Mighty Mount Tronador and the Black Glacier | Bariloche, Argentina

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“Welcome to the tour,” our guide said in her slow, cheerful Argentine dialect. “We will first drive 30 kilometers on this nice asphalt road, and then the next fifty will be on gravel. The road has over 1,000 twists and turns, and after we get to Mount Tronador,” she paused, rolling that last ‘r’ with a flourish, “we will drive the same exact route back.”

This is going to be a looooong day, I thought to myself. I hoped it was worth it.

It was. This was exactly one of those Patagonia experiences we had imagined we would have: pampa, turquoise lakes, rugged mountain peaks and of course, glaciers, but this is also an entirely unique experience.

parque nacional nahuel huapi
The trip to the Tronador is so unique because of the presence of a rare black glacier, too.

After driving the first stretch along Argentina’s famous Ruta 40, toward the jagged tops of the ever-growing Patagonian Andes, we turned off into the Nahuel Huapi National Park. Immediately we spotted the diamond sparkles dancing on the deep blue Nahuel Huapi lake.

The first two hours were spent driving alongside it through the towering trees of the park. Nicknamed ‘