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Los Cardones National Park


At the Calchaquíes Valleys, near charming villages as Cachi or Payogasta, Los Cardones National Park offers a landscape made of one of the largest cactus forests in South America. 

The best time is between April and November. Summer rainfalls may cause some roads to be impassable. Free-of-charge.

What to see
Cuesta del Obispo

Coming from the city of Salta, access is via the Ruta Escénica RP 33 (between the towns of Chicoana and Payogasta) climbing through the spectacular Cuesta del Obispo.

Along 20 km of a winding and cornice road, full of colours and shapes amid a landscape of mountains and high grasslands. It runs from 1,270 m.a.s.l. to 3,340 m.a.s.l. on Piedra del Molino, the highest point.


Teasel forest and Tin Tin straight line

Going through the park, on both sides of the road, you can see thousands of teasels. There are informative signs and short trails on various points to appreciate them more closely.

Continuing along the road stands the Tin Tin straight line, an old road, 15 km long, made by the Incas, which is now part of Provincial Route 33. It is an impressive road at almost 3,000 m.a.s.l.



Trails depart from various sectors of National Route 33, such as the one leading to Ojo del Cóndor (Condor’s Eye) viewpoint (20 min.), Camino del Pasado (Road of the Past) (30 min.) and, right before Tin Tin straight line (coming from Salta), the Valle Encantado trail (Enchanted Valley), which may take a couple of hours to walk.


Tour along Candado mountain chain

This trekking (done with specialized guides) starts in Valle Encantado and descends along a trail crossing narrow canyons with walls of more than 100 metres of vertical rock. It reaches ‘El Maray’, at the base of Cuesta del Obispo on Quebrada de Escoipe.

Los Colorados road

This 30 km-rubble road connects Tin Tin straight line with National Route 40 and crosses the park along spectacular desert landscapes surrounded by reddish hills and teasels. 

How to get there and move around

Located 97 km from Salta capital city, along National Route 68 and Provincial Route 33 up to Piedra del Molino, at the eastern entrance of Los Cardones National Park. The Town Hall is in Payogasta, some 147 km away. Coming from Cachi, the park is located 35 km away. 

You can also go by bus from Cachi or book a tour from Salta capital city.

Where to stay

Cachi and Payogasta offer lodging, services and typical food. There are no services at the National Park, only a pic-nic area in the Valle Encantado viewpoint.

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