Hiking

Trekking Bariloche in a day: the Cerro Llao Llao trail

The small mountain city of Bariloche in Argentinian Patagonia is known for its outdoor activities. This easy hiking trail in the nearby Parque Municipal Llao Llao is one of the best ways to see the area’s natural beauty.

Parque Municipal Llao Llao features some of the best trekking Bariloche has to offer. In a single day’s hiking, we were able to see the pristine waters of Lago Moreno and ascend to the park’s highest point, Cerro Llao Llao, for a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding lakes and mountains.

Our route comprises a 15-kilometre loop hike from Puerto Pañuelo, approximately 25 kilometres west of Bariloche. The terrain is easy going and filled with scenic viewpoints and lake beaches, which make ideal stop-off points.

At pace this hike can be completed it 3–4 hours. We stretched it out over a day, building in plenty of breaks to eat, rest, take photos and admire the view.

Tip: visit the tourist office in Centro Civico, Bariloche, and they will happily provide you with a free map of the hiking routes.

Parque Municipal Llao Llao features some of the best trekking Bariloche has to offer
Parque Municipal Llao Llao features some of the best trekking Bariloche has to offer

How to get to the trail

The starting point of the trail is easy to reach by bus from Bariloche. To ride the local buses, you will need to by a ‘Sube’ card. This is a contactless top-up card system that is used in major urban areas across Argentina. If you visit Buenos Aires before Bariloche, the chances are you’ll already have one.

From Avenida San Martín take the 20 bus (see the route map here) to Circuito Chico. The journey costs 35 Argentine pesos.

Get off at Puerto Pañuelo, which is the second to last stop. The bus stops at the junction of Circuito Chico, Giusseppe Verdi and Avenida Exequiel Bustillo.

Once you’ve taken a moment to enjoy the view of Lago Nahuel Huapi, walk downhill along Circuito Chico with the lake to your right. Follow the road into a forested area, and after 300 metres or so, the Sendero de los Arrayanes trailhead will be on your left.

Bariloche sits on the shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi. Take the 20 bus from here to the start of the Cerro Llao Llao trail
Bariloche sits on the shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi. Take the 20 bus from here to the start of the Cerro Llao Llao trail

Part 1: Sendero de los Arrayanes

The Sendero de los Arrayanes trail is around 3 kilometres of gentle pathway through lush forestland and along the shores of Lago Moreno.

The path winds through diverse vegetation, flowers and bamboo for about a kilometre until you reach Playa Moreno, a beach on the lake. This is a nice spot to stop, with a view of the famous hotel Llao Llao across the water.

After another half hour’s walk you will reach Mirador Lago Moreno, the best viewpoint along this part of the trail. On the far side of the lake, forested hills and snow-capped mountains rise majestically above the water. This is an ideal place to stop for some rest and a bite to eat.

Soon after you continue, the path reaches the Circuito Chico road and the Sendero de los Arrayanes trail ends.

The Sendero de los Arrayanes trail passes through forestland by the shores of Lago Moreno
The Sendero de los Arrayanes trail passes through forestland by the shores of Lago Moreno

Part 2: the path to Villa Tacul

At the end of the Sendero de los Arrayanes trail, you have two options. You can cross over the road and continue the path into Parque Municipal Lago Lago. Alternatively, if you turn left down Circuito Chico, you can take a short detour to see Lago Escondido, about half a kilometre down the road.

Both options will eventually lead you to the path to Villa Tacul, a beach that looks out onto the huge Lago Nahuel Huapi.

Before you reach Villa Tacul, you can follow the path out to a lake-edge viewpoint at Bahia Llao Llao. After taking your time to admire the view here, the path swoops back round to the beach, which occupies a small inlet on the lake.

It’s another beautiful spot for a view, but we wouldn’t recommend getting in the water – the glacial lake is intensely cold!

The beach at Villa Tacul is set inside an inlet of Lago Nahuel Huapi
The beach at Villa Tacul is set inside an inlet of Lago Nahuel Huapi

Part 3: climb Cerro Llao Llao

Now for the best part of the day. The rewarding view doesn’t come without a little uphill work, though.

Follow the path onwards from Villa Tacul, and you will reach a turn-off to the right signposted to Cerro Llao Llao. From the foot of the hill, it takes about 20–30 minutes to trek up the zig-zagging path to reach the summit.

Awaiting at the top is a breathtaking panoramic view of Lago Nahuel Huapi, Lago Moreno and mountains across the entire horizon. For us, this was one of the most memorable sights during a month of trekking in Patagonia – and there was a lot of competition for that honour!

Some people say the nearby Cerro Campanario is the best viewpoint in Bariloche, but while they’re both fantastic, this was our favourite.

The panorama view from Cerro Llao Llao is one of the our best memories of Patagonia
The panorama view from Cerro Llao Llao is one of the our best memories of Patagonia

Part 4: return to Puerto Pañuelo

Sadly, the final leg of the day’s hike is the least visually pleasing. After descending from the top of Cerro Llao Llao, take a right and follow the path all the way back to the Circuito Chico road.

The track does pass through some interesting sections of woodland, where you can discover some of the nuances of the region’s biodiversity.

You will rejoin the road about five minutes’ walk along from where you started the Sendero de los Arrayanes trail earlier in the day. Simply follow the road up to Puerto Pañuelo, where you can hop on the 20 bus back to town.

The pathways on the hiking trails around Bariloche are well marked and signposted
The pathways on the hiking trails around Bariloche are well marked and signposted

Alternative shorter hikes

If you don’t want to trek this entire circuit, each segment of it is possible to undertake separately. If you would prefer to only see the highlight of Cerro Llao Llao, you can make the return hike to it from Puerto Pañuelo in a couple of hours.

Instead of turning left onto Sendero de los Arrayanes at the beginning, walk a few metres further on and you will reach the entrance point to the Cerro Llao Llao trail on your right.

Similarly, a return hike of Sendero de los Arrayanes would take about two hours. You can either return on the same path, or loop back around on the Circuito Chico road.

Each section of the trekking loop circuit in Parque Municipal Llao Llao can be done as a separate individual hike
Each section of the trekking loop circuit in Parque Municipal Llao Llao can be done as a separate individual hike

Trekking Bariloche: what to take

The trail in Parque Municipal Llao Llao isn’t a very strenuous one, and you don’t need to bring hiking poles. It’s still wise to wear sturdy walking boots, and a warm, waterproof jacket to protect you from the elements.

Also be sure to pack plenty of drinking water, snacks, a picnic for lunch, and some sunscreen.

You can take a look at our Patagonia packing list for our recommended resources for trekking in the region.

Best time to visit

We did this trail in September, which is right at the beginning of the trekking season. As Bariloche is in northern Patagonia, it warms up a bit earlier than famous spots further south like Torres Del Paine and El Chaltén.

Many of the nearby mountain hiking routes and refugios were still closed at this point. Parque Municipal Llao Llao, however, is open all year round, including the path up to Cerro Llao Llao. We would still recommend visiting in the warmer months between September and April.

For more ideas for your visit, see our article on things to do in Bariloche. For further resources on travelling in the region, read our Patagonia itinerary and travel guide.

Detailed practical information on Patagonia travel can be found in our resources on trip costs and transport in the region.

Have you been trekking in Bariloche and have an experience to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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Parque Municipal Llao Llao features some of the best trekking Bariloche has to offer. In a single day’s hiking, we were able to see the pristine waters of Lago Moreno and ascend to the park’s highest point, Cerro Llao Llao, for a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding lakes and mountains.

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