaltén but both Gobernador Gregores and Bajo Caracoles were out of diesel. Our last chance to get diesel was in Perito Moreno. But the distance from El Chaltén to Perito Moreno was about 700 km. Too much for the 80 l tank of our fully loaded Ford Ranger under these road conditions. Luckily we had some filled jerry cans in the trunk.
Perito Moreno has no tourist attractions and usually is not worth a stop. But in addition to the eagerly awaited gas station, it also has a huge and very well-sorted supermarket which we used to stock up on food.
From Perito Moreno, we continued our trip to Los Antiguos where we spent the night at a campground in the city.
Los Antiguos is a nice little village located at the huge Lago Buenos Aires (called Lago General Carrera in Chile).
It’s also the border town to Chile with Chile Chico on the other side. But we weren’t ready to cross the border again. There were still a couple of very interesting places we wanted to explore in Argentinian Patagonia.
Our plan was to drive a very remote and very long offroad track along the Argentinian-Chilean border: the Ruta Provincial 41. The track starts in Los Antiguos and ends at the Parque National Perito Moreno (not to be mixed up with the glacier Perito Moreno or the village Perito Moreno, all three are very different places sharing the same name). The track can be split up into two sections: the Ruta 41 Norte and the Ruta 41 Sur.
(Editor’s note: we currently have a delay of more than 12 weeks between real life and our blog posts. We were in on the Ruta 41 end of January)
Ruta 41 Norte
Most people only drive the northern section of the Ruta 41. It goes from Los Antiguos via the Paso Roballos to the Lagos Posadas and Pueyrredón.
This section is about 200 km long with the Paso Roballos about halfway.
The condition of the Ruta 41 Norte is quite good. It could be driven by any kind of vehicle. Only if you want to use the Paso Roballos to cross over to Chile a vehicle with higher ground clearance is recommended.
Nevertheless, it’s a very remote place without any kind of infrastructure. The landscape along this track is very wild and beautiful. During the first km, you have a nice view of the Parque Nacional Patagonia – Sector Jeinimeni in Chile which we had planned to explore later.
The landscape is also very diverse and changes often from green valleys full of birds and insects to desert-like areas with spectacular rock formations.
After a couple of hours and many photography stops we reached the junction to the Paso Raballos and drove the few km to the Argentinian border checkpoint before returning to the Ruta 41. Our plan was to be on the other side of this pass a few weeks later.
Lago Posadas and Lago Pueyrredón
After a long day, we finally got a first look at the Lagos Posadas and Pueyrredón. They are separated just by a small land bridge. This is also the end of the Ruta 41 Norte.
The lakes are stunningly beautiful.
At the Lago Posadas, you can also find the interesting Arco de Piedra.
For the next three nights, we stayed at the campground of the Estancia Suyai.
It’s a beautiful farm with lots of animals, located directly at the Lago Pueyrredón.
At this place, we also met Laura and Pietro from Lost Donkeys for the first time. They are traveling through South America with their beautiful Landrover Defender. We thoroughly enjoyed the long chat with them and exchanged lots of information. We also got some good advice regarding the much more challenging Ruta 41 Sur.
Ruta 41 Sur
The lesser-known Ruta 41 Sur leads from the Lago Posadas to the Parque Nacional Perito Moreno. The distance is about 130 km. In the village of Lago Posadas, you have sometimes the option to get fuel, but it’s of dubious quality. We re-fueled a few liters hoping that it will mix well with the premium diesel we still had in our tank.
Directly after the lake, the road gains height with countless switchbacks.
The views from above are stunning and the surrounding landscape is again very beautiful.
But the track is much rougher than the Ruta 41 Norte.
Often, it was more rock-crawling than driving with a maximum velocity well below 10 km/h.
Several small streams had to be crossed, often with steep entrances or exits. If the approach or departure angles of your vehicle are too low there is a high risk of getting stuck in these situations.
Some sections are really steep. A 4×4 is therefore a must for this track.
The stunning landscape reminded us of the highlands of Iceland.
Many hours later, we had a first look at the stunningly blue lakes in the Parque Nacional Perito Moreno.
But before getting there we had to master the most difficult section of the whole track. It’s an extremely steep hill with large loose rocks (very similar to the loose rock hill in the Horstwalde offroad testing facility in Germany, if by chance someone knows this place). The image doesn’t do any justice to how steep this hill really was. It was nearly impossible to walk down the slope.
Going downhill (reduction on, first gear, hill descent control on, and no breaking) was no problem for our Ford Ranger, but the same section uphill would be quite a challenge. Luckily, for people traveling from South to North, there seems to be a chicken track on the Eastern side avoiding this key section (it’s not displayed on maps.me and we haven’t tried it, no guarantee).
Parque Nacional Perito Moreno
In the late evening, we finally reached the Perito Moreno National Park. Camping there is free, but you have to register and fill out a very strange and very long questionnaire. They ask you dozens of questions about your experience, your equipment, and your health condition. Half an hour later we finally got permission to camp at Lago Burmeister.
It’s an extremely beautiful spot but with no infrastructure. Even the water you have to get from the lake.
It’s one of the wildest places we have stayed so far and I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of remoteness.
On the next morning, the mountains were covered by a thin layer of snow.
The short hike to the Mirador Lago Burmeister can be highly recommended.
It’s a very special place that is very seldom visited by any tourist. Most of the time we were completely alone there.
I even found some cushion plants at the lake (see my story about cushion plants in Australia here).
From the Lago Burmeister, we drove to the Lago Belgrano. Along the way, we saw a couple of Guanacos.
Depending on the light the Lago Belgrano has some extremely intense blue color.
The Ruta 41 and the Parque Nacional Perito Moreno were definitely two more highlights in Patagonia and can be highly recommended (if you can deal with the remoteness and often rough conditions).
Wow!! Beneidenswert! Wunderschöne Landschaften die uns auch gefallen würden, aber dazu fehlt uns die Zeit.
Ich freue mich auf die Fortsetzung.