La Leona Petrified Forest is a tour in which you visit a Patagonian steppe area located between El Calafate and El Chalten, aimed to those who enjoy outdoor activities and adventure. The tour includes 3 hours discontinuous walking on a terrain where wind and water were responsible for uncovering dinosaur fossils and trunks, which remained hidden for millions of years.
The tour can be booked departing from El Calafate, El Chalten or directly starting at La Leona. La Leona Petrified Forest is halfway between El Calafate and El Chaltén. When the tour is booked with the transportation service, after leaving your hotel, you can see Lake Argentino or Lake Viedma, Rio Santa Cruz, and Rio La Leona, having majestic panoramic views of the Andes Mountains, including Cerro Fitz Roy. The tour starts at Parador La Leona where you will make a 15 minutes visit to to the historical site to then continue the journey along the southern margin of Lake Viedma until reaching Cerro Los Hornos at Estancia Santa Teresita.
From this hill you will see for the first time the massive depression of the terrain where the trunks and petrified fossils are. The exploration trek begins, lasting approximately 3 hours, including time to eat a lunchbox. Throughout the trekking, you will see large numbers of petrified trunks lying on the surface, some with a diameter of 1.2 meters, testimony that during ancient times the climate was very different from today and allowed the existence of a full forest. There have also been uncovered fossils of different types of dinosaurs that can be discovered with the help of the guide.
As the petrified forest is located in a natural depression of the terrain and next to Cerro Los Hornos, it is sheltered from the wind and in general climatic conditions are very good, thus facilitating the exploration of the area.
At the end of the trekking, you return to Parador La Leona where the tour finishes. If booked with transportation service the shuttle will take you back to your hotel in El Calafate or El Chaltén.
It should be noted that the tour also offers the possibility of ending in El Calafate having departed from Chalten in the morning or vice versa, which makes it perfect to move between these cities without missing a day.