El Chaltén

El Chaltén – the hiking paradise

El Chaltén is – with about 1627 inhabitants – a very small town in Patagonia, in the south of Argentina. Even though the place itself does not have much to offer, there is more and more tourism, as El Chaltén offers the most direct access to the mountain massifs of the Cerro Torre and the Fitz Roy. Both mountains are located within the Los Glaciares National Park, which is the Argentinean equivalent of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The park covers an area of over 4,400 square kilometers and borders directly on the Torres del Paine. In addition, it has been a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site since 1981.

El Chaltén is the trekking capital of Argentina and a perfect starting point for beautiful hikes!

View of the village El Chaltén

There are regular bus connections from El Calafate, among others. However, we drove with our own rental car, which worked out wonderfully, because the road is fully developed. With the own car it takes about four hours.

Even the drive to El Chaltén is a highlight and worth the one or other photo stop.

Already the way to El Chaltén is absolutely beautiful because of the amazing skyline of the Los Glaciares National Park and the view of Mount Fitzroy.

We were in El Chaltén for two and a half days and did a hiking tour to the Laguna Torre, one to the Laguna de los Tres at the foot of the Fitz Roy and a short one to Mirador Los Cóndores and Mirador Las Águilas.

View of the skyline of Los Glaciares National Park on our way to El Chaltén

Laguna Torre – Close to the Cerro Torre

20 kilometers, 300 hm, 6 hours – simple/medium

The distance to the beautiful Laguna Torre is about 10 kilometers but the difference in altitude is just 300 meters. Therefore, the tour is a great way to get started.

To find the start of the trail ‘Sendero Laguna Torre’, you orientate yourself at the Hotel Los Cerros, a big brown box on a hill. From there on you just follow the trail.

Stephan at the Hiking trail to Laguna Torre. We just started in El Chaltén
Hiking trail to Laguna Torre with the Cerro Torre in the background
Stephan and I sitting in front of Laguna Torre. Access from El Chaltén

Laguna de los Tres – the Fitz Roy in sight

26 kilometers, 900 hm, 8 hours – medium to difficult

Besides the hike to Laguna Torre, the hike to Laguna de Los Tres is one of the most popular hikes at El Chaltén. As a result, you won´t be alone on the trail. The best way to get ahead is to start early and to be on the way before the big crowd is.

The start is at the end of the Avenida San Martín, thus at the back of El Chaltén. For warming up, the first thing to do is to go uphill.

View of Mount Fitz Roy from far away with forest in the foreground

After the first effort, you now have some time to regenerate, as the path is mostly flat and very easy to walk. Those who find the last ascend to the Laguna de Los Tres too exhausting can look for a nice place to stay on the plateau and enjoy the view from a distance.

The last two kilometers were hell, but in the end worth the effort

Those who are looking for a sportive challenge will climb another 460 meters of altitude difference during the last 2 kilometers and will be rewarded with a picturesque view after approximately one hour.

On the way back you can make a detour to Laguna Capri and let your soul dangle on the shore of the lake before going back to El Chaltén.

Stephan on his way to Laguna de los Tres. We started at El Chaltén
View of Mount Fitz Roy with frozen Laguna de los Tres. Access from El Chaltén

Mirador Los Cóndores and Mirador Las Águilas

4 kilometers, 100 hm, 2 hours – easy

We started at the visitor centre at the beginning of the village. Already after about 30 minutes we reached the Mirador Los Cóndores, where you have a beautiful view of EL Chaltén. The Mirador Las Águilas, however, is one kilometer further on. From this overlook you can see the Lago Viedma.

The view to the Fitz Roy is grandiose, but also the Cerro Torre can be seen. During this hiking tour, you get offered a lot for little effort. In total, the complete hiking tour takes approximately 2 hours.

Wide Angle view from Mirador Las Águilas with Stephan
View of Mount Fitz Roy from Mirador Las Águilas

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