Cerro Tres Picos is located in the range called Villa Ventana, in Tornquist, one of the rural areas to the south of Buenos Aires, to the south-west of Mar del Plata. It is the highest peak in all Buenos Aires, and a great destination for those seeking some time off the urban life in Buenos Aires. On the way there, there is plenty of florae and faunae. It is 1239mts above sea level, and offers a very entertaining 6-8 hours trek. The summit is really easy to achieve, so it is a great place for taking your children.
You can get there either by train or bus, leaving from the city of Buenos Aires. Bear in mind that trains leave on friday night from Constitucion ( one of the main train stations in Buenos Aires ) and then on Sunday afternoon from Tornquinst, so you will be on a tight schedule if you choose that option.
Once you are in Tornquinst, you may need to take a cab there to get to the refuge. It is a cozy cottage that belongs to the Funke organization, who are in charge of keeping the place in conditions.
The trail to the summit offers a variety of sightseeing. You will walk through a vast field, where several flocks graze. There is a small grove where you can rest for a few minutes if the sun is too strong. After that, you will start the ascent through a path between pines and eucalyptus for the next hours. After that, there is a slightly steep ascent that takes around 2 hours, with not much vegetation. Take into account that, when I was there, there had been a recent fire so much of the vegetation was gone which also led to the absence of landmarks to get some orientation. After this ascent, you will walk through an esplanade for another hour until you reach a point where the path to the cave separates from the one to the summit. The path to the summit requires an ascent of about an hour, and offers a fantastic view from some height. The path narrows near the summit, which happened to scare me a lot, as I was not using any trekking poles. The last 20 meters can be easily climbed. Once you get there, you get a full view of the countryside of Buenos Aires. It was my first ever trekking experience, and it was extremely satisfying.
You need to arrive to the refuge with an amount of 20 dollars that you need to leave as a deposit in case you incur into a penalized activity: not bringing down your garbage with you, camping on restricted areas, etc.
When to Climb
This trek can actually be done any time of the year, as Buenos Aires doesn't have an extreme weather. However, some people may feel uncomfortable with strong winds, warm weather, long walks under the sun or sleeping in the cave during cold nights, so I find it more comfortable to go on spring or fall.
You can sleep in the cave called "Cueva de los Guanacos". Despite its name, I didn't happen to see any "Guanacos" (a rumiant similar to the llama). It is a bit off the path to the summit. It provides a really pleasant camping experience and offers some protection from the wind if you don't count with a proper tent for that kind of circumstance.
I drew the route of my trek
using explore&share, a trekking community platform in which I also work as a developer. Take a look!