After hotel pickup in El Calafate, travel with your guide by air-conditioned coach for an approx. 21-mile (33-km) drive along Route 40, which offers breathtaking scenery. Admire Argentino Lake, Santa Cruz and La Leona rivers, and sweeping views of the impressive Andes mountains, including the snow-blown jagged peaks of Fitz Roy, the highest mountain in Los Glaciares National Park.
Make a brief rest stop at the historic site of Hotel La Leona, built in 1894 by Danish immigrants. Hear about the mauling incident that earned the area its name, La Leona, meaning the lioness, and find out which famous characters passed through this hotel and rest stop, including Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and his wife, Ethel Place.
Continue by coach along the southern bank of Lake Viedma and disembark near the slopes of Cerro Los Hornos. After a safety briefing, follow your guide and begin your easy 7-mile hike (round-trip) to the Petrified Forest of La Leona.
Explore an arid and windy steppe of surreal landscapes and reach a massive natural depression in the ground, spanning approx. 1,977 acres (800 hectares). Your guide shares how this area once enjoyed a humid climate and was flush with forests, which volcanic eruptions and the changing climate buried and preserved underground.
Wind and water erosion exposed these tree trunks and, making your way along narrow paths, you’ll discover petrified logs, some with a diameter of almost 4 feet (1.2 meters), as well as dinosaur fossils.
About an hour into the hike, stop for a break and dig into your box lunch including a veggie tart, ham-and-cheese sandwich, fruit, candy and bottled water. (Vegetarian meals are available upon request; please indicate any dietary restrictions at time of booking.)
Walk back to the starting point and return to El Calafate by bus, making a stop in La Leona before being dropped off at your hotel.