Created in 1970, the Pali Aike National Reserve covers an extension of approximately 12.429,40 acres, is located in the most isolated and barren section of the Magellan steppe. It is unique in the country because of its geologic characteristics: exotic lunar landscapes and the singular mixture of greyish tones in the volcanic rest that make remember the lava rivers of the cordilleran zone of the XII Region.
The Pali Aike National Reserve or “Country of the Devil” as was called due the fear that the Tehuelches or aonikenk felt by its strange landscape, thinking that in the Prak the bad spirits had to dwell. These natives inherited the territory by thousands of years, finding in these places a territory of traditional hunting, for which they moved regularly between different places or whereabouts of temporary use, individualized in Aonikoaish language, like Aik or Aiken. But this area was inhabited long before, at least 11.000 years ago as the findings in the caves of Fell and Pali Aike show.
The main activities in The Pali Aike National Reserve are: Recreational activities, oriented mainly to long walks with observation of fauna, flora and geologic resources of the area, Trekking, Photography and research.
Fauna and Flora in Pali Aike National Reserve.
Most of the surface of The Pali Aike National Reserve is covered by extensive basaltic lava spills, which provoked the existence of only semi desert vegetation. The natural existence of numerous volcanic cones of low height, caves, abundant basaltic craters, walls and lava fields resemble to a lunar landscape.
Fauna in the reserve consist in little mammals like armadillos, wild cats, Patagonian ferret, chingues, grey foxes or Chillas and Orejudo bat, Mouse of yellow Snout, Conero Mouse and introduced species as it is the Hare. Guanaco and Ñandúes are part of the landscapes of the reserve, within Pali Aike you can find 400 specimens of Guanacos.
The bird population in the reserve: queltehues or tero, caiquenes, carranchos or taros, cernicalos and at some times flocks of flamenco.
The vegetation in The Pali Aike National Reserve is located in territory of the cold Steppe or Patagonian, in its more barren section, due to the extensive spills of lava and to precipitations non superior to the 7, 8740 to 11, 8110 in annual. Most common species are Festuca gracillima, Festuca pallescens and Stipa humillis all associates forming coirón. Between the shrubs of The Pali Aike National Reserve calafate, Black Bush can be found and sometimes murtilla, known for its antioxidant properties.
How to access the Pali Aike Natural Reserve?
The Pali Aike National Reserve presents two terrestrial access roads, both through the international route 255 that unites the city of Punta Arenas with Gallegos River in the Argentine Republic, which connects the region with the zone center – South of the country- via San Carlos de Bariloche.
This main road of The Pali Aike National Reserve is constructed by a section of 124,27 miles with concrete folder, open all the year. The first access to The Pali Aike National Reserve, takes place from a bifurcation towards the Cooperative Legatee of the Bernardo O’Higgins Agrarian Reformation in km 168, to continue later by a rubble path of 16,16 miles that goes towards Brazo Norte.
The route borders the Strait of Magellan by sectors such as the ex-Ranch San Gregorio located to 77,05 miles of Punta Arenas, first cattle establishment of the Patagonia, and in which coasts the rest of the Amadeo steam rest, declared National Historical Monument, run aground in the coast of the Straits. At the present time The Pali Aike National Reserve does not count on any type of administrative personal infrastructure.
The second access to The Pali Aike National Reserve, is originated from the border complex Monte Aymond, in km 196, going into to about 9,32 miles towards the northwest by a earth track in regulating state, transitable only by 4X4 vehicles