Backpacking in Argentina: TOP 5 Multi-Day Trails

Backpacking in Argentina: a hiker gazing at the mountains in Patagonia

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Backpacking in Argentina offers immense variety for outdoor enthusiasts, from the towering Andes mountains to the vast grasslands of Patagonia, including popular destinations like the Lake District and Iguazú Falls.

And that’s what this post is all about – backpacking in Argentina. We’ll provide tips to help you prepare for backpacking in this diverse country as well as showcase the TOP 5 multi-day trails in Argentina.

If you are an experienced backpacker, the tips and trails in this guide will inspire your next trip to this beautiful country, since Argentina is best for those with more experience.

Interested? Let’s get started.

Key Tips for Backpacking in Argentina

  • What to expect: Well-marked paths span range from easy day hikes to advanced endurance routes. Variable weather could include blazing sun or sudden storms. Careful planning is vital for remote hiking.
  • Essential gear: Make sure to pack clothes for both hot and cold weather, bring a water filter to purify different water sources, and include basic first aid supplies. Also, don’t forget navigation tools such as maps and a GPS.
  • Wildlife: Watch out for dangerous animals on your trip. In Patagonia, pumas can pose a threat, especially if they feel threatened by dogs. Be cautious of venomous snakes like yararas and coral snakes. In mountainous areas, Andean bears may defend their cubs aggressively. In Argentina’s northeastern rainforests, jaguars inhabit remote areas and should not be approached. Hikers may also encounter unfriendly livestock guard dogs.
  • Wild camping in Argentina is generally permitted, though there are some restrictions. Most camping takes place in the extensive public lands of Patagonia. Campers are expected to practice ‘leave no trace’ principles and use designated campsites where available. Private land requires permission. National parks allow camping in specified areas only.
  • Best time to go: In Patagonia, choose summer (November to March) for mild weather and dry conditions. Spring and fall bring pleasant weather to central regions like Mendoza, while winter is prime for the north with warmer temperatures and fewer crowds.

Top 5 Backpacking Trails in Argentina

Discover the most stunning long trails in Argentina for amazing adventures:

1. Huemul Circuit

The stunning image captures the sublime beauty and serenity of Laguna del Desierto in Argentina on a sunny day, featuring the breathtaking azure waters and scenic landscape that surround this picturesque high altitude lake

Janitoalevic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Length: 41.5 mi / 66.8 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 9311 ft / 2838 m
Location: Reserva Provincial Lago del Desierto
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 5600 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

The 41.5-mile Cerro Huemul Circuit near El Chaltén, Argentina is a 4-5 day scenic yet demanding backpacking trek, best from November to April. Key highlights include potential glacier hiking and stunning views of glaciers and the Southern Ice Field. With high elevations, windy passes and remote camping, it’s a strenuous but rewarding adventure for experienced, prepared backpackers seeking solitude and incredible Patagonian scenery.

2. Refugio Los Laguitos

This peaceful scene shows the calm, inviting waters of a jungle lake lightly rippling under a sunny sky, with foliage-covered shores creating a lush backdrop during the vibrant hours of day

Length: 31.3 mi / 50.4 km
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 6476 ft / 1974 m
Location: Área Natural Protegida Río Azul–Lago Escondido
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 4500 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

The 31-mile out-and-back trail near El Bolsón offers scenic Patagonia backpacking from October-April, taking around 16 hours. Highlights include staying at rustic refuges in the Río Azul-Lago Escondido Protected Area, hiking through ancient forests to Los Laguitos, and optional side trips to glacial amphitheaters. The multi-day route features remote refuges like Retamal and Mañíos along the challenging but rewarding trail, which requires proper planning for a safe alpine adventure.

3. Tilcara – San Francisco

Set against backdrop of rugged desert cliffs, a solitary woman stands gazing down a long dirt road during the bright afternoon in northern Argentina's Tilcara, clad in a lightweight beige jacket matching the sun-baked land she surveys in the remote Andean village

Length: 38.7 mi / 62.3 km
Type: Point to point
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 9376 ft / 2858 m
Location: Tilcara
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 6200 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

The 38.7-mile trail in Argentina’s Jujuy Province is an amazing but super difficult 4-day backpacking route from November to April. It starts in Tilcara and takes around 24 hours of hiking to reach San Francisco. But the journey could take way longer because of the crazy high elevations with over 23,000 feet of uphill climbing and hardly any water sources along the way. The trail is really remote and barely used, so you’ll need to come fully prepared and know what you’re doing. Having a guide is highly recommended to stay safe on this intense multi-day hike through the breathtaking but challenging high altitude landscapes. Only go it alone if you’re an expert backpacker with serious skills.

4. El Bolsón hasta el Lago Soberanía

Misty blue waters and dark evergreens encircle the shore beneath towering peaks in this tranquil woodland scene by an alpine lake in Bariloche

Length: 47.2 mi / 76 km
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 12 926 ft / 3940 m
Location: Bariloche
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 8000 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

The 47.2-mile out-and-back trail near Bariloche offers a scenic but challenging 6-day backpacking route from December-March, taking around 27 hours. Highlights include fishing, camping, and staying at iconic refuges like Hielo Azul and Los Laguitos along the way to explore turquoise lakes. The remote route features beautiful Patagonian landscapes but requires hiking experience due to potentially difficult weather conditions on certain sections.

5. Sierra Valdivieso Circuit

Towering peaks breach wispy clouds above rocky valleys in this sweeping vista of the wild Cerro Vinciguerra massif in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego, its scenic yet foreboding Patagonian landscape revealing rugged beauty under a partially overcast sky

Butterfly austral, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Length: 26.8 mi / 43.1 km
Type: Point to point
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 6568 ft / 2002 m
Location: Ushuaia
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 4200 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

The 26.8-mile point-to-point trail near Ushuaia, Argentina is an extremely challenging year-round backpacking route only for very experienced hikers. It traverses forests, rivers and bogs with stunning views of Lake Fagnano from high passes. You’ll camp amid waterfalls and glacial lagoons while navigating the sometimes unclear, changing terrain using GPS and route-finding skills. Despite the remoteness, safe water sources mean lighter loads.

Annual Weather Averages

Argentina’s varied geography and climates means weather depends on region and season:

  1. Northern Argentina (Salta, Jujuy):
    • Subtropical climate, wet season Nov-Mar.
    • Best for hiking: Dry season Apr-Oct.
    • Temps:
      • Summer: 68-86°F (20-30°C)
      • Winter: 50-68°F (10-20°C)
  2. Central Argentina (Buenos Aires, Mendoza):
    • Buenos Aires: Temperate climate.
    • Mendoza: Desert climate.
    • Best for hiking: Spring, Fall.
    • Temps:
      • Spring/Fall: 50-77°F (10-25°C)
      • Summer: 68-86°F (20-30°C)
      • Winter: 41-59°F (5-15°C)
  3. Southern Argentina (Patagonia):
    • Unpredictable weather.
    • Best for hiking: Summer (Dec-Feb).
    • Winter: Harsh, snow, low temps.
    • Temps:
      • Summer: 41-59°F (5-15°C)
      • Winter: 23-41°F (-5 to 5°C)
  4. Andes Mountains:
    • Varies with altitude.
    • Higher altitudes are cooler.
    • Conditions change rapidly.
    • Temps:
      • Valleys: 50-77°F (10-25°C)
      • Higher altitudes: Variable, potentially colder with snow.


Can I have a campfire while camping in Argentina? 

When exploring Argentina’s natural beauty through backpacking or hiking, it’s important to know about fire rules, which can change based on where you are and the time of year due to the risk of wildfires. Many national parks don’t allow open fires year-round, but gas stoves might be okay. In hot and dry times, extra bans could be in place to stop sparks. Before your trip, check the fire rules with local authorities to avoid penalties for having a fire without permission. If fires are allowed, be careful. Use only dry wood in designated fire pits, put out embers completely, and dispose of cold ashes properly for safety and to protect the environment.

What are some safety tips for backpackers in Argentina?

Backpackers taking in Argentina’s varied outdoors landscapes must prepare with basic safety measures for fully experiencing the wilderness of South America. Outdoor enthusiasts should pack extra layers and rations when backpacking through diverse terrains prone to sudden weather shifts. Notifying contacts of intended routes and schedules enables search efforts if delayed in the extensive outdoors areas. Observing condors and other wildlife also necessitates distance from potentially hazardous snakes for hikers’ protection. At trailheads in remote zones without cell reception, signing outings into logs facilitates accountability for backpack travelers. Carrying document copies split between packs likewise safeguards explorers enjoying the nation’s diverse landscapes from lost luggage mishaps during outdoor adventures.

How to deal with wildlife encounters while hiking in Argentina?

When trekking through Argentina’s varied natural settings, from Patagonia’s mountains to the jungles of Misiones, hikers may come across local wildlife. It is best to give all animals space and never approach, feed or disturb them. If encountering pumas, hold your ground and avoid running while backing away slowly. Jaguars should be observed from a safe distance only. If confronted by Andean bears, do not threaten their cubs and back away. Snakes like coral and yararas should be safely avoided. Insects can be warded off with closed clothing, repellent and nets. Being aware of your surroundings and responding calmly to encounters allows backpackers to safely admire Argentina’s beautiful biodiversity from a respectful remove.

Which national parks are the most popular in Argentina?

Argentina offers diverse natural beauty within its national parks, with some of the most visited providing stunning and unique landscapes for outdoor enthusiasts. Glacier-carved patagonia landscapes and cerulean waters can be explored at Los Glaciares National Park, a top destination. Towering peaks and colorful lakes attract hikers to Nahuel Huapi National Park nestled in the Andes. Pristine forests and glistening waterfalls of Iguazu National Park draw visitors hoping to admire one of the world’s natural wonders. With incredible biodiversity and wilderness, these premier parks never fail to deliver awe-inspiring outdoor experiences showcasing Argentina’s phenomenal scenery.

Do U.S. citizens need a visa to visit Argentina?

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to visit Argentina. Citizens of the United States can enter Argentina for tourism purposes for up to 90 days within any 120-day period without obtaining a visa beforehand. To receive an entry permit, travelers simply need to present a valid U.S. passport and fill out an affordable tourist card upon arrival in Argentina. No other documentation is required for visits of less than 90 days. This allows U.S. citizens to freely explore Argentina and enjoy its welcoming culture, world-class cuisine, and scenic natural wonders without dealing with the hassle of obtaining a visa in advance of travel.

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