Back roads tour of the Austral Steppe

Argentinian Area

This self-guided full day tour travels along country roads through the Patagonian Austral Steppe, providing opportunities to see plenty of the flora and fauna, and to visit important Tehuelche sites, like the Cerro de los Indios in Hipolito Yrigoyen - Lago Posadas.

  • Data sheet

    Activity Type: Back roads tour by 4x4, or bike.
    Sector:  Between Paso Roballos, Lago Ghio, Hipolito Yrigoyen (Lago Posadas) and Bajo Caracoles.
    Starting Point: Leaving the Argentine Border Post in Paso Roballos, travel 17.7 Km along Provincial Route  41, until you come to a turn-off to the south (right).  This turn off is the starting point for this adventure.
    Ending Point:  Crossroads of Provincial Route 39 and National Route 40, at Bajo Caracoles, which begins Section 2A of the Undiscovered Patagonia Circuit.
    Considerations: This circuit travels through gravel back roads which can be in rough shape at times.  There are no services, so in the event of a flat tire or other difficulties, help depends on you and/or the good will of the ranchers who live on the Estancias in the area. Plan on being self-sufficient.  The gravel roads between Lago Ghio and Lago Posadas are not clearly marked.  If you get lost, ask for directions at one of the many Estancias in the area.  
    Distance: 175 Km, depending on your choice of routes.
    Duration: Depends on the visitor.  Min. 6 hours, Max. 2 or 3 days.
    Seasonality: October – May
    Difficulty:  This is a great day driving circuit for 4x4 vehicles.  While challenging as a one-day route for cyclists, there are places along the way where you can stop and camp.

Take your time during this great adventure. Enjoy a picnic, a walk on the beach, and a visit to the small town of Lago Posadas, where you can enjoy a great lunch and learn about pre-Columbian history of this zone.
The back roads sector, between Paso Roballos, Lago Ghio, Hipolito Yrigoyen (Lago Posadas), and Bajo Caracoles, offers visitors a great opportunity to explore the Austral Steppe.   That said, it’s important to keep in mind that the gravel roads between Lago Ghio and Lago Posadas are not well marked. Follow the directions and when in doubt, stick to the road most-traveled, which will be evident during your adventure.  
Leaving the Argentine Border Post in Paso Roballos, travel 17.7 Km along Provincial Route 41, until you come to a turn-off to the south (right). Turn, and follow this road for 1 Km, until you see the buildings of an Estancia and another crossroad.  Here, turn right again, (south), and follow the winding country road for 42 Km, when you will reach its crossing with Provincial Route 39 (3 Km from Hipolito Yrigoyen - Lago Posadas).  Turn west, (right), on Provincial Route 39.  Once you’ve had a break in town, you may decide to keep exploring. There are many Tehuelche rock-painting sites in the area and the lakes are just another 30 Km.  When leaving, you can reconnect with the Circuit at the beginning of Section 2A, by following Provincial Route 39 east for approximately 102 Km, to National Route 40, in Bajo Caracoles.
During the trip, you’ll observe the flora and fauna of the Austral Steppe, amazing rock colors and formations, turquoise lakes, pebbled beaches, and much more.  The tiny town of Hipolito Yrigoyen, (Lago Posadas), is full of hidden secrets, including boutique hotels, beautiful camping spots, gourmet Italian food, and GASOLINE!  We recommend visiting Restaurant del Posada, for great Italian food, like gnocchi.  The owner is an expert guide for the pre-Columbian Tehuelche history that prevails in this zone.  His stories, collection of artifacts, and tours are amazing!  We also suggest a visit to the Tourism Information Office, which you’ll find a block away, both on the main street in town, Av. San Martin.  
Continuing west, past the town, you’ll start seeing the views of the beautiful lake sector, in approximately 34 Km.  Watch for signage indicating the short side road leading to the Arco de Piedra, a rock arch in the middle of the lake, formed from crashing waves over thousands of years. Further down the main road, (approximately 10 Km), you’ll arrive at a rocky lake front beach along the natural land bridge that cuts between Posadas and Pueyrredón lakes. The beach offers options for swimming, hiking, or simply basking in the raw beauty of the lakes’ colors.  
We suggest incorporating this excursion into your plans after you cross into Argentina, at Paso Roballos.  Consider the option of spending the night in Hipolito Yrigoyen, (Lago Posadas), where there are great little hotels and options for dining, refueling, and buying all the supplies you’ll need for the route toward El Chaltén. 
 

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