El Tronador is a dormant volcano with glacial ice that cracks and thunders, hence the name. At its base is the "black" ice of the Manso glacier, which has receded dramatically since the 1940s due to global warming.
We chose to drive here from Bariloche, and after seeing the endless white tour vans do the obligatory quick stops I'm glad we took more time. Be prepared, once you turn into the park off the main highway, to drive at between 10 and 40 km on extremely rutted and stone-covered narrow dirt roads. While it's just 28 km to the base of El Tronador, it took about 90 minutes of driving time to get there.
The views along the route are spectacular: Moscardi Lake, the snow-capped Andes, incredible rock formations.
Also, if you're driving yourself there, check out the hours in which the road is one way for incoming vehicles and one way for outgoing. The tours vans work around that schedule, also, of course.
The walkway from the parking lot to beneath the waterfall at the mountain is also quite rocky, with a very short, steep set of steps that looked challenging for some visitors. It's worth the effort if you've come this far!
There is a small restaurant here. Good coffee, great apple strudel, and a simple and forgettable menu of hamburgers with or without add-ons.
Afterwards, we doubled back to a hiking trail we spotted at Pampa Linda and set out for a good four-hour trek -- we just doubled back on one of the trails. Well-marked and beautiful.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.