Hiking in Villa Traful

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Hiking

Arroyo Blanco and Arroyo Coa Có. Drive, walk, or pedal about 3 km (2 mi) up from the village to the trailhead at Pampa de los Alamos, a clearing where the trail to Arroyo Blanco descends into a forest of 1,000-year-old coihué trees with their ghostly naked trunks, gigantic lenga (deciduous beech), and ñires that grow only at high altitudes. The trail leads to a wooden walkway along a steep cliff—the only way one could possibly view the waterfall tumbling 66 feet into a dark chasm. Follow the wooden trail along the cliff for increasingly amazing glimpses of this wild gorge, then return up the same route. Arroyo Coa Có is in the opposite direction, with a view of both the waterfall and Lago Traful. Villa Traful, Neuquén.

Cerro Negro. A strenuous hike (seven hours) from the village to Cerro Negro climbs up through forests of cypress, coihués, lenga, and ñires, passing strange rock formations, then it reaches the summit at 6,000 feet, with a splendid view of Lago Traful and across the Andes all the way to Lanín. Villa Traful, Neuquén.

Casacada Co Lemú. Casacada Co Lemú thunders with a deafening roar down 20 meters at the end of an arduous trail (19 km [12 mi] round-trip). Drive 8 km (5 mi) west toward the Seven Lakes Route to the bridge over Arroyo Cataratas. Before you cross the stream, on your left, the trail climbs slowly at first, then straight up 1,500 meters to the falls. Villa Traful, Neuquén.

Laguna Las Mellizas y Pinturas Rupestres. A 15-minute boat trip across the lake from the wharf takes you to a sandy beach on the northern shore. A two-hour walk down a trail into a steep gully leads to the pools. Nearby caves with 600-year-old Tehuelche cave paintings are worth exploring. The area is protected and registration with national park officials is required. Villa Traful, Neuquén.

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