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Bosques Petrificados de Jaramillo National Park

Santa Cruz

Touring this national park is like taking a trip back in time. Its trails, in the middle of the Patagonian desert, cross one of the most important fossil plant deposits in Argentina, including the remains of enormous araucarias from 150 million years ago —they are the largest petrified trees in the world.

Although you can visit all year round, the best time is from November to April to avoid the cold and snow of winter. It can be traveled in the day. Free admission.

What to see
Museum and information centre 

At the entrance to the park, next to the park ranger section, there is a small museum with information about the place and the phenomenon of petrification. From here, you can already see a landscape dominated by the presence of the Madre e Hija hill and strange geological formations.

It's worth talking to the park rangers to understand the amazing changes that turned this ancient rainforest teeming with dinosaurs into today's awe-inspiring desert.

Paleontological trail

This trail begins at the park ranger section, is 2 km long and is of low difficulty. It leads to the fossilized trunks of several huge araucaria trees, which lie on the ground and can be seen up close. Some are 35 meters long and 3 meters in diameter, and at the time of petrification they were already a thousand years old. There is also a viewpoint with great views of the Madre e Hija hill.

During the walk you can see birds such as choiques, loicas and tucúqueres (Magellan owls) and some mammals such as guanacos, piches and gray foxes.

Important: the park is full of small fossils that, in the past, some visitors took as souvenirs. By leaving them in place, you help yourself to preserve it.

Ice Age

140 km from Bosques Petrificados de Jaramillo, in the town of Fitz Roy, is the "Ice Age" site, where in February 2007 the remains of two prehistoric mammals were found —a glyptodon and a sloth— that belong to the of ice from about 18 thousand years ago. You can see, under a glass dome, the excavation site and the replica of these animals, as well as information on how they were extracted. The place is freely accessible.

How to get there and move around

The park is 290 km from Comodoro Rivadavia (Chubut), 250 km from Puerto Deseado (Santa Cruz) and 232 km from Puerto San Julián (Santa Cruz). Access is by national route 3 (paved) until the junction with provincial route 49. From there it is 50 km of gravel to the entrance and the park ranger's office.

It is important to drive carefully, especially in winter because there may be frost. Heavy rains can also complicate the passage of low vehicles.

The place has no infrastructure, there are only public toilets. Bring drinking water and food. As the distances are long, it is a good idea to refuel whenever possible (the nearest service station is 140 km away in the town of Fitz Roy).

Where to stay

There are accommodations and gastronomy in Caleta Olivia 217 km away, Puerto Deseado 252 km away and Puerto San Julián 232 km away. There are also some options in Fitz Roy, Jaramillo and Pico Truncado.

On Provincial Route 49, 20 km before reaching the park, there is a ranch with a campsite. Another option is a rural establishment with accommodation, toilets and gastronomy, 38 km from the park.

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