The Best Hikes in El Chaltén

For the best hiking in Argentine Patagonia, there’s only one choice: El Chaltén. Sitting in the shadow of legendary Mt Fitz Roy and at the doorstep of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, it is a trekker’s dream. Naturally, there are more than a few solid hiking options around this village in Los Glaciares National Park. Some you can complete in an afternoon, while others will take days. Below are some of the best.

Laguna de Los Tres Viewpoint

Laguna de Los Tres

If Fitz Roy is the king of the El Chaltén region, then Laguna de Los Tres is the crowned queen. This turquoise glacial lake sits right underneath the famous massif and the hike up to it is equally renowned. It’s also a relative breeze, as you can follow a well-marked trail right out of town (marked Sendero al Fitz Roy) for 6 miles (10 km) up to the glassy lagoon. Here you can enjoy a picnic lunch at 3,838 feet (1,170 m) above sea level. It generally takes between 7-8 hours to complete the hike.

Laguna Torre Hike

Laguna Torre

This is another bucket-list lake hike at El Chaltén. To get there you’ll follow an 11 mile (18 km) loop trail that typically takes between 4-5 hour to complete. It’s a popular day hike that attracts all kinds of folks, from trekkers to backpackers to campers, mostly due to the fact this scenic trail isn’t too taxing. Of course, once you arrive at the stunning glacial lake, the real draw is the incredible view of the eastern face of Fitz Roy.

Loma del Pliegue Tumbado

The 12-mile (19 km) trail leading up to this group of three craggy peaks begins at the Ceferino Fonzo Visitors Center just south of El Chaltén. The roughly seven hour trip (out and back) will take you through scenic trails along open meadows. Once you reach the windy summit you’ll not only have great views of the peaks (each of which tops out at over 4,265 feet/1,300 m), but you’ll also enjoy splendid vistas out over the Río Túnel Valley. This route is a bit off the tourist trail, which is great if you want all that Patagonian beauty to yourself.

Laguna Capri Hike

Laguna Capri

For a relatively quick turnaround, head out on this 5.5-mile (9.5 km) hike that takes an average of just over three hours to complete. It begins in El Chaltén on the same trail to Laguna de Los Tres (Sendero al Fitz Roy) but forks off after the first hour. On this route, you’ll pass miradors (natural viewpoints) overlooking the river valley and native forest on your way up to the azure blue lagoon, whose waters turn crystalline at the shoreline. Once there, enjoy the wide panoramic frame of the lake with the jagged ridges of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre rising above it.

Chorillo del Salto

Chorillo del Salto

One of the best waterfall hikes in El Chaltén is also one of the quickest. The trailhead off Route 41 north of town runs just over a single kilometer and you can finish it in about 15 minutes—even with the family in tow (but you can also choose a longer route beginning in El Chaltén). After passing through scenic lenga forest, you’ll arrive at the base of Chorillo del Salto, an awe-inspiring waterfall that plunges 65 feet (20 m) over cliffs into a shimmering pool. The best time to visit is in spring and summer when the Magellanic orchids are in bloom.

Huemul Circuit

Huemul Circuit

If you really want to test your mettle, then this multi-day circuit is for you. It’s a 41-mile (66-km) loop that typically takes 4-5 days to complete and is great for campers, nature lovers, and birders (keep an eye out and you might just glimpse a condor). Among other highlights, this circuit will take you to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, where you can watch glacier ice calve into the icy waters of Lake Viedma.

Tours: Are you looking for a guided or self guided trek in El Chalten? Or seeking the perfect travel itinerary for your time in Argentina? Reach out to our travel experts for help with your trip planning here.