The glittering lakes of Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Correntoso, Villarino, Falkner, Machónico, and Lácar are the star attractions of the aptly named Road of the Seven Lakes (Ruta de Siete Lagos). Running through the heart of the Patagonian lake district, the 65-mile (108-kilometer) drive is one of the most spectacular in Argentina.
Adventurous travelers can rent a car and drive the scenic route at their own pace, but visiting with a guide means no time wasted looking for the best view points. It’s an endlessly picturesque journey, with lakes, waterfalls, emerald lagoons, snow-capped mountains, and vast beech forests. Full-day tours leave from Bariloche or San Martín de los Andes, while more relaxed multi-day excursions allow time for hiking or camping along the way.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Road of the Seven Lakes is marked as Route 234 and Route 231 on older maps, while on newer maps it has been renamed Route 40.
- A 4WD vehicle is not needed to drive the route, but in winter cars should be equipped with snow chains.
- There are camping spots, inns, and hotels along the route.
- The main view points around the Seven Lakes are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get to There
The Road of the Seven Lakes runs from Villa La Angostura—a 1-hour and 15-minute drive from Bariloche—north to San Martín de Los Andes. The closest airport to Villa Angostura is in Bariloche, where you can rent a car or join a guided tour.
When to Get There
Driving the route is possible year-round, but it can be closed due to heavy snowfall in the winter months (June to August). Arguably the most stunning views are in autumn (April and May), when the lake-side forests turn a rainbow of colors. For the most impressive photos, don’t miss the view over the lakes at sunrise or sunset.
National Parks Around the Siete Lagos Road
The Road of the Seven Lakes passes through two national parks—Nahuel Huapi and Lanín—both of which are worth visiting. Nahuel Huapi is Argentina’s oldest national park and its landscape includes high Andean peaks, Patagonian steppes, and Valdivian rain forests, as well as wildlife such as monito del monte and guanacos. Farther north, Lanín National Park is a popular choice for hikers, with numerous day and multi-day treks, including scaling the Lanin volcano.