Millions of years ago, Patagonia was covered by vast vegetation with a stable climate and large trees covering the area. Due to the volcanic eruptions that arose for several centuries while the Andes Mountain Range (Cordillera de los Andes) was developing, this area was covered by lava and ashes that over the years through petrification turned these majestic trees into stone. Today these petrified forests can be visited and the experience is unforgettable.
In this article we will highlight some of the best-known petrified forests in Patagonia.
La Leona Petrified Forest, near Los Glaciares National Park
This petrified forest is located 110 kilometers from the city of El Calafate. Unlike other forests, the trees that can be found in this area, as well as other fossil remains, were washed away by rivers and glaciers to where they are today. Some of them are very large. The ground, due to the erosion of winds and water, gives the feeling of being on the Moon, since it is extremely arid (completely opposite to what it was centuries ago). If you want to go to La Leona petrified forest, it is necessary to go with a tour, most of them are half day excursions (shared or private) from El Calafate. If you are interested in finding out, contact us!
Enjoy the amazing wildlife at Jaramillo Petrified Forest
Jaramillo National Park is located 256 kilometers from Puerto Deseado in Santa Cruz. It was declared a National Natural Monument in 1954 because, in addition to having trees, it has a very varied fauna that inhabits among the petrified trunks, despite being a desert and windy area. We can find guanacos, red foxes, pumas, maras, lizards, skunks, piches, rheas, choiques, eagles and martinetas among other species.
In this petrified forest, you will be able to find the largest petrified trunks on the planet, since some specimens reach 35 meters long. Unlike La Leona, Jaramillo is home to the original forest. Although the logs are fallen, the roots remain firmly in place. You can reach this park with your rented vehicle or through a private excursion; it’s a very remote area and you will have to transit through gravel road to reach.
Sarmiento Petrified Forest, a beautiful scenery
Sarmiento Petrified Forest or José Ormachea Forest is located 26 kilometers from Sarmiento city and 126 kilometers from Comodoro Rivadavia, in Chubut province. The logs that can be seen there date from 65 million years ago when the forest still existed. Following the trails, you can see palm trees and conifers turned into rock, as well as native fauna (guanacos, grey foxes, piches, blackbirds and eagles). In this lunar valley you will be able to appreciate different vegetable fossils in perfect condition. The deep depressions surrounding the ground still bear traces of other realities: shellfish shells, dinosaur fossils and strange rock formations, known as Piedras Rojas, are some of them. As in Jaramillo, this park is accessible by your own vehicle (rented) or through a private excursion.
Custom tours in Patagonia
La Leona Petrified forest, Jaramillo, and Sarmiento, are the most famous, but not the only ones in Patagonia. There are other -smaller ones- such as Florentino Ameghino.
In Beyond BA Latam, we offer custom tours in Patagonia, such as those you can see in our menu or the ones you can see below:
Therefore, don’t hesitate in contacting us and to start planning your next journey!
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