Los Alerces National Park is located in the Patagonian region of Argentina along the Chilean border. The nature reserve was created in 1937 to protect the forests and species of the Andean-Patagonian flora. The park contains 14 lakes connected by rivers and 28 various trekking trails for all skill levels.
The destination is the glacial peak named Torecillas, accessed through lake navigation and trekking of medium difficulty to an altitude of 2300 feet. The hanging glacier is receding, creating a vibrantly colored, growing glacial lake beneath. According to experts, a major retreat of the ice front and thinning of the upper portion of the glacier has occured in the last century.
The trek originates in Cholila, about 30 kilometers from the park or from the Villa Futalaufquen, located within the protected area.
Hike along the Arrayanes River, which offers one of the best views of the area thanks to the glacial turquoise waters of the river, all while surrounded by panoramic views of snowy peaks. Cross the footbridge over the river to catch a boat at Chucao Port on the eastern arm of the crystal clear Lake Menendez.
A 45 minute boat ride concludes in the majestic appearance of the Torrecillas glacier, beaming at 7400 feet high, with the Validivian rain forest framing the picture.
Upon disembarqment, the hike towards the glacier continues through wooded conifer trees, streams and rivers to cross over fallen logs, arriving at the lake formed by the melting glacier Torrecillas. Condors are regular sightings.
The gain in altitude offers better views and snow underfoot, even in the summer. The terrain becomes increasingly challenging and steeper, with spots where guides have installed a ladder and rope system for safety.
The best approach point to the glacier is at 1640 feet from the ice mass, on a small peninsula that enters the glacial lagoon sometimes surrounded by icebergs. With lucky timing, a magnificent but lamentable thunderous avalanche or break in the wall of the glacier falling into the lagoon from the top of the mountain is a highlight of the hike through the pristine landscape.