This classic trek leads to spectacular sights of the Fitz Roy massif and features amazing views of mountains, glaciers, rivers, and lakes that reflect the magnificent beauty of Patagonia.

This 13 mile roundtrip hike begins in El Chalten, at the end of Avenida San Martín, the main street in town. Within the first 10-15 minutes, you should encounter a clearly marked sign for "Senda al Fitz Roy" ("Path to Fitz Roy") with park rules and information about points of interest.

From there, the trek continues about half a mile to Mirador Rio de las Vueltas (viewing point for Rio de las Vuletas). Before the 2.5 mile mark, the path diverges so that you may choose to pass Laguna Capri or Mirador Fitz Roy (one of many viewing points for Fitz Roy). We chose to go to Mirador Fitz Roy on our way in, and to stop by Laguna Capri on our way out. Mirador Fitz Roy features sweeping mid-range views of the Fitz Roy massif, perfect for photos of the mountain range with people and trees in the foreground. The diverged paths come together again around mile 5 as you pass Camp Poincenot, a campground for those who choose to hike Laguna de los Tres in more than one day.

Four hours from the starting point you will cross the Río Blanco. This is a good opportunity to fill your bottle up with refreshing glacial water from the river. (Since this trek is at the edge of the Southern Patagonian icefield, the snow and glaciers ultimately feed lagoons such as Laguna de los Tres and rivers such as the Rio Blanco.) You will also pass the Río Blanco base camp. From there the path becomes much more difficult as you ascend approximately a quarter mile. The last part is a steep slope that seems to have no end. The right technique is to take short steps and just keep moving. Watch your step carefully among the loose rocks. This is when trekking poles come in handy. Keep climbing until you arrive at Laguna de los Tres for imposing and unforgettable views of "los Tres," Mount Fitz Roy, the Poincenot and the Torre.

Many sources say this hike takes 8-10 hours, depending on your fitness level. It's a long trek but the impressive scenery and mystical Mount Fitz Roy make it worthwhile!

Tip: The weather can change quickly in Patagonia. In general, December and January are considered pretty windy. When we went in early January, however, it was hot and sunny. (Winter in the U.S. is summer in Patagonia.) I recommend checking the condition of the trail at the Visitors' Centre of Los Glaciares National Park located just before the entrance to El Chalten.

Pack List

  • Layered clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Anti-shock trekking poles
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Good vibes
  • If you plan on camping, make sure you get a permit and bring camping gear
Show More
RT Distance 13 Miles
Elevation Gain 3159 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

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My Favorite Day Hike

This hike has it all as you walk through vast meadows with Fitz Roy dominating the horizon and then climb a final steep ascent to reach the famous glacial lake. Every part of it is stunning. If you want to see sunrise, I'd recommend camping about an hour from the summit at Poincenot. Otherwise you're looking at a long day from town with several hours hiking in the dark and cold. If you can't get up for sunrise, there's a lookout about an hour into the hike that makes a great spot to watch sunrise. Then you'll get up to the lake right when the sun is hitting it mid-morning and all the campers have left to cook breakfast. Pretty ideal.


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