The Arrayanes National Forest – Patagonia’s Land of Fairy Tales

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Arrayanes National Forest and it's easy pathways let you enjoy the scenery.
Have you ever wondered where the legendary Walt Disney drew his inspiration for his fairy tale settings? The mountains where Sleeping Beauty’s castle sits? The far-as-the-eye can see vistas in the Lion King? What about the enchanting forests where Bambi lived? Well, if you visit the Arrayenes National Forest in Patagonia you may just get an inkling that you’ve seen this all before.

Rumor has it that Walt Disney based the scenery of Bambi on the Arrayanes Forest, located in southern Argentina. And once you witness the incomparable beauty of the park you will understand exactly why.

The forest sits within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. Apparently the Argentines felt that this recognition wasn’t enough to compliment and protect the beautiful location, so they decided to give the forest another title as well. It is now the Arrayanes Forest National Park and the one national park that sits within another in Argentina.

The Arrayanes trees with their smooth, cinnamon colored exterior.There are no trees quite like the Arrayanes and this is the only place in the world where you can see a whole forest of them. They maintain a cinnamon colored outer layer with a smooth texture and during the right season they bloom beautiful white flowers and purple fruits.

Each tree is unique and has a distinct formation. As they stretch up to the light their branches and trunks twist and turn in all directions. Many times you can see two trees that have managed to wind around one another as if they are hugging, or even growing as one. (Even the trees seem to demonstrate that happy Disney spirit).

They have a hyptonizing quality, especially when all eyes are glued on the braches up above rather than where to place your next step. The park paths are very beneficial while sauntering through the forest and will eventually lead you to a hidden treasure on the island.

The Arrayenes Forest Cabin, built in 1933 and currently serving up deliciousness.The trees open up and you come to a quaint cabin which was built in 1933. It is a wonderful resting spot. While sipping on some hot chocolate and a piece of cake inside the cabin doors, you will be brought back to your playful childhood memories and understand exactly why this place inspired a Disney setting.

Tours to visit the Arrayenes Forest are commonly booked out of Bariloche or Villa La Angostura. The forest sits on Victoria Island so a 2 hour boat ride across Lake Nahuel Huapi is also included in the price with mind-blowing views along the way. Once on the island, hiking and mountain biking options are also available.

While visiting the magical forest, you may not see your Bambi, but there will be plenty of other wildlife and wonder to capture my interest. The myths of Disney in Arrayanes Park are lost in time and history; but the truth of the beauty of the forests is indisputable.

We would like to thank Albi2 and lean_bue for their beatiful photos, licensed under Creative Commons.


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[…] opportunities too.  We saw one of the most beautiful rainbows while hiking out to see a forest of Arrayanes trees.  These trees are reportedly what Walt Disney was inspired by in his depiction of the forests in […]

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