Watched over by the mighty peak of Aconcagua Mountain—among the highest peaks in the world outside of the Himalayas at 22,837 feet (6,961 meters)—Aconcagua Provincial Park is a dream for hikers, with remote valleys, glacial lagoons, and towering peaks, all with sweeping views of the Andes Mountains.
While tackling the summit of Aconcagua is a feat best left to experienced mountaineers, there are a number of options for shorter hikes. Most impressive is the 10-mile (16-kilometer) round-trip hike to Confluencia, which affords spectacular views and takes around six hours total. A shorter circuit to the Horcones Lagoon makes an ideal choice for families or less active travelers. Many tours run from Mendoza, and the park also makes a popular stop on tours and transfers between Mendoza in Argentina and Santiago, Chile.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hiking permits are required; you will need to bring your passport.
- The main information center for the park is at Horcones; if hiking independently, head here first and inform the park rangers where you plan to hike.
- Accommodation and restaurants are available at Puente del Inca, along the main road to the park. Be sure that you have everything you need for hiking, including food and water, once you pass this point.
- Weather conditions can be temperamental even in the summer months, so pack warm clothing, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking shoes.
How to Get There
Aconcagua Provincial Park lies close to the Chilean border along Route 7, the main road that links Mendoza and Santiago in Chile. The main entry point to the park is at Horcones, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) off the highway. From Mendoza, it’s about a 3-hour drive.
When to Get There
Hiking season runs from November to April, and hiking outside of this period is not recommended. The trails can get busy in peak season (December–January); the shoulder-season months of November and April offer cooler weather and crowd-free trails.
Hiking Mount Aconcagua
Tackling the summit of Mount Aconcagua, renowned as one of the Seven Summits—a climbers’ bucket list that includes Everest and Kilimanjaro—is a popular challenge for serious climbers. The trek takes 13–15 days, which includes time to acclimatize, and is often used as a training ground for those hoping to scale Everest. Although not as technically challenging as some of the other seven peaks, it’s still not for the faint-hearted as it includes trekking at high altitude, using ice axes and crampons, and facing potentially extreme weather conditions.