A Hiking Guide to Cerro Fitz Roy (Luguna De Las Tres) & El Chalten.
Hiking in El Chalten in Argentinian Patagonia is an unforgettable experience. Some of the treks here include the famous Cerro Fitz Roy Trek, Cerro Torre and the Huemul Circuit. These are some of the best trails in all of Patagonia, only rivaled by the O trek in Torres Del Paine. Hiking Cerro Fitz Roy and others in El Chalten is remarkably easy to organise. All of the hikes leave from the town center and don’t require any transportation other than your own legs to reach. And best of all they are free and don’t require any bookings. There are also numerous hikes to suit everybody. No matter your experience or ability. That is why El Chalten is known as the trekking capital of Argentina.
A Hiking Guide to El Chalten – the best easy day hikes
- Los Condores | 2 hours | easy
- Chorrillio Del Salto | 3 hours | easy
- Mirrador del Torre | 3-4 hours | easy
A Hiking Guide to El Chalten – the Best Longer Day hikes
- Laguna Capri | 4-5 hours | easy
- Cerro Fitz Roy Trek (Luguna De Las Tres) | 7-9 hours | moderate
- Cerro Torre Hike (Laguna Torre) | 6-8 hours | moderate
Hiking in El Chalten – Cerro Fitz Roy Overnight hiking options
The Huemul is a 4-day circuit that will take you up close to the Southern Patagonian Icefield. A sea of ice which really has to be seen to be believed. It has to be one of the most incredible sights I have ever witnessed. The hike itself is very remote and challenging. It should not be attempted without the experience and the necessary knowledge. You can read more about our experience hiking the Huemul Circuit here.
For the overnight Cerro Fitz Roy Trek you need to link together a few of the day hike trails. The route has two free campsites you have the option to stay at. You can choose to stay at both, taking 3 days to complete the circuit or just one, taking 2 days. It is also possible to hike this circuit in one long, tough day.
We chose to take 3 days, as we really wanted to enjoy the hike and not rush. This also gave us the option to see both Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre at sunrise or sunset.
Whatever option you choose I’d suggest walking in an anticlockwise direction. That way there will be more downhill than up, which is always a win.
Day 1 Cerro Fitz Roy Trek
Before leaving for any overnight hikes in El Chalten you need to register at the Visitors Center. After completing this, we left town around midday and then hiked the 4 kms to the first lookout – Laguna Capri. Here we were greeted with spectacular views of the Fitz Roy range. We had plenty of time, so we made some lunch and lazed in the sun before continuing on. It was only another hour of hiking before we arrived at camp – Camping Poincenot.
The campground is basic. There are a couple of long drop toilets and fresh drinking water is available from a nearby stream.
Wanting to make the most of the perfect weather, we decided to continue up to the Cerro Fitz Roy mirador that afternoon. Even though sunrise is what Fitz Roy is known for, we were glad that we didn’t waste the opportunity. Although the campsite was really busy, there were only two other people at the mirador along side us. We carried a pack with our cooker, things for dinner and a bottle of wine up with us and had an unforgettable dinner watching the sunset behind Cerro Fitz Roy. Afterwards we walked back down in the dark with head torches.
The trail to Fitz Roy leaves from the campground and it takes around 2 hours to walk the 3 km to the lookout as it very steep the whole way.
Day 2 Cerro Fitz Roy trek
We had original planned to see the sunrise at the Cerro Fitz Roy lookout. But because of the long daylight hours in Patagonia, we gave it a miss. If you do go up for sunrise I would recommend leaving your tent set up and packing it up after you return to camp. This will save you having to carry it all the way up and back down again, like we saw a lot of people doing.
We made our way to the next campground D’Agostini after a lazy morning sipping coffee and playing cards in the sun. For us it was an easy trail linking the two most popular day hikes in El Chalten. Coming from the other direction would be tougher as there’s a lot more uphill.
Only five minutes from the campground was the beautiful lake with Cerro Torre in the background. We spent the afternoon relaxing, enjoying the sun and the amazing view.
Day 3 Cerro Fitz Roy trek
On the third day we woke early for sunrise and planned to hike to the lookout. However, after a few people had mentioned to us that the view was actually better closer to the camp we decided to stay there. If you do walk all the way to the end you will get a better view of the glacier.
After a bit of breakfast we made our way back to El Chalten via the Mirador del Torre within a few hours.
Don’t feel like going alone to Cerro Fitz Roy
There are numerous tour companies and guides that you can book hikes with in El Chalten once you arrive. Or if you prefer to book in advance TourRadar is an online company that we recommend. They have lots of different options for every hiker and budget.
Where to stay in el chalten
- If you are after a little bit of well-deserved luxury after hiking in El Chalten, try the beautiful Los Cerros Boutique Hotel
- A great high – mid range option is Hosteria El Puma
- The best hostel in town is Aylen-Aike and for the penny pinches the cheapest is Hostel del Lago
- Or if you have a vehicle that you can sleep inside of there is free camping opposite the National Park Visitors Center.
How to get to el chalten
The nearest airport is in El Calafate which is 220kms away. You can book bus tickets for this route only a couple of months in advance at Chalten Travel here or if you are coming from Buenos Aires and other major towns bus tickets can be found at BusBud here.
Buses in Patagonia can be very expensive so a lot of travellers will hitch hike. It can get very competitive with many backpackers looking for rides in small towns, so plan to leave early.
Cerro Fitz Roy – Before you leave home
We use Travel Insurance Saver for our travel insurance. Trekking at high altitude is automatically included in all of their international policies.
Ruby & Josh
Two Lost Feet