We fell in love with Bariloche the second we stepped foot in this lakeside city. While we really enjoyed exploring the city itself, it was the surrounding mountains, pristine lakes and beaches, and amazing forests that had us truly in awe.
If you enjoy hiking, we definitely recommend heading just outside Bariloche to explore Parque Llao Llao and experience the stunning landscape in the area. There are several trails and sights in the park, but this post will focus on the beautiful loop we hiked.
Getting to Parque Llao Llao
Llao Llao sits about 40 minutes northwest of Bariloche. If you have your own rental car, it is easy to drive and find parking around the lodge, port, and trailhead.
Llao Llao is also easily accessed by public bus. Take bus 20 which will drop you off just near Puerto Pañuelo. Once at the port, continue walking down Circuito Chico (77) past the Arrayanes trailhead until you reach the trailhead for Cerro Llao Llao. Check here for bus routes and rough schedules and see the map below with more details.
Note that if you choose to ride the bus, you will need a SUBE card preloaded with money. Various kioskos will sell and load the card for you. Due to the drastic fluctuation in the Argentine peso in the recent years, we recommend checking with your accommodation, kiosk staff, or other locals to let you know how much you should load to your card for this trip. Once you load the money on your card, you cannot take it back.
If you happen to underestimate the amount, don’t worry too much! We saw multiple friendly people scan their own card for others. Be sure to have some small pesos in case.
When we visited Argentina, both the card and the trip cost only several USD. We purchased our SUBE card in Buenos Aires, so make sure you keep yours if you plan to travel to other spots that use this transport system in Argentina! We loaded one card for the both of us.
Exploring Llao Llao
Hike Type: Easy loop
Distance: 6-7 miles (9.7-11.3 kilometers) total – depending on the miradors you visit and exploring you do around them.
Duration: 3-4 hours – plus more if you decide to swim, picnic, etc.
Regulations: Respect private property boundaries. Pets are not permitted. Area is for day use only.
Our Hike Through Llao Llao:
We began our adventure to Parque Llao Llao fairly early, and the area around the Llao Llao Resort and Puerto Pañuelo was quiet. Upon reaching the trailhead, we entered the peaceful woods on a maintained dirt path. We were excited to see all the beauty this park has to offer!
Cerro Llao Llao
The first stop on our adventure was Cerro Llao Llao. This peak is the tallest in the park, so the views from the top are amazing!
We strolled through the woods, eventually reaching a turnoff on the left marking the path up Cerro Llao Llao. The trail had been fairly flat until this point. Here, it narrowed and became a bit rockier as we made our way up the hillside. While we climbed, we were able to see glimpses of the surrounding peaks and lakes below. The morning mist over the water had just begun to dissipate.
After hiking up about 20 minutes from the base of the hill, we reached the top. The views of Lago Nahuel Huapi and the surrounding mountains were stunning! And best of all, we had the spot to ourselves on that early morning in May.
We admired the view for a while before heading back down the hill the way we came. From here, you can return to the trailhead or continue on.
Villa Tacul & Puente Romano
We continued towards Villa Tacul. The path through the woods soon met a road that we followed a short ways before turning off towards Mirador Tacul. The trails were fairly well marked, we had downloaded Google Maps, and we carried the map (featured above) to help along the way.
This path brings you down to the water. In May, it was a bit chilly, but we imagine this inlet would be a lovely spot to take a dip on a warm summer day.
From Villa Tacul, we followed the trail back inland towards Puente Romano. This is an old bridge built back in the 1930s. Moss has grown on the old stone and the structure is surrounded by dense, lush vegetation.
Lago Escondido & Lago Moreno
From Puente Romano, the trail leads through the woods along the road until you come to Lago Escondido. This lake is much smaller than the many other bodies of water in the area, but the view from the little dock was beautiful nonetheless.
Hikers can continue along the road from Lago Escondido to Bahia de los Troncos and Bahia López. However, we headed out to the road and followed it back towards Mirador del Moreno. The trail leaves the road again, skirting along the shores of Lago Moreno. The lake is absolutely beautiful with blue water, mountain vistas, and many little rock outcroppings to hang out on. We stopped to enjoy our packed lunch and relax along the water.
Bosque de Arrayanes
The last stop on our loop was the Bosque de Arrayanes. This small detour off the main trail took us on a wooden boardwalk through a small forest of Arrayan trees. The trees looked like something out of a fairytale with their unique orange bark.
After the short walk through Bosque de Arrayanes, we made our way back to Circuito Chico and followed the road back to the port area to catch the bus back to Bariloche.
What to Bring to Hike at Parque Llao Llao
SUBE Card: Make sure you have your preloaded SUBE card if you plan to ride the bus.
Water: Stay hydrated while you hike.
Sturdy Shoes: Wear shoes that are comfortable and that can handle some rocky sections of trail and potential muddy spots.
Mini First Aid Kit: Another just-in-case item we always like to bring on hikes.
Camera: You’ll definitely want to snap some photos of the beautiful landscape!
Food: We brought a packed lunch (sandwiches and snacks) to enjoy by the lake. If you don’t bring a full lunch, bring a few snacks if desired.
Swimsuit & Towel: If you’re there in the summer, you may want to take a dip.
Layers: Even in the summer, it can be chilly, especially with those notorious Patagonia winds! In the winter, heavier jackets may be necessary. A beanie and gloves are good to pack in the winter as well.
Sun Protection: Most of the trail is well shaded, but bring sunglasses, a hat, and/or sunscreen if you plan to spend time on the shores of the lakes.