Reasons to go trekking in Los Glaciares

  • Step out of your El Chaltén hotel and straight onto a network of day hiking trails in the shadow of the Fitz Roy Massif
  • Hike the famous Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Torre routes to unparalleled mountain viewpoints
  • Get off the beaten track and over a series of mountain passes on multi-day camping treks to the wild mountain pass and epic ice field glaciers of the Huemul Circuit
  • Truly challenge yourself on a traverse of the awesome Southern Patagonian Ice Field

Our Favourite Treks from El Chaltén

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Laguna de los Tres

Laguna de Los Tres is the hike to do in Los Glaciares National Park. Coined “the hike to the logo,” this route takes you to the lookout for Fitz Roy, the mountain that gives its outline to the Patagonia brand.

Route Distance

20km | 12.4 miles

Route Elevation

+804m | 2,638ft

Route Length

8-9hrs

Huemul Circuit

One of the best and most challenging multi-day treks in Los Glaciares National Park. Windy mountain passes, steep terrain, but your rewards are some of the best views of Viedma Glacier and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

Route Distance

55km | 34 miles

Route Elevation

+2191m | 7188ft

Route Length

4 days

Loma del Pliegue Tumbado

Loma del Pliegue Tumbado is the best way to get off the beaten track in Los Glaciares. This hike is a favourite of local guides’ and gives you the zoomed out perspective of the entire mountain range.

Route Distance

20km | 12.4 miles

Route Elevation

+1,084m | 3,556ft

Route Length

8-9hrs

Ice Field Expedition

This is more than just a trekking adventure, this is an expedition style trip. Looping around the Los Glaciares Massif with Fitz Roy towering above you. You’ll sleep at the feet of Cerro Torre and enjoy a few days of the Huemul Circuit as you exit by the Viedma Glacier.

Route Distance

68km | 42 miles

Route Elevation

+2128m | 6982ft

Route Length

8 days

Laguna Torre

Cerro Torre is the most popular out-and-back hike from town, with an initial ascent to the first viewpoint and then a moderate, undulating path to the iceberg-filled waters of laguna Torre.

Route Distance

18km | 11.2 miles

Route Elevation

+382m | 1,253ft

Route Length

7-8hrs

Piedra del Fraile

A beautiful hike that takes you a little more off the beaten path than others in the region. Stunning mountain views throughout the hike and a great route for avoiding the crowds.

Route Distance

6.5km | 4 miles

Route Elevation

+68m | 223ft

Route Length

2hrs

There’s so much more to El Chaltén and Los Glaciares National Park. You have so much history and culture - the pioneers, the climbers - and you can still feel that in El Chaltén today. You’ve got famous mountaineers, famous climbers and they’re walking the same streets that someone going for their very first trek is also walking.

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Meet Sarah Patagonia Trekking Expert

What's special about hiking in Los Glaciares?

View of Fitz Roy massif with Los Glaciares national park sign in foreground

Viewpoint to the Fitz Roy Massif

Los Glaciares is undoubtedly one of Patagonia's best hiking destinations. The park is formed of the same mountain chain divided between Argentina and Chile. On the other side of the border, and a day's travel away, it finds its mirror image in Torres del Paine, but Los Glaciares offers visitors a quite contrasting experience.

From El Chaltén in the heart of the park, you can walk straight out of your hotel onto a host of easy day trips, hiking under the shadows of Mount FitzRoy and Cerro Torre into some truly amazing mountain scenery, with wild mountain peaks towering high above you, along with beautiful glaciers, sparkling lakes and native beech forest.

There are even more opportunities for those wanting to hike further. The South Patagonian Ice Field extends deep into the park, allowing incredible multi-day treks where you can or reach the ice cap's edge to marvel at its vastness or brave an expedition across its extreme windswept terrain.

Legend has it than anyone who eats the berries of the Calafate shrub that grows along the trails here will surely return to Patagonia, and after hiking in such amazing scenery we're sure you'll want to devour as many as you can.

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Harriet says

When Mount Fitz Roy appeared out of the clouds where I would have expected to see sky, my jaw dropped – no wonder the Tehuelche people here worshipped this peak!

Harriet Pike Head of Swoop Patagonia

Types of hiking in Los Glaciares

Day hikes

El Chaltén is pocket-sized mountain town tucked under the Fitz Roy Massif. From here you can walk straight from your hotel onto a superb network of trails that lead to some of Patagonia’s most amazing views. 

The most celebrated routes are undoubtedly Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre, both of which get you up close to FitzRoy and Cerro Torre, the national park’s iconic peaks, as well as some exquisite glacial lakes.

Other great day hikes include the dramatic panoramas of the Loma del Pliegue Tumbado route and the forested seclusion of the Los Huemules Reserve, along with a variety of shorter rambles for when you prefer to stick closer to town.

Multi-day treks

Los Glaciares has some incredible multi-day treks, giving you the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the national park over a number of days, exploring far away from the main trails.

At its simplest, the Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torres day hikes  can be stitched into a single overnight camping trip. But if you prefer to go wild, the four day Huemul Circuit trek gets you brilliantly deep into the park: ​​scaling two epic mountain passes, hiking alongside the ice field and camping next to an iceberg-strewn lake. 

For experienced hikers wanting to push themselves, the Los Glaciares Wilderness Trek spends five nights wild camping in some of the remotest corners of the park, hiking between two historic estancias through river valleys, forests and over mountain passes to Upsala Glacier.

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Tomas says

The trek to the roof of the ice field is tough, but the views are simply incredible – the whole Fitz Roy Massif is laid out before you. I felt like a tiny dot on an empty white canvas. It’s one of the most remarkable landscapes I’ve ever experienced.

Tomas Hernandez Patagonia Sales Consultant

Ice Field Hiking

Just the name of Los Glaciares National Park gives a strong clue to some of its most notable geographical features. This is a place where the world’s biggest ice field outside the polar regions spills out of the mountain.

There are two multi-day treks that can take you right up to the ice field. The Huemul Circuit has you climbing windy mountain passes to have you gaze down across the ice field’s near endless expanse, and hike alongside one of its glaciers.

But for those who really like to earn their ice, the South Patagonian Ice Field Expedition offers the chance to hike across its surface, donning crampons and sometimes roping up to cross crevasses and camp on the ice itself.

Hikers on the South Patagonian Ice Field

Crossing the South Patagonian Ice Field

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Swoop says

The famous viewpoints of Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Torre are mesmerising, but if you can, try to make time to get a little more off-the-beaten-track as well.

Explore more hikes in Los Glaciares

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What our customers think of Trekking in Los Glaciares

Trekking in Los Glaciares trips scored 4.4/5 from 343 reviews

There are multiple moments! This was the adventure of a life-time. Words can’t begin to describe just how incredible our 5 day trek in El Chaltén. Read the full review

Travelled: March 2023

Zeah Venitelli - USA

Swoop made it very easy for us to get the adventures started in Patagonia, and exactly what we needed for a very personalized and incredible experience. I would highly recommend for anyone who is going to Patagonia for the first time. Read the full review

Travelled: March 2023

Zeah Venitelli - USA

Seeing the Southern Ice Field and the Viedma Glacier from the Viento Pass. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Rick Devine - USA

El Chalten is special. Although a remote town, we (as outdoors people) felt at home with the vibe and the people. The popular hiking trails were well-maintained, but we were very glad to have our guide lead us on the lesser-travelled paths as there were areas we would have had a difficult time determining our way.

Travelled: November 2017

Sarah and Jason - Colorado, USA

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El Chalten was great, the main trail to Fitzroy is totally overcrowded even early in the season. Never the less it is worthwhile on the second day we took a trail far less travelled with stunning views from a bit further away and just a few people on the trail.

Travelled: November 2017

Georg and Katy - New York, USA

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The scenery is breathtaking everywhere: high jagged mountains covered with hanging glaciers, fantastic pinnacled ridges, from which huge screes fall to the timber line, imposing rock towers, enormous rounded granite bluffs, vast alluvial valleys with braided rivers, blue lakes and lagoons, precipitous gorges and water-courses.

Travelled: March 2017

Mark and Katie - UK

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Highlight was waking up to see Mt Fitz Roy, bathed in the glory of the morning sunrise, with a surreal deep golden reflection, in a cloudless blue sky. It happened to coincide with my brother's birthday, which was an added bonus, and a priceless birthday gift at the same time.

Travelled: January 2017

Parag - UK

Review:

Where to stay when hiking in Los Glaciares

El Chaltén

El Chaltén town is made for hikers. Its location under the FitzRoy Massif means you can step out of your hotel door and onto the trailheads, eat lunch beneath a hanging glacier and be back in time to swap stories with fellow hikers over a craft beer in the evening. If you want to take a break, kick back in its many cafes and bakeries or drop into a gear store to treat yourself to some new kit.

El Chaltén has a great variety of accommodation options, from simple guesthouses (hosterías) to B&Bs, alpine style lodges and upmarket hotels. There are even some seriously cosy luxury lodges and glamping options just outside the town if you want the very best to come back to after a day in the mountains.

El Chalten town sign with Mount Fitz Roy in the background

El Chaltén and the Fitz Roy Massif

Camping

The way to truly experience the best of Los Glaciares is to head out from town to spend at least one night sleeping under canvas.

Los Glaciares offers both organised and wild camping. The main site for the former is the riverside Poincenot campsite, which is conveniently situated to join together the two most popular day hikes of Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre. This permanent campsite has wonderful mountain views at both sunrise and sunset.

For multi-day hikes, wild camping is the order of the day. On many of these hikes, you’ll carry part of your tent and food with you, to allow you to head deep into the park. Some campsites are regularly used, others are dictated by the day’s weather conditions, but you’ll always be amid the most dramatic scenery.

Unlike Torres del Paine, there are no organised refugios on the trails in Los Glaciares.

Wild camping in Los Glaciares

FAQs about hiking in El Chaltén

  • How many days should I spend hiking in El Chaltén?

    The minimum that we recommend is three nights, so that you have a chance to do the two main day hikes and see the famous peaks. Five nights in El Chaltén, or doing a multi-day hike, means you are more likely to get a good sighting of the main views and enjoy some off the beaten track hikes. Experienced trekkers looking to really get under the skin should spend a week to ten days in the area.

  • Do I need to arrange a guide before I get to El Chaltén?

    A guide is not entirely necessary on the main trails, but is advisable. The guides are often local and extremely passionate about the area, keen to share their knowledge of the flora and fauna, and local history and culture. In peak season, guides book up ahead of time so it is advisable to book before you get to El Chaltén.

  • Where should I stay whilst hiking in El Chaltén?

    You can camp in the park or there are a wide range of different hotels in El Chaltén. See our El Chaltén Hotels page. 

  • Do I need to bring my own trekking equipment?

    El Chaltén has shops where you can buy new gear or rent gear. It is advisable to bring your own boots and rucksack because you are likely to get a much better fit than those on offer in El Chaltén. For technical treks, good quality gear is available form local trekking and mountaineering guides.

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Explore more of Los Glaciares

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