Payogasta – Cuesta del Obispo – Pulares – El Carril (on RN68 south of Salta)
Thanks to Steve Fabes for contributing the information and photos on this page. His account of cycling in northern Argentina, a small part of a much larger quest to cycle the length of 6 continents, can be found at his Cycling The 6 blog.
This pretty route is the most direct way between Salta and the Valles Calchaquies and takes in a beautiful climb of the Cuesta del Obispo in Parque Nacional Los Cardones.
Although this page gives route information from Payogasta to El Carril (which lies on Ruta Nacional 68), if heading for the pleasant colonial city of Salta it’s a good idea to try and find an alternative, safer, route into the city than cycling RN68, which has heavy traffic and no hard shoulder.
For detailed information of cycling from Calafate to Salta via Cuesta del Obispo, check out: La Vida de Viaje’s page .
|Payogasta (2,450m). Small village.
|Climb on paved road to Piedra del Molino.
|Piedra del Molino (3,400m), the highest point of the Cuesta del Obispo. No water.
|Beautiful descent to Ruta 68. 5kms into the descent there is a 15km unpaved section, but the surface is good. Water is available from two streams in the early part of the descent. About 10kms before reaching RN68, pass through the village of Pulares (from where it is possible to take a smaller road to Cerrillos if heading for Salta, thus avoiding a stretch of the busy RN68).
|El Carril (1,200m) – junction with RN68.
View Payogasta – El Carril in a larger map