GPT23 (PN Lago Puelo)

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* Start Date to Finish Date (use Format YYYY-MMM-DD) / Duration in Days / Hiking or Packrafting / Travel Direction (SOBO for Southbound or NOBO Northbound) / Chosen Route and/or Option Name (RR for Regular Route) / Names or Alias

Summary with remarks to route that are considered useful for other hikers and packrafters. Include alerts, suggestions and personal perception of attractiveness and difficulties.

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Section Log, Alerts and Suggestions

Season 2025/26

Season 2024/25

Season 2023/24

  • Recommendation Jan Dudeck November 2023: The Regular Route on the eastern side of Lago Puelo is traversable again. Also, thanks to Martin Lizondo the Regular Route could be re-routed next to Cerro Plataforma onto a more maintained trail. This avoids serious bush bashing on the now obselete Regular Route that I renamed to Option 6 (Cerro Tres Picos). This makes previous route descriptions not applicable to the updated 2023 route. So enjoy section GPT23 again without battling through dense fields of bamboo grass.

  • 2024-20-18 to 2024-02-22 / 5 days / Hiking / SOBO /RR + 23-02/ Gerald

Day 1: Until Rio epuyen is not much water. Only Water {23} [11.4/448] is accessable, not super easy though. That part is quite dry... Take the road to your left at -42.148514, -71.594333 to avoid crossing private property. Camped here -42.15975, -71.597078 . It's right at the lake and a bit exposed to all the boats crossing. Room for one tent.

Day 2: nice trail. At the other side of the lake is a free camping (-42.227775, -71.666765). From waypoint Bridge {23} [29.1/269] (Rio Derrumbe) on is no water until you reach Rio turbio (if i remember right). Camped like Roman here -42.304965, -71.768301. Met 2 gauchos and asked if i am allowed to camp. They said no problem, i should just distinguish the fire with water if i wanna make one. Is a nice spot right next to a river.

Day 3: from now on its like walking on sand dunes until the lake. There is a Puesto next to a river at -42.339905, -71.785909. Continued to Plataforma {23-02} which offered nice views - thanks Quentin for telling me! There are river along the way. Camped at the lake -42.346106, -71.79513.

Day 4: lost the trail in the forest with the big rocks, but still easy. Once you are at the second meadow it's a swamp until you reach the lake. in the burned area i lost the trail pretty quick. It's super hard to find again since the gps track is fairly sparse (maybe Jan Dudeck or Martin Lizondo can share the original track). Had to bush bash for 1-2h (lost track of time). Super demanding... Found the trail 2 or 3 times and lost it again. From -42.394973, -71.809004 on i joined and never lost the trail. Watch your gps super frequently, otherwise you take a wrong turn. The Hill Roman was talking about is great to focus on in case you are lost. To the left, the trail is easy to spot. Camped between the lake and the MR -42.446782, -71.727817. Not super great, but rain was coming. There are not really nice places to camp along the lake until the paid camping.

Day 5: just walking on the MR with nice views. Got a ride to Cholila at the end of the lake, since weather looked super unstable. Piuke Mapu Patagonia Hostel is nice! Good view on tres Picos. Plenty of supermarket and even western union if you need one (around here -42.510352, -71.434688). It's kind of kiosk, so better ask how much you can get before doing the transaction.

Beautiful hike!

  • From 2024-02-16 to 2024-02-19 // 3,5 days // Hiking // NOBO // RR + Option 2 // Quentin Clavel

From villa Lago Rivadavia, you just follow a long gravel road, until PK60, where the fun begins !

Kind of bush-bashing on some part, maybe it's just me who lost the track, but I had some great fights with the bush !

When arriving at the junction, the tracks are easy to follow.

Go absolutely to cerro plataforma, amazing atmosphere, crazy to see this big flat summit, surrounded by hills, and a 360° view on all the moubtains around. This place is classified for its fossils, millions years ago, that was the seabed, reason why we could see fossils.

Reach the great Lago puelo, the hard part, that have been burnt is doable, sometimes hard to find the way, but with the HOS it's alright. Views are very nice up there. This stretch is part of huella andina, so you'll have (more or less) regularly the blue and yellow marks to show you the way.

One important thing is that there's no water at all on this part of the section (from KM0 to KM 13).

Then I could see from above the busy beach (it was a crazy hot day, 38° announced), as I didn't wanted to go into the crowd, I skipped the end of the section, and instead, take a track, going straight to the first street of the city.

On that one I could resupply thanks to the minimarket of Alicia (just after the camping Puelo). Then you just have to go straight at the end of this street, and the next section begins.

  • 2024-Jan-12 / 5 days / Packrafting / SOBO / RH + RP / Lauren & Sebastian

Day 1: We took the first bus out of Lago Puelo, which leaves by the gas station around 7:30 am. But the wind was too strong so we decided to hike along RH instead. We later found out that on the same day Daniel started GPT23 packrafting southbound and he made it across the brazo occidental even though under high winds. After the brazo, it was windstill and even some tailwind for him. We saw that same windpattern still a few hours later from the top of the mountain. The way up the mountain was super well maintained, once you come to the ridge wayfinding becomes tricky and the way down a bit worse, but not super bad. It‘s a very scenic hike which we enjoyed. We camped at Puerto Riquelme the first night.

Day 2: Started packrafting out of brazo oriental. Recommend early morning. We thought we’d have tail winds after the brazo going south, but winds shifted soon and the initial tail wind became head wind. We packrafted until approximately 1 km before the end of the lake where the trail comes down near the lake. It‘s a very well maintained trail all the way to the pass.

Day 3: We continued up to the pass. Nothing difficult on that stretch, only amazing views! After the pass the trail disappears more and more. Find your way through the magical boulders and you’ll come to the first meadow with a little stream, which is where we camped :)

Day 4: We followed the meadows down, once the trail leads back into the forest it becomes well visible and easy to follow, all the way to where the steep downhill starts. We had no problem following the trail. To avoid dense bushes, stay on the left on the hill and follow the horse tracks and poop. After the steep downhill, we think that we went too low and couldn’t find the trail, so we had about one hour bush bashing until the first little hill at -42.39672, -71.80949. There we found the trail, more or less easy to follow, but it’s always there! Due to Cy and GGs account we expected difficult bush bashing towards the end, so we followed Roman’s route. The way down the hill to the ford was easy bush bashing. Maybe 15-20 Minutes, just follow the main cow tracks, they will lead you right to the ford. The ford is indeed demanding. Only attempt if you are comfortable with difficult fording! From there on it’s all road. Side note: Daniel just continued to follow the regular trail from there. He said it was in good condition all the way and not too difficult to follow! So there is no bush bashing needed once you find the trail and stick to it! The fording at the end is less demanding than the other one on Roman’s route. So both ways are highly enjoyable, pick your preference! We camped at -42.45679, -71.77372, which was right next to a perfect river-in spot for Rio Tigre, which we would definitely recommend!

Day 5: We paddled down Rio Tigre, which was a pure pleasure! As mentioned in previous accounts, have a look at the second left turn before you go in (either scout it - there is a great landing spot just before - or have a look at the satellite images). On Lago Cholila we made good progress. We started a bit later that day to make use of the sail and it was perfect. After that we finished down Rio Carrileufu, however due to the later start, the last part on the river we experienced quite the strong headwind! We finished a truly remarkable GPT section at Campsite Abuelo Daniel!

  • 2023-12-22 to 2023-12-25 / 4 days / Hiking / SOBO /RR / Roman

Started in Lago Puelo. The trail up the Mountain up to Water {23} [11.2/471] is in good condition. The Camp {23} [8.5/730] is possible but difficult IMHO. The way down to Bridge, X {23} [13.5/204] (Rio Epuyen) is difficult. Many fallen trees no BB but annoying for 2 km, but with the amazing view! The RR crosses private territory at -42.150307, -71.595803. Very nice lady with 2 dogs. Maybe this path would be better (needs to be checked) -42.150094, -71.593503. Water at: -42.158685, -71.595583. Slept at -42.159401, -71.596885. From there the trail is all the way to -42.304965, -71.768301 in pristine condition and ist just fun! The trail at the east side if the lake is regularly used by locals. I hiked to this point and camped here: -42.304965, -71.768301. Maybe it's normally necessary to pay because there are even 2 places to make fire. In my case no one was there and it was a great place to camp with water directly next to it. On the way to this point you have to Ford 2 times: -42.296869, -71.752602 and -42.305186, -71.769161. The next kilometres up to the lake here: -42.346621, -71.79487 can be easily followed and is good to hike. It's steep it took me 3 hours to finish this part. From there on waa snow and you couldn't see the trail. Still easy to continue. Up to this point: -42.364977, -71.790992. There is a forest clearing and easy to hike. At the end starts the trail all the way to this point: -42.38472, -71.798375. Down the mountain to this point: -42.390629, -71.804577 is "free for all". Seep hill no trail tones if allen trees. Easy to get down but incredible difficult if you go NoBo. From there on its Bush Bashing (my understanding is: it's not longer possible to have a smooth consistent motion while walking because of vegitation. This does not include that you have to raise your arms because there a a lot of trees to you right and left). It's demanding because there are hundreds of fallen burned trees which are point and this combined with bamboo and new vegitation. I deviated from the RR and went "straight" to this point: -42.396721, -71.809493. It's a small hill to take a rest and get a overview. After that I went up the small hill in this direction: -42.405402, -71.808371. I stayed on top of the hill which avoided bigger BB. In preparation of the route I scouted a ATV Road. Download at the end of the comment. I went from here -42.411282, -71.809326 to the start of the ATV here: -42.412989, -71.810822. The Ford is very demanding, it's at the same place where the ATV starts. From there on I followed the route until this point to pitch camp: -42.446908, -71.728077 which is a great place to start packrafting the next day. The next day I started early with no wind 06:45 AM and finished GPT23 at 02:30 PM. Rio carrileufu is a dream! A few logs other than that mid speed river and a joy. This shop offers payment via bank transfer -42.561688, -71.599514.

Overall: great section! I would definitely recommend SoBo. The Bush Bashing is quite shitty for 1.5-2h. Overall it's absolutely worth it and would reccomend is. The 1.5-2h of BB is nothing against the beautiful hike and the gorgeous packrafting.

Trail download:!AqzLweJ3NZW5q7YaWpYwLH1plYOeWA


  • 2023-dec-01 to 2023-dec-05 / 5 days / packrafting / SOBO / RP / Cy & GG

Superb section with good variety of landscapes Don't underestimate the strong gusts of winds in the lago puelo First camp on the shore of the lago in the middle of dead trees ready to host The trail up to cerro plataforma was very clean and well maintened, still steep on some parts... lots of snow at this period around the pass but faiseable Wet soil after the pass but easy going until you reach the next valley Huemul seen in this area, check it ! Bush bashing from the ridge through bamboos quite tricky but there is a trail, we lean good part of the way with machete. After the ridge and the first stream, need to find the way through small open areas and dense bamboo and brushes. Machete essential Easy going then from the first puest and settler Rio Tigre was easy to packraft with just few dead trees and 2 smalls rapids. Be careful and concentrate on the second left turn or scout it from the shore before passing it Cholila lake was super calm in the morning then the wind came at 12am pushing us from the back. Entrance of rio carrileufu is easy and directly connected to the campsite making the logistic very easy Rio Carrileufu then is a really cool fishing river

Season 2022/23

  • 2023-Mar-01 to 2023-Mar-05 / 4,5 days / hiking / SOBO / RR + 23-01 / Martin & Helena

Trails around Lago Puelo are now in good condition, but its still very challenging section following RR, especially part between El Turbio and Lago Cholila - alternative route mentioned by Martin would have been a better option probably. On the other side, if you go for it, you are rewarded with spectacular view of Tres Picos as soon as you get above the treeline, and the wilderness / remoteness of the area is something we have not experienced for quite some time and really enjoyed! Definitely count with more time to finish this trail.

With only a little info about the overall trail condition we started from Lago Puelo beach. On the way there is a PN office (that was closed in the late afternoon), toilets and even a kiosk that makes small pizzas and has some basic things. The beginning of RR is well marked with blue-white marks and maintained. We didn’t notice the X waypoint and ofc took the wrong trail, later we found place for camping at around km 5 where is an old sign and safe place to camp (no water) with all the falling trees in mind. Camp at km 8.5 is perfect, flat circle of grass and amazing view. Water at km 11.2 was basically dry, but the one after it had a small creek. The way down to the valley was still marked but not so obvious in some places. It was a pleasant surprise for us to find down there campsite with opportunity to buy some food - we had a milanesa sandwich, a little more expensive (around 2500 ARS), but good with local draft beer. They accept cc and have (poor) wifi connection. From the campsite there is a official trail to El Turbio that took us around 4 hrs, easy walking. At the end of it the RR leads closer to the lake, but we followed the marks to a gate near to the settlement. We camped there but the official campsite is probably on the open field behind the settlement. In the morning we met the settler / guard Mario - his number is +54 9 2944 20-4904 if you need it. He adviced us to take the optional trail from there and wrote down our contact details. He surprised us with his estimate of 4-5 days to get to the other side and we had to promise to let him know when we’ll get there.

We decided to follow Mario’s advice and go with the eastern valley instead of RR. From El Turbio the trail was in good condition (only less visible sometimes) up to a point where you reach junction of two rivers and the trail turns right, basically leading you into the river. We found out that there is actually a trail on the left side of the river that leads into the forest but at the end will take you almost to the junction with RR. As we were coming closer to that point, it was harder to follow the path, that was overgrown in some places and with a lot of fallen trees.

After the junction we continued actually in the river for some time and camped at km 45 (funny combination of river walking and bush-bashing, there must be some new term for that). Bush-bashing continues from that point and things don’t get better until beginning of the CC part. There are hunderds of fallen trees and no trail to follow. We tried to go higher up but with no luck, you probably just have to find a way through it. Expect very slow progress. CC starts as soon as you get out of the forrest and follows the river. Walking on both sides of it or directly in it is what we did and there was still some remaining snow. Spectatular views of Tres Picos.

With hope of better trail we continued to the fords start/end part, but all we found were again fallen trees and overgrown trails making the next few kms again very hard and slow. Hard to give any advice here, we tried to follow the GPS, but you need to improvise. Things get better in the second part of this stretch leading to the final ford 59.2 - as you descent down, the river banks get wider and easier to walk on. After the ford you’ll finally get on a proper trail that leads basically all the way to the lake. There are basically no gates but be careful with barbed wires laying on the ground around these marked places. We went through the burned forrest and connected to the MR, from there its very straightforward. Camp on the other side of the lake was quite nice but with no food to buy (there is super small shop), and bc we were out of our supplies, we got a ride to Lago Rivadavia.

Contact: @martin_hanzelka @helenneka

  • 2023 January / Hiking / GPT23 Southbound / Investigating a new route / Martin Lizondo

GPT23: Hello everyone. I’ve just finished section 23 in 7 days from Lago Puelo to Villa Rivadavia. Good news: I found a new route which is actually ALL TRAIL and perfectly walkable. This is very important because the mountain pass from El Turbio to lake Cholila is closed with vegetation and not used anymore after recent forest fires. I found instead a new route called Cerro Plataforma from where you can follow a horse track down to Cholila. You can contact me and I can send you the track file. Also the burned forest from Lago Puelo to El Desemboque was maintained and is now easy to walk. This solves a lot of headaches for this beautiful section and makes it absolutely worth it. Enjoy. Cheers.

  • 2023-Jan-10 / packrafting / Lago Cholila - 24P Villa Fulalaufquen / Zach

I started at Lago Cholila. After seeing Cerro Tres Picos from below i wished I’d done the whole section. Getting out of El Bolson was surprisingly difficult. Hitched luckily all the way to Lago Cholila. Walked farther around to put in just North of the little hill. What a ride! Cruised with the wind and waves straight to Rio Carrileufu paddling only to orient forward. The river is a delight. Put on cruise control and enjoy the view. The following morning was unexpectedly windy in the face so I had to paddle to make progress most of rest of the river. Continued on 24P without stopping in Villa Rivadavia.

  • 2022-Nov-09 to 2022-Nov-11 / 3 days / hiking / SOBO + NOBO / Frank

The office of Club Andino Piltri in Bolson, which was a great source for hiking information, has burned down & they are currently homeless. Rivers were running high & I did not get any info. on the current status of the route so I walked round it on the road in 3 days. Day 1: I got the morning bus to Epuyen then walked about 42KM NOBO to Pasarela Rio Azul near Lago Puelo at the start of GPT22. Although you are near the main road (Ruta 40) you can often walk away from it on small gravel roads & tracks. No place for food on the road until you reach El Hoyo where there is a great bakery on RHS of road (the first place you come to NOBO) Friendly with very good fruit pie. At the north end of El Hoyo just after the viewpoint you can cut left on a dirt road, go right over a small hill & come down on the main road into Lago Puelo. Epuyen has a bus station, a few shops & a cafe. Day2: 7:30AM bus to Epuyen & continued SOBO. All on road, first on Ruta 40 then on much quieter Ruta Provincial 71. It's paved as far as Cholila, then gravel. In Argentinian Patagonia the roads generally have a wide gravel margin so you can walk away from the traffic. Nothing on the road for 28KM except a marsh with flamingos in it. Then you come to Butch Cassidy's house (down a signed track, 500 metres off the road) 100 metres down the main road is La Legal museum & cafe, friendly, displays about Butch & local history in Spanish & English. There is no need to go into Cholila which is 3KM off route. As you approach Cholila the main road turns left up a small hill. Leave it & go straight ahead on a gravel road (the old RP71 road) After 5KM you come to a junction. 300 metres on your left is a shop with good supplies, they even had camping gas. On the right is a campsite & 200 metres further where the road becomes gravel there are cabanas & rooms. Day3: Walked the gravel RP71 to Vila Rivadavia in 3 hours & continued on GPT24. Vila Rivadavia has 2 small shops, 2 campsites & La Pilarica lodge, good soup & coffee, wifi, expensive rooms. It's in the village 1KM off the route. From La Pilarica you can take a shortcut to rejoin the road in 300 metres (ask them to show you as there is a lot of thorn scrub off route)

Season 2021/22

Season 2020/21

Season 2019/20

  • 2019-11-10 / Jan Dudeck / Regular Hiking and Packrafting Route

Severe wild fires in recent years destroyed the trail west of Lago Puelo and north of Lago Cholila. This makes a traverse much more demanding in particular when hiking and not packrafting Lago Puelo. Therefore I currently do not recommend to hike this section. Traversing this section with a packraft is also very demanding but the rewards are pristine water routes on Lago Puelo, Lago Cholila and Rio Carrileufu.

Season 2018/19

Season 2017/18

  • Route description by Kara Davis after Season 2017/18:

There is a boat ramp and nice beach at the docks on the north shore of Lago Puelo. Located at put-in is an Argentine Coast Guard outpost so don’t be surprised if an official asks you where you’re planning on paddling. While paddling, the occasional small sandy beach may be spotted on the east side of the lake, but for the most part the shore is very steep. The official route follows the west side, where there are obvious beaches.

If wind makes passage across the lake impossible, hiking the well maintained Camino al Desemboque is a good option. It is possible to access the trail from the lake if need be, but be prepared to bushwack up through some hard terrain. Be aware of the signs along Camino al Desemboque that say camping is prohibited in Parque Nacional Lago Puelo.

Season 2016/17

  • 2014 to 2016 / Initial Investigation / As of 2023 this is Option 6

Recent reports stated that the hiking trail (track RH-TL-V@23-2.4) on the eastern side of Lago Puelo is nearly impassable due to a wild fire and lack of maintenance.

At the south side of Lago Puelo is a nice, lakeside campsite. The route continues south on another well groomed path, Cajón del Arroyo Derrumbe, that winds through rocks and scrub heading towards a forest. After entering the forest and crossing the footbridge, the land opens up and camping is plentiful. This path continues, but it becomes harder to follow. Eventually it widens into a 4WD track which winds through private farms.

After passing by the farms, the trail turns off the 4WD track onto a single track trail which is difficult to follow. There are several misleading spurs and the trail is overgrown with prickly vegetation. The trail remains like this until the steep climb beginning approximately 11.5 km from the south shore of Lago Puelo.

During the steep 800 m climb it is possible to spot a faint game trail, but for the most part this is a cross country route. This climb is difficult! There are very few trees, mostly bushes and prickly grasses full of burs, and the route does not cross water. At the top of the climb, just over the crest, there is a spot to camp.

The descent involves bushwhacking through a dense, woody forest for a couple kilometers, broken up by the occasional meadow. Be wary of the route you choose to take as it is possible to cliff out. After reaching the bottom (at approximately elevation 1.160 m) and beginning the next ascent (to approximate elevation 1.350 m), the forest opens up allowing for easier movement. The second descent (to approximately elevation 980 m) is densely forested, steep, and very slow going. The subsequent ascent (to approximately elevation 1.280 m) involves bushwacking until reaching treeline. At this point, the route descends cross-country on talus and alpine marshland. The dense forest and wet conditions of the meadows makes camping in this area difficult.

After dropping below treeline, a stream winds through relatively open forest until joining Del Turco. In several places it is possible to walk along the bank of the river, crossing it as needed. Since there are several occasions where crossing Del Turco is necessary, doing this section when the water is high may be dangerous. When the GPS route deviates from the river it’s usually to avoid a steep section where the flat banks disappear. There is the occasional small trail which frequently fades into the thick bamboo forest. The combination of rocky terrain and prickly vegetation makes camping along the river difficult to find. However, there are some clear flat areas; a couple places even had evidence of fire rings.

Approximately 5 km from where the route joins the dirt road to Lago Cholila, the trail becomes more established. There are still some misleading spurs, but generally the route is straightforward. There are also higher quality and more frequent camping options in this area. The route joins a nice dirt road lined with several private residences about 1 km from Lago Cholila. The put in for the 4 km paddle across the lake is a grassy beach.

The outlet of Lago Cholila is Río Carrilefu. This river is swift but has few obstacles. Most of the river is lined with thick bush or private property, but the occasional place to camp can be spotted (some areas even have picnic tables). Watch for the take-out just before Villa Lago Rivadavia. Exit the river on a grassy beach just below a small campsite called Camping El Abuelo Daniel. There are several amenities at this site including flushing toilets, cold showers, and home cooked meals. The price in 2018 was 170 argentine pesos to camp per night without breakfast and 230 argentine pesos per night with breakfast included.

Resupply and Accommodation

Resupply and Accommodation in nearby Towns

  • The closest resupply option is the small town of Cholila. The largest grocery store here, which takes credit cards, is located in a building a block off the central park with “Autoservicos” written on the side. There are several smaller stores that offer snacks, a couple of ferreterías (hardware stores), good restaurants, and lodging/camping options.
  • La Anonima supermarket in El Bolson.
  • Epuyen has a few small shops & a cafe
  • There is a good shop 3KM outside Cholila just before the new paved RP71 joins the old gravel RP71
  • 2 small shops & a restaurant in Vila Rivadavia
  • Campsite $ on RR 3KM outside Cholila

Resupply and Accommodation along the Route

Transport to and from Route

  • Access to Start

La Golondrina bus runs every hour in daylight from the bus stand outside La Anonima supermerket in El Bolson to Lago Puelo. Via Tac also go there. You can get a direct bus Bariloche-Lago Puelo with Via Tac. La Golondrina have buses Bolson-Epuyen Mon-Sat at 7:30, 1PM & 18:30 leaving from the same bus stand. Via Tac go El Bolson-Lago Puelo-Epuyen-Esquel every day leaving El Bolson at 9:40 from the Via Tac office in El Bolson. They also have an evening bus. La Golondrina have occasional vans going Epuyen-Cholila.

Permits, Entry Fees and Right-of-Way Issues

Links to other Resources

Retired Section Article GPT23 - PN Lago Puelo