Trekking Trails to the Fitz Roy from El Chalten
El Chaltèn is the gate to enjoy different trekkings in the area of Fitz Roy Massif. And the king there is the Firz Roy Mount. A mountain in Patagonia, on the border between Argentina and Chile.
It is located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, near El Chaltén village and Viedma lake. It was first climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone. A bit of history about this incredible mountain. Now, what you can do here? Many options are available. But what`s important is to choose the most suitable for you. Take a look to the different trekkings in the area of Fitz Roy Mount
Trekking trails to the Fitz Roy, from El Chalten
Easy options. Up to 2 hours of trekking activity in Fitz Roy Massif
First: If you are not used to walking in the mountains or if you doubt of your physical condition it is highly recommended that you start doing short walks before undertaking hikes of longer Length:
Trekking to Cascada Margarita
2 hours, easy difficulty
From El Chaltén in the way to Laguna Torre footpath and after a small climb enter a small forest composed mainly of Ñires Trail. In a few minutes you will be under the protection of the forest, on a very comfortable trail with a very gentle slope.
The path starts to gain height and straighten up alongside the course of the Fitz Roy river until you arrive at a natural viewpoint elevated on a cliff edge over the river. The panorama from this viewpoint presents to the west the valley of the Fitz Roy river and its serpentine course in the background, framed by the unique Mount Solo on the left, the backdrop of the Adela range and the impressive Mount Torre, and on the right you can see the Mount Fitz Roy. Just across the river canyon you can see the Margarita waterfall. If you have additional time, it is worth continuing on the trail for an hour more until arriving at Mount Torre viewpoint, one of the two most spectacular lookouts in the area.
Trekking to Los Condores and Las Aguilas
2 hours, easy difficulty
Starting from El Chaltén, you cross over the access bridge of the Fitz Roy river and then continue along to the trailhead starting at the National Park Visitors' Centre. After a short walk you cross a small gate with a sign indicating the way to the left, and a few steps further you will see a second sign showing you the trail plan. From here it will be another half hour until you reach the Los Cóndores viewpoint. This footpath is relatively new since it has been opened in 2004. It is well signposted and on its way, you will find several informative signs that will let you appreciate the landscape around you.
As its name indicates, the viewpoint is strategically located for the eventual observation of condors in their frequent flight between the valleys of the De las Vueltas river and the Fitz Roy river. Furthermore, it is an excellent alternative for admiring the impressive granite peaks and glaciers dominating the horizon. Contemplating the sunset from this viewpoint can be a great farewell from El Chaltén. The trail to the Las Águilas viewpoint begins at the signposted bifurcation about ten minutes before arriving at the Los Cóndores viewpoint. This short trail has a gentle slope and as you go along you will discover the great Viedma lake on the horizon. The viewpoint is a natural balcony with a panoramic view over the steppe and the Viedma lake to the south, the Cerro Huemul to the west and the Cerro Piramide to the east.
Chorrillo del Salto
2 hours, easy difficulty
This pleasant trek is perfect for the first contact with the natural environment of El Chaltén, you walk through a forest area in a footpath with no difficulty. At the end of the trail, a lovely waterfall and its stream invite you to take a break for contemplation at the shelter of the native forest. The trail begins in El Chaltén, at the end of Av. San Martín, on the same trailhead towards Laguna De Los Tres; You must take the path going to the right. In a short time, the trail ascends, and immediately after it descends until you reach the unpaved route that leads to the Lago del Desierto (Provincial Route 41). Shortly after you will find a signpost on your right-hand side indicating the entrance to the “Bicisenda”(bike trail) -a path exclusively for cycling, do not enter- and after a few minutes more, you will see another signpost to your left indicating that the path to the Chorrillo del Salto continues crossing the low forest of Ñires entering the foothill area again.
In the last section of the trail, you enter only on foot, it is forbidden to enter with bicycles. This beautiful footpath is completely flat, between low trees. The distant sound of the waterfall anticipates that you are approaching the end of the route. At the side of the trees you will find, according to the season, different flowers of the local vegetation, such as the beautiful Magellanic orchid. The waterfall is on the last leg of the Arroyo del Salto before it flows into the De las Vueltas river. The total distance of this trek is less than 4 km from El Chaltén.
Easy to moderated options. Up to 5 hours of trekking activity in Fitz Roy Massif
Cerro Torre Viewpoint (Mirador del Cerro Torre)
4 hours, easy to moderated difficulty
This viewpoint is halfway towards Laguna Torre. There are two trailheads starting from El Chaltén which merge within 5 minutes walk. In a small Ñire wood you will find a signpost with a plan of the route with times, distances, and recommendations for you to take into account before continuing. The trail begins entering the valley with a gentle ascend in the shade of the first Lengas, and very soon straighten up alongside the Fitz Roy river canyon where the Margarita viewpoint is located. From here you have a panoramic view of Mount Solo, the Adela range, Mount Torre, and Mount Chaltén, and on the other side of the river, you will see the Margarita waterfall.
The footpath continues through the native forest, following the course of the Fitz Roy River. After an hour and a half walking you will arrive at the Mount Torre viewpoint, you will find a signpost of the National Park describing the incomparable view in front of you: the magnificent view of the Adela range, the Mount Torre, and the granite needles around.
Trekking to Capri Lagoon (Laguna Capri)
5 hours, easy to moderated difficulty
The trail begins at the end of San Martin Avenue, where the urban area of El Chaltén ends and the car park and the National Parks dome are located. During the first hour of trekking, the slope is fairly steep until you reach the natural viewpoint of the De las Vueltas river valley. After a few minutes, you enter the Del Salto stream valley towards Mount Fitz Roy. As the Ñires begin to be more and more numerous around the trail and about an hour and a half later, you will find a signposted bifurcation that indicates the footpath to Laguna Capri (to the left) and towards the viewpoint of Mount Fitz Roy and Laguna de Los Tres (to the right). From the lagoon, you will have a unique view of the Fitz Roy massif and its surrounded needles, a place that invites you to stay; one of the classic postcards of El Chaltén. If you have an additional 30 to 40 minutes, you can not miss the Mirador del Fitz Roy, a well-signposted natural rocky viewpoint, with a sign that allows you to interpret the mountains and the glacial landscape which appears before your eyes.
Moderated options. Full-day trekking activity in Fitz Roy Massif
Trekking to Torre Lagoon (Laguna Torre)
8 hours, moderated difficulty
From El Chaltén there are two head trails to Laguna Torre; both paths merge within 5 minutes walk. The trail enters the valley of the Fitz Roy River and follows up alongside the stream to its source. At only 15 minutes walk you will access the first viewpoint located at the gorge of the Fitz Roy river which offers an impressive panoramic view of the Cerro Solo, Adela range, Cerro Torre, and Mount Fitz Roy. Across the river canyon lies the Margarita waterfall. Halfway through the path, you will reach a natural viewpoint with magnificent panoramic views of the Adela range, Cerro Torre, and the satellite granite needles. Finally, the trail crosses the De Agostini base camp where it is possible to spend the night in your tent. Leaving behind the campground, the path continues towards the frontal moraine, which ascends until reaching its crest after walking for 15 minutes. From there it is possible to go down to the Torre lagoon or to continue along the same ridge for another 2 km to the Maestri viewpoint. This lagoon tends to group numerous icebergs on its shore which has fallen off from the front face of the Grande glacier. The mountains are always seen from the West, so they are directly illuminated by the sun only in the morning. You will achieve the best photographs at sunrise when the color of the granite walls becomes saturated for a few minutes and the sunlight reach them for the first time. This picture is reserved only for those who stay overnight in the De Agostini campground waiting for that magical moment with a camera ready for when the sun comes up.
Trekking to Laguna de los Tres
9 hours, moderated difficulty
The trailhead begins at the end of Avenida San Martín, where the urban area of El Chaltén ends and the car park is located. During the first hour of trekking, the path ascends steeply up to a natural viewpoint of the valley of the De las Vueltas river. The trail continues up along the Del Salto stream entering the valley towards Mount Fitz Roy. As the ñires become more numerous along the way, approximately an hour and a half later you will reach a well-marked natural rocky viewpoint with a sign that allows you to interpret the whole unforgettable landscape. The path follows always up along the Del Salto stream to the drainage area of Laguna Madre e Hija. Four hours ahead from the starting point you will arrive at Poincenot Base Camp (the most popular campsite in the National Park) and after crossing the Blanco River, you will reach its base camp (for climbers only). From here the path ascends steeply for approximately 400 meters until arriving to Laguna de Los Tres, which will require more than an hour of effort. The trail finishes at the ridge of the old frontal moraine of the De Los Tres Glacier (enormous formation in the shape of an arch that currently contains the lagoon, formed by the action of the advance and subsequent glacial retreat) with an extraordinary view of the lagoon and De los Tres Glacier. This is the closest view to the granite wall of Mount Fitz Roy and the surrounding peaks. If you make the effort to arrive at sunrise, the prize will be double, since you will be able to witness the extraordinary moment when the hills are dyed red with the first rays of the sun. Going down the moraine, and skirting the lagoon to its natural draining point, you will find a path heading towards another breathtaking viewpoint: the desolate Laguna Sucia and its hanging glaciers. Although access to this viewpoint is possible all year round, from April to October it will vary depending on the accumulation of snow on the trail, especially in its final stretch.
Trekking to Pliegue Tumbado
8 hours, moderated difficulty
The trail starts at the National Park Ceferino Fonzo Visitors` Centre, where a small fence indicates two paths: to the left, the trail goes to Los Cóndores and Las Águilas viewpoints, and to the right towards Pliegue Tumbado and Laguna Toro / Paso del Viento. This trail maintains an ascending slope of approximately 1100 meters in total (3,610 miles), until reaching the viewpoint located at about 1500 meters (4,920 feet) above sea level. Due to its height, the absence of trees, and the total exposure to the wind, you should go prepared with a windproof jacket and warm clothes since a small snowfall is not uncommon even in the middle of summer.
Having walked for about an hour, the trail crosses a plain called “Pampa De las Carretas”, from where you can appreciate the impressive Mount Huemul, the Viedma lake to the south and the whole imposing Andes to the northwest where Mount Torre and Mount Chaltén stand out. The trail then enters a beautiful forest until reaching an altitude of approximately 1000 meters above sea level, where the landscape changes abruptly: the trees turn to bushes and scrubby vegetation, and among the many stones on the way it is possible to find the remains of marine fossils which are bout 100 million years old. The last part of the trail fades away but it is still marked with yellow sticks until you reach the top of the Pliegue Tumbado -which can be snowed and if this is the case it is not recommended to continue- with an extraordinary panoramic view.
Tours including El Chalten and Fitz Roy Massif
We have many tours to visit Patagonia, and of course El Chalten and the Fitz Roy Massif area. Take a look at some of the suggested tours to visit the area:
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