Agua Negra Pass (Paso de Agua Negra)
Agua Negra Pass is a border crossing between Chile and Argentina. At over 4700m it is one of the highest passes between the countries and is only passable outside the winter months.
The road is gravel from the Chile side and brand new asphalt on the Argentina side. (A proposed tunnel has been started from the Argentina side to allow easier access to the La Serena Port in Chile from Argentina.
The road from Chile is a gradually climb from the beautiful Elqui Valley region. This should not cause any issue with altitude sickness if you climb at a normal pace. The Argentina side is similar however because the road is asphalt you will be able to climb faster, therefore take your time.
My tracking from La Serena (Chile) over the Agua Negra Pass to Argentina.
GPS Tracking Map
The pass has some stunning landscapes and is relatively quiet in regards to traffic. It is also very cold at the top of the pass (even in summer it was 0 degrees)
Just before you reach the top, on the Chile side, you will experience riding/driving through a glacier. I’m not sure how is cut but the glacier is split to allow the road to pass through it. awesome stuff.
Penitentes are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun. You can find these amazing formations at the top of the pass. For a stunning drone view of these formations check out this video
Why is it a ‘Best Ride’
Well, apart from the snow formations, riding through glaciers and the stunning landscapes. The ride is also very challenging, only passable in summer and with temperatures ranging from 30 degrees to Zero. Want to see the whole trip in a time lapse? Check out the video below.
Time Lapse Video of the Pass