Added by LJ Nielsen

Reached via a steady trail to the peak, Cerro Arco offers sweeping 360 degree views of Argentina’s culinary capital, as well as the radiant Andean foothills, all within a day trip from the city – and if you don’t feel like climbing back down, the peak doubles as Mendoza’s ultimate paragliding destination, meaning the trail head can be only a swift flight away.

 The Climb

With Mendoza sitting amidst an array of South America’s finest vineyards, it is not uncommon for the more intrepid traveller to seek out an arduous activity to warrant one or two extra Malbecs at the end of the day. Enter Cerro Arco – a 1640m (5,380ft) peak sitting just at the city’s edge, offering a 4-hour return jaunt to Mendoza’s most spectacular viewpoint.

The trail itself is more of a 4WD trail allowing access for Para-gliders and antennae technicians, but that itself does not mean an easy ascent. From the trail head, hikers are gently welcomed to Cerro Arco, however the traditional South American custom of the “Switchback” is soon introduced. As the trail winds its way up to the peak, hikers are treated to a gradual reveal of Argentina’s wine capital, which sprawls off into the distance.

The trail is not technical and leads to a station at the top, where climbers are blessed with a viewpoint over the Andean foothills and the flatlands beyond. The actual Summit sign can be tricky to pinpoint – look for a gap between two fences in the station as you enter from the west. Keep a keen eye out for birds-of-prey, which can be seeing soaring through the blue Andean sky, amongst the smattering of parachutes. 

The Cerro Arco climb is a weekly of rite of passage for locals, and you may witness some of the crazier ones attempting to run up the hill – in the warm Argentinian summer, however, its best to relax, wander slowly and wonder often.  At the base of the climb, there is the unique Andean Club ready to supply travellers with some hard earned warm down refreshments before returning to the vineyards.

Paraglide

There are multiple tour companies offering the Paragliding experience from Cerro Arco. Generally, passengers will be driven in (South American dirt road) comfort to the jump-off point, with the descent lasting roughly 20 minutes. The flight offers unprecedented views of the Andes and Mendoza itself, as well as the jealous faces of the hikers trudging back down the trail.

Getting There and Away

The trailhead sits next to the Andean Club, off a dirt road near Las Heras. The best method of arriving is via vehicle (with a small charge for parking), be it with your own car or taxi (costing roughly 400 Pesos). Otherwise, the Mendoza Buss #144 arrives about 1km from the trail head, the same bus can be caught back to the city.  

Karma

As always, "Leave No Trace" certainly applies here, and bringing a spare bag to collect some of the rubbish on the side of the trail is never a bad idea.   

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