Uspallata to El Leoncito national park

From Mendoza we went to Uspallata, a small town on the way to the chilean border to spend a night in the municipal campground. Unfortunately neither the town neither the campground are worth the time but Uspallata is the only stop in the region. The landscapes are beautiful and the town serves as the starting point to a number of destinations, the main one being mount Aconcagua, the highest summit outside Asia at 6961 m (22,838′). We just wanted to charge our battery before venturing further north into the desert to parque El Leoncito in the province of San Juan. Once on the road, which is paved most of the way, we saw horses, vicuñas, and a suri cordillerano, a sort of south American emu. Before entering the park, on the opposite side of the road is “El Barreal Blanco”, a dry lake bed of about 10 km x 3 km. I took photos when we got there, then came back early the next morning.

From there we entered the park proper, via a narrow unpaved road with is only passable in smaller vehicles. Tour buses stop where the pavement ends. From there it is 7 km to the ranger station. We stayed in the park campground two nights. We visited one of the observatories during the day then came back at night for some guided star gazing and photography. We also did the hikes, one to an unexpected waterfall, the other to cerro El Leoncito.

More photos …

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