Garibaldi Pass, located on Tierra del Fuego, is the only paved route across the Fuegian Andes. Surprisingly enough, it’s also the highest point on Argentina’s Ruta Nacional 3. The views from the summit are stunning; to the north, the massive Lago Fagnano stretches 98 km west, across the Magallanes-Fagnano Fault and into Chile, and to the south, the often-missed Lago Escondido reveals its picture-perfect location surrounded by mountains.
The mountain pass also marks an abrupt transition in Tierra Del Fuego’s Geography. To the north, the island is mostly rolling steppe and sprawling sheep farms are the only things that interrupt the large distances between settlements. Heading south, the road snakes its way through the Fuegian Andes for the final 60km into Ushuaia before descending to the Beagle Channel.
The pass was built in 1956 to connect the island’s two major cities: Rio Grande and Ushuaia and it comes with a touch of interesting history. Three days after the route opened, a USA-licensed Jeep became just the third vehicle to successfully drive between the two cities, completing what at the time was the first successful Alaska-Ushuaia road trip.
Garibaldi Pass is located between Rio Grande and Ushuaia, along the main Ruta 3 Highway. It is open year round; however, snow and ice frequently covers the road in the winter.