El Chalten Argentina: Argentinas Hiking Capital

Previous to this, I had trekked 5 days through Torres del Paine followed by a few days hiking around Tierra del Fuego.  Needless to say, both my shoes and toes were a bit worn by the time I arrived in El Chalten, Argentina. Exiting the bus station, I looked up and saw that this little village was sandwiched between 2 massive mountain walls.  I knew right then that my feet were in for just a little more abuse. The sign stating ‘hiker’s capital of Argentina’ also helped too.

el chalten national park

The afternoon I arrived, the weather was a bit inclement.  Most people’s hikes were rained out and the mountain passes were closed so I happily used the day to prepare for my next day’s hike, eat some pizza, and collect a few hiking buddies (not difficult as that is only thing to do in El Chalten).

hiking in los glaciers park

The sun was shining the next morning.  The first trek of the El Chalten adventure I was taking was the famous ‘Laguna de los Tres’ and its stunning view of Mount Fitz Roy. Instead of making this trek as an out and back from El Chalten itself (the town is actually in Los Glaciares National Park), we opted to take a transfer to another trail and hike 25km from point A to B, passing through the Laguna de los Tres mirador.

los glaciers national park trail

The start of the trek was pretty easy, it was relatively flat and shaded and provided sweeping views of Mount Fitz Roy in the background.

trekking to mount fitz roy

It was easy walking for a few hours so we took our time, taking some photos and enjoying a pretty good lunch break in one of the camp sites. No hike is complete without my salami sandwich lunch. After lunch, we geared up and headed out of camp, towards the mirador.  This involved a one hour long hike upwards. This part of the hike was open to the elements and involved crossing a couple rivers, flowing with delicious, potable, glacier fed water.

crossing glaciers in el chalten national park

The ascent to the mirador was steep, but not overly difficult, and packed with people. It was like a highway through the mountains, clearly marked and with people heading in both directions. We hiked it slowly and steadily, taking little to no breaks.  When we finally arrived at ‘Laguna de los Tres’ we were greeted with one of the most stunning views Patagonia offers.

trail to tres lagunas el chalten

We then enjoyed a couple of hours climbing around the mirador and the Tres Lagunas. With aqua coloured lakes, hanging glaciers, and the beautiful Mt. Fitz Roy in the background, it could not have been a better day.

mount fitz roy los glaciers national park Argentina

When we finally deemed our time at the mirador was complete (trying to get back in the daylight) we headed back down the mountain through the camp and towards the ‘Laguna Capri’. This section of the walk had us traversing through flat marshy areas, open to the hot sun with Fitz Roy still in the background.

posing in front of mount fitz roy argentina

Laguna Capri was a nice mountain lake where many hikers stopped to take a quick snack break and maybe even a brave swim.

laguna capri el chalten argentina

After a short break, it was time to return home and so we headed down the trail towards El Chalten. The end of the trail was easy, busy, and predominantly downhill. As we could see the little town of El Chalten creeping up in the distance with the sun gently setting, my feet were cheering, we were almost home.

view of the city of el chalten

A good Argentinian steak dinner later, I went to bed as 7:00 would come early and I had another 21km trek to complete.

grande glacier el chalet argetina

Laguna Torre, Grande Glacier, and Cerro Torre was next on my trekkers list. Limping as I started, I thought, this was going to be a long, sore day.  We left at 7:30 in the morning heading upwards towards our first mirador. The initial stages of the trek was probably the hardest part, mostly uphill and with a rocky uneven path. The first hour had us sweating profusely. We stopped at the beautiful mirador which provided a sweeping view of Cerro Torre for a water break and snack.

hiking in los glaciers national park Argentina

The path grew to be just a little easier after that, my hiking buddy (who I had picked up the day before) and I casually chatted for a couple hours as we walked on a gentle slope up, through forested areas and open air.

the trail to mount fitz roy argentina

A few hours later, we could finally see it. The Glacier was within sight, not far out of reach. We ate our lunch just beside the lake which was fed by the Glacier Grande, enjoying the stunning view it provided. Post lunch, we started climbing up to the highest and also the closest point to the glacier in hopes of procuring better views.

grande glacier in los glaciers national park el chalten argentinav

grande glacier el chalten argentina

This path was not marked, it was more like a free for all climb, make your own route. So we did. Our own route turned out to be a reasonable, safe distance from the glacier with exceptional viewing.  We stayed here for another couple hours, just enjoying the fruits of our labour.

grande glacier el chalten hike argentina

Again we were forced to head home, not because we wanted to, but because the sun would soon set. The trail is an out and back and so we took the same trail home as we did getting there. A solid number of hours later, we limped back into El Chalten, ready for a warm shower, a good dinner, and a well-deserved rest.

grande glacier in patagonia

I loved El Chalten.  There were at least another 3 or 4 half a day hikes available to do. These travel to other beautiful view points in Los Glaciers National Park. The town itself is cool, quiet and quaint, locked in a valley with a view of beautiful Mount Fitz Roy.  A vista which never ceased to amaze me.

mount fitz roy view


hiking in El Chalten


    1. The geography of Argentina is sooo diverse from Deserts to mountains to Iguacu, you have got to check it out one day 🙂

  1. This was such a beautiful hike, the scenery and the landscape. It seems pretty open though, seems like it could get either really cold or really hot

    1. it was super beautiful! and yes! I actually did get some sun burn on these walks, and when the wind whips through the open bits its like WOAHHHH…ok so its wind burn sun burn…but those are things that I can handle for a view of Mt. Fitz Roy

    1. This is actually a great walk for most people. It is only moderately difficult, and you can do it as a day hike which means you do not need a heavy trekking backpack..but it provides some crazy vistas that you will not forget…don’t be afraid by the number of kilometers 😛

  2. I´m sure you feet are tired but super happy!!
    Argentina is a stunning country and the mountains perfect for hiking. Love your photos and really admire your strength to do so many consecutive days of hiking. Well done!

    1. Ahhh, when I finally finished all the treks that I wanted to do…I got myself a massive and fancy parradilla, a hot shower, and watched movies in a hostek bed for 48 hours straight ahahah.

  3. Loving those photos and the chance to see one of the few parts of Argentina we wanted to visit, but did not (El Chalten was buried in waist deep snow when we were in that part of the world).

    Something for next time I guess!

    1. Ahhh when did you go? you must have been during winter? You brave souls! Hopefully you can return some day soon during the summer and get a chance to see this area of Argentina! Its so beautiful?

  4. Such a long hike but it’s worth it in the end! The Glacier! Wow, such a beautiful sight. I haven’t try trekking yet but hoping I’ll get to do that one day, including biking for miles too!

    1. I actually think El Chalten is a great place to start trekking too. Because they are decently long, and you can do them as either a day hike, or camp if you want to take it easy

  5. Thanks for the memories. We loved El Chalten. It is a serious hiking town. The place we stayed ahad a hot tub and you could soak away in the evening to get ready for the next day. It’s some of the best hiking in the world!

    1. hahaha look slike you beat me…I had a cold shower waiting for me at the end of my hikes…but I still loved it 🙂

  6. Wow! Those mountains are absolutely breathtaking. A few of those photos look like they’re right out of a disney film! Good on you for doing so many days of hiking, impressive stuff. AND for having conversations on the way up… I think i’d need to concentrate on my breathing ;). Great posts… definitely added to my list. Although I may have to do some training before hand!


    1. ahah I feel like a pro photographer here! but jokes on me, the only reason these photos are good is because THEY CANT BE BAD…so I guess I just beat the system. I am sure you could make everyone of these hikes, just take your time and really try to embrace the nature.

    1. ahhh that blue colour melts my heart and takes my breath away almost every time. I guess vistas like these are one of the reasons you guys ended up in B.C. eh?

    1. It is actually one of the most stunning landscapes I have seen, so the hike was defo worth it. we also had really nice weather and a great group which made it just that much better….I am sure you could last through the hikes and you will when you get there 🙂

    1. AHAH we did have a lot of fun on that walk. The bridges all said ‘only 1 person at a time’ and so we always crossed together ahaha. The TEFL market I am not quite sure. its a pretty expensive country to live in, and never see it on ‘good places to teach English to make money” lists… but I am sure if you just want to experience Argentina, there are TEFL jobs and schools out there

  7. Such a beautiful region! I was close by a few years ago, but never had an opportunity to explore the mountains. Your photos are making me more determined to go back than I was before!

    1. Ahh I can understand…Argentina is a bit large ahaha… I havent been to the north yet and so I am determined to go there, so I guess we can switch places now 🙂

  8. Wow, Kim! Looks like you’re having a lot of fun in South America! I lived in Argentina for a year and now moved to Peru (yeah, South America is making it hard for me to leave). If you are in Peru, please feel free to get in touch!

    1. hey! Yes I love life in South America… it seems like we have that in common. ahah I moved there about a year and a half ago (actually initially it was a 3 week trip) and I just fell in love with the people, the places, and how free it made me feel. I am having a bit of trouble leaving too 😛 I was living in Chile and then this year moved up to Colombia. Visiting home now but will be back this fall again 🙂 I am sure at some point our paths could cross and how cool would that be!

  9. Wow! Those mountains are amazing! I love nature and would love to go back again to Argentina as the first time just went to Perito Moreno. It seems like El Chalten is now on my bucket list!

    1. ahh yess, Argentina is amazing…but I can totally understand having to go back again and again because its such a massive place and you need a lot of time to see all the places around, especially when some of those places take a few days walk

    1. you have to do it some day! But save a lot of time because there is so muc to do and see, and the travel space between is BIG. ahaha ye ol’ 34 hour bus

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