Patagonia in the south of Argentina is a hiker’s dream. From the zigzagging steeples of the mountains crowned with sparkling glaciers to raging waterfalls cascading into brilliantly blue glacial lakes, the hiking opportunities and unforgettable sights in Argentina’s Patagonia are simply endless. Hiking in Argentina’s Patagonia is one of the most spell-binding travel experiences with numerous routes to suit all levels.
One thing is for sure when going hiking in Argentina’s Patagonia is that your camera shutter-finger is in for an intensive workout!
With so many nooks and crannies to explore, we’ve narrowed down a list of our favorite treks and hiking experiences in the stunning Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate and El Chalten in Argentina’s region of Patagonia.
♦ Perito Moreno Mini-Trekking, El Calafate
Estimated Time: 9-10hrs tour / Difficulty: Moderate / Highlight: Exploring the surface of Perito Moreno Glacier
Taking a tour of Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate in the Los Glaciares National Park is more than just a hiking experience. Following the drive into the National Park from your accommodation in El Calafate, your expert guide will take you for a walk along the Magallanes Peninsula where you’ll have your first view of the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier and Lake Rico. Having enjoyed the view from afar it is time to have one of the most unique experiences in Argentina’s region of Patagonia as your professional guide helps you put on your crampons to begin exploring the surface of the Perito Moreno glacier.
During the approximate 2 hour mini-trek on top of Perito Moreno, you’ll be able to see the incredible wonders of this icy landscape from its hidden waterfalls of glacial melt water to deep crevasses and glistening lakes.
Your Perito Moreno experience doesn’t end there as you board a boat for a cruise across Lake Rico where you’ll be able to see and hear huge blocks of ice breaking off and falling into the waters of the lake making for incredible photos. Due to the strenuous nature of the Perito Moreno mini-trekking excursion, travelers under the age of 10 and above the age of 65 are not allowing to take part in the mini-trekking excursion.
♦ Laguna Capri hike, El Chalten
Approx. Length: 3.8 miles / Estimated Time: 3-4hrs return / Difficulty: Easy / Highlight: Short with stunning viewpoints
The trail to Laguna Capri is the perfect introduction to trekking in Patagonia and for those travelers with limited time in El Chalten or looking to go on a quick afternoon hike on the day of arrival. Often overlooked for the more challenging or lengthy routes, the hike is short but full of breath-taking views.
Leaving along the trail towards the north of El Chalten, you’ll immediately be welcomed by the stunning scenery along the scenic Rio de las Vueltas.
Continuing along the trail, you’ll arrive at a junction where a short walk down the right-hand track will lead you to another viewpoint where depending on the visibility that day, you should be able to catch your first glimpse of the 11,171ft. tall Mount Fitz Roy. Returning back to the junction you should now follow the left-hand route that will take you down to the lake. Depending on the color of the sky, the beautiful lake will appear either deep blue or slate gray. You can then take a leisurely stroll back to El Chalten along the same route you came, and enjoy a heart-warming homemade hot chocolate in one of the village cafes.
♦ Laguna Torre hike, El Chalten
Approx. Length: 12.5 miles / Estimated Time: 7-8hrs return / Difficulty: Moderate / Highlight: The spire of Cerro Torre
The Laguna Torre hike is perhaps the most popular day hike in El Chalten as it provides a great balance between its level of ease and being longer than the Laguna Capri hike. A number of trails leave from the western side of El Chalten into a beautiful Patagonia beech forest but don’t worry about which one to take as they all join up after about an hour’s walk at a viewpoint.
From the enticing ‘mirador‘ (lookout) you’ll see the other imposing mount of El Chalten known as Cerro Torre, which rises up 10,262ft.
Continuing along the trail, follow the scenic Rio Fitz Roy until you reach the glistening Laguna Torre. We recommend continuing for another hour along the northern shore of the lake to reach Mirador Maestri as the view of Cerro Torre’s spire is the best from here.
♦ Laguna de los Tres hike, El Chalten
Approx. Length: 13.2 miles / Estimated Time: 9-10hrs return / Difficulty: Moderate-High / Highlight: Best views of Fitz Roy
Hiking to Laguna de los Tres which is often referred to as the base camp of Mount Fitz Roy, gives you arguably one of the best views in all of the Los Glaciares National Park. The ‘Tres’ refers to the three peaks of Mount Fitz Roy, Mount Poincenot and Cerro Torre that you’ll be able to see along the way. As a long, full day of walking, we recommending starting at dawn to be able to enjoy the peace and tranquility of your surroundings as the morning sun rise. With a large sign in the north-west of El Chalten, the start is difficult to miss and you will soon find out that the only way is up!
Enjoy the spectacular view and a quick rest after a fairly steep climb soaking up the unrestricted views across the magnificent landscape.
Following the signs for Poincenot where after crossing the campsite, over some small rivers and a welcoming flat section of the trail you will be ready for the final ascent. This is the steepest part of the trail and once you reach the top of the ascent you will be entertained by the three breath-taking peaks of Fitz Roy, Torre and Poincenot as well as the Laguna de los Tres while enjoying your lunch if the conditions permit. Before descending along the route that you came, make sure to take one last look at what is without a doubt the closest and best view of Mount Fitz Roy and the surrounding peaks.