Cerro Campanario is a classic Bariloche trip. It is a low overdeveloped peak loaded with tourists. It has spectacular views and is easily accessible from town. You can climb up a fairly easy trail or take a chairlift straight to the top. The summit has viewing platforms, a coffee shop, and signs identifying observable geographical features. The views are impressive, with forests, lakes, and mountains visible in all directions. Though not a true mountain experience, Campanario is a pleasant day trip and well worth a visit.
The base of Cerro Campanario is located at Avenida Bustillos Km 17. From the center of Bariloche, Colectivo 20 leaves every twenty minutes heading for Llao Llao. The bus ride generally takes about half an hour. A sign on the left side of the highway indicates when you have arrived.
To ascend via the trail, bear right at the entrance and hike up a well-defined, fairly steep trail until reaching the summit area. Occasionally, the trail splits into two or more branches, but they all lead to the same place, so just take your pick and keep on going. The average ascent time is about 30 minutes. A quick, fit hiker can climb it in half that time. A slower, less-conditioned person might take up to an hour. The descent will generally be much quicker. In total, I believe it is roughly a 200m climb.
Chair Lift Alternative
As of February 2013, the chairlift costs AR$60. The fee includes both the ride up and the ride back down. I believe the price is AR$30 for children. This may not be as adventurous of an option, but it does provide a nice alternative for young children, older folks, disabled people, or other non-hikers.
When to Climb
Cerro Campanario can be visited 365 days a year. The chairlift and coffee shop are open year-round.
There is no camping available onsite at Cerro Campanario. There are several developed campgrounds in the Bariloche area, including La Selva Negra (Bustillos Km 3), Los Coihues (Villa Los Coihues), Camping Goye (Colonia Suiza), and Camping SER (Colonia Suiza). There are also countless options for hostels, hotels, and cabins in and around Bariloche.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."