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Hiking in El Chaltén - Hiking El Chaltén - Argentina

The biggest attraction in El Chaltén is the wide web of hiking trails that weave around the base of the two giant massifs, Torre and Fitz Roy. There are three main circuits, each with a set of trails. The first is near the APN office, going to Mirador de las Águilas, Mirador de los Cóndores, Pliegue del Tumbado and Laguna Toro. The FitzRoy circuit includes hikes to Laguna Capri, Laguna de los Tres, Piedras Blancas, Poincenot and Río Blanco. The Cerro Torre zone has the Mirador del Torre, Laguna Torre and Mirador Maestri trails. Other trails include Chorrillo del Salto and Piedra del Fraile. At Lago del Desierto there are treks to Glaciar Huemul, Punta Norte and Lago O’Higgins. The Cañadón del Río de las Vueltas trail is closed.


Hiking isn’t just a spring-to-fall sport. In the winter some of these trails, like Laguna Capri, can be cross-country and alpine trek skied, or snowshoed. Ice climbers should head to Chorrillo del Salto. Hiring a guide is strongly recommended at this time of year.


The weather in El Chaltén can change at any moment. Be sure to have warm and rainproof clothing. A windbreaker is also essential, especially in summer. Carry high-energy food and water (though the stream water is potable). Use sturdy footwear. For day hikes, use a small backpack. Carry all trash out.


If camping, have a good, rain-resistant tent and camp stove. No wood fires are allowed. In the park, there are free campsites at Laguna Capri, Poincenot, De Agostini and Laguna Toro. Only climbers are allowed to use Campamento Río Blanco. There are private (pay) campgrounds at Piedra del Fraile and Lago del Desierto.


In spring and fall, check with APN about hiking conditions, in the event that bad weather has closed any trails. Registration with APN is required for the Laguna de los Tres, Laguna Piedras Blancas and Laguna Toro hikes (free permits), into any part of the park where there are no marked trails and for climbing. In winter, any excursion in the park must be likewise registered with the park service. Altitude sickness is not a problem when hiking here. Search and rescue is done by the APN, Club Andino and trained volunteers from the village. There is no helicopter; the nearest hospital with triage is in El Calafate.

El Chaltén, Argentina

Hiking Types:
National park

Relative price: Budget

Travel Skills: None

Here are other activities in and around El Chaltén that may be of interest: Miradores de los Cóndores y de las Águilas, Garganta del Río Fitz Roy, Lago Toro Hike, Piedras Blancas Hike, Laguna Capri Hike and Lago Viedma.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

22 Jul 2009

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