Cuesta del Lipán-Abra de Potrerillos

Driving the wild Abra de Potrerillos in Argentina

Cuesta del Lipán (Lipan Slope) is a section of steep zigzag on the National Route 52, located in the department of Tumbaya, province of Jujuy, Argentina.

The road that crosses the hill, totally asphalted, has the origin in the town of Purmamarca and reaches its peak (maximum height of the road) in the Abra de Potrerillos at an elevation of 4.170m (13,681ft) above sea level. Beyond this point, the RN52 continues through the Salinas Grandes to Paso de Jama.
In approximately 17 kilometers the slope rises from the edge of the town of Purmamarca at 2,192m to 4,170 m in Abra de Potrerillos. The road then goes down to Salinas Grandes, at 3,450 meters. The slope consists in a fully paved road that goes meandering in its ascent. A few hundred meters before reaching its peak there is a viewpoint where people can observe the dramatic road entirely.

Formerly the territory was crossed by mule trails descending from the highlands to the valley. In early 70’s it was built a dirt road, part of the Provincial Route 16, linking San Salvador de Jujuy, capital of the province with the town of Susques. In 1979, the stretch of 65 km from Purmamarca to Route 40 became a national jurisdiction, called National Route 52. And in 1999, the nation and the province signed an agreement to start the construction of this new road in 2000. The view of the road as it climbs in a series of switchbacks make you wonder at the engineering required


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