8 + Best Hikes in El Chalten [Trekking Guide]

Tall craggy peaks. Picturesque blue lagoons. Lush forest trails.

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the best hikes in El Chalten, Argentina.

The charming town boasts spectacular scenery and beautiful trails. It was my favorite place in all of Patagonia, and I know you’ll love it just as much as I did.

This El Chalten trekking guide includes all the best hikes in the area, from short trails to multi-day treks. I’ve also included all the logistics and tips for planning the perfect hiking itinerary.

El Chalten Trekking guide
El Chalten has the most incredible hiking trails that lead to epic viewpoints like this

Torn Tackies contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure for more information.

El Chalten trekking guide: Summary

  • Best full-day hike in El Chalten: Laguna Torre
  • Best short hike: Huemul Glacier
  • Most challenging day hike: Laguna de los Tres
  • Best El Chalten hike for families: Laguna Capri

Laguna de los Tres: The most iconic hike in El Chalten

A man standing on a rock looking at Fitz Roy after completing one of the best hikes in El Chalten
Standing at Laguna de los Tres, one of the most famous hikes in El Chalten
  • Distance: 22 km
  • Time needed: 9 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trailhead: Av. San Martin | here

Laguna de los Tres, also known as the Fitz Roy trek, is the most iconic El Chalten hiking trail. It’s also the longest and most challenging day hike.

The turquoise waters of Laguna De Los Tres sit at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy, and it’s an incredible sight to see.

The trail to Laguna de los Tres meanders through forests and grassy plains and crosses rivers and streams. After arriving at Poincenot Campsite, the real challenge begins.

It’s all uphill from here, and the trail is steep – very steep! After 5 hours of hiking, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Fitz Roy from Laguna de los Tres.

This is one of the hikes in El Chalten that you do not want to miss. But you must be prepared with food and gear for 8+ hours of trekking.

You can read my complete guide to hiking Laguna de los Tres here.

Laguna Torre: Best full day hike

hiker standing in front of Cerro Torre in El Chalten Argentina
The view of Cerro Torre from Laguna Torre
  • Distance: 18 km
  • Time needed: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Los Charitos Street | here

Laguna Torre was my favorite hike in El Chalten. It’s easier than Laguna de los Tres, and the scenery is equally impressive.

Icebergs fill the laguna, and the beautiful peak of Cerro Torre provides the perfect backdrop.

It’s one of the many El Chalten hiking trials that start in the town. The beginning section is uphill as you ascend into the mountain. But it soon flattens out, and the rest of the trail is relatively easy.

After arriving at Laguna Torre, you have the option to walk an additional kilometer to Mirador Maestri. From this viewpoint, you’ll have unspoiled views of Glacier Torre.

Mirador de los Condores (& Mirador Aguilas): Best views of El Chalten

A girl hiking in El Chalten on a sunny day
The views of El Chalten and Fitz Roy from Mirador de los Condores
  • Distance: 5.3 km
  • Time needed: 2.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Parque de Los Glaciares Visitors Centre | here

Mirador de los Condores is one of the best short hikes in El Chalten.

It’s easily accessible from the town center and starts with a glandular incline to the viewpoint. From here, you’re treated to spectacular views of El Chalten, Fitz Roy, and Cerro Torre.

After reaching Mirador de los Condores, you can continue along a flat trail to a second viewpoint, Mirador de las Aguilas.

The views from Las Aguilas are very different from what you would have seen, and it’s a worthwhile addition to your hike.

I recommend hiking to Mirador de los Condores the day you arrive in El Chalten. It’s a great introduction to the area and the perfect warm-up hike for what’s to come.

Glacier Huemul: Best short hike in El Chalten

glacier hikes in el chalten
Glacier Huemul is the most incredible day hike from El Chalten
  • Distance: 3.2 km
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Next to Reserva Provincial Lago del Desierto | here

Glacier Huemul is the most picture-perfect location near El Chalten. Lush landscapes surround the turquoise glacial lake with the stunning glacier as the backdrop.

It’s located on private land, costing 1,500 pesos to access the trail.

The trailhead to Glacier Huemul is located 37 km from town, making it one of the few El Chalten treks requiring a car.

I left it to the last minute, and no rental cars or shuttles were available. My only option was to hitchhike to the trailhead, which is what I did. This adventure was one of my most memorable days in El Chalten.

Glacier Huemul is the ideal hike to do after you’ve completed Laguna Torre and Laguna de los Tres. Your body will be tired from these two hikes and will welcome the more relaxed trail to Glacier Huemul.

You can read my full guide to Glacier Huemul here.

Laguna Capri: Best hike for families

People sitting at Laguna Capri after hiking in El Chalten
Laguna Capri in El Chalten
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Time needed: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Av. San Martin | here

Laguna Capri is the perfect El Chalten hike for families.

The trail follows sections of the Laguna de los Tres hike – but without the grueling steep part at the end. This makes it a great alternative if you don’t have the time or energy to do Laguna de los Tres.

There’s a gradual incline for the first 45 minutes of the hike, but then it’s smooth sailing from there.

From Laguna Capri, you’ll be surrounded by high mountain peaks, and the laguna offers a beautiful vantage point for views of Fitz Roy.

There’s a beautiful campsite at Laguna Capri, so you can also spend the night here as well.

Chorillo del Salto

  • Distance: 7 km
  • Time needed: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Av. San Martin | here

Chorillo del Salto is a beautiful 20 m waterfall that’s easy to get to from El Chalten. The forest trail is ideal for families with kids, but it does get crowded.

To get here, you’ll make your way to the end of Avenida San Martin. This is the same trailhead that goes to Laguna de los Tres, except you’ll follow the path to the right.

Some sections of the trail run parallel to a dirt road, meaning it can get dusty if many cars drive past.

If you’re short on time, you can drive to the parking area here, which is closest to the waterfall. It’s only a 500 m walk to reach Chorillo del Salto.

But for a more picturesque experience, I recommend walking from El Chalten instead.

Mirador del Pliegue Tumbado

  • Distance: 21 km
  • Time needed: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trailhead: Parque de Los Glaciares Visitors Centre | here

Loma del Pliegue Tumbado is one of the most underrated hikes in El Chalten.
Unlike Laguna Torre and Laguna de los Tres, the trek to Mirador del Pliegue Tumbado doesn’t take you to the base of one of the iconic peaks. Instead, you ascend a mountain that offers unspoiled views of all the peaks and Lagunas.

Getting to Pliegue Tumbado requires a full-day hike and can be extremely tough if the wind is blowing gales (which it often is). The trail starts at the Parque de los Glaciares Visitors Centre and is shared with a few other tracks that lead in different directions.

If you’ve just spent the past two days hiking 40 + km to Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Torre, you may want to skip Loma del Pliegue Tumbado in favor of one of the shorter hikes in El Chalten. This is what I did.

However, it’s an excellent option for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy impressive views of Mount Fitz Roy.

Multi-day trekking in El Chalten

Huemul Circuit

  • Distance: 65 km
  • Time needed: 4 days
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Trailhead: Parque de Los Glaciares Visitors Centre | here

The Huemul Circuit is the hardest of the El Chalten trekking trails.

You need to come prepared, as it’s a technical hike and not something you do on a whim.

But the diverse terrain, uncrowded trails, and spectacular scenery make it worth the effort.

You’ll need a permit to do this hike and safety equipment.

Laguna Torre & Laguna de los Tres

best el chalten hikes patagonia laguna torre
Laguna Torre
  • Distance: 38 km
  • Time needed: 2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Av. San Martin | here

The two best hikes in El Chalten, Laguna Torre and Laguna de los Tres, are located just a stone’s throw away from each other.

You can visit both over two or three days without returning to El Chalten.
Instead, camp in the free campsites available in Los Glaciares National Park.

You can then take the trail that links the two by Laguna Madre and Hija.

There are three campsites to choose from (and they’re all free). These include Poincenot (closest to Laguna de los Tres), Laguna Capri, and Padre De Agostini (near Laguna Torre).

Tips for hiking in El Chalten

Get on the trails early. I started my full-day hikes at 6 am to get ahead of the crowds. And yes, the trails become very busy after 9 am.

Peak season is busy. If you’re visiting Patagonia in December or January, you’ll need to pre-book accommodation and bus tickets as these sell out. I experienced this firsthand! Check bus schedule and availability here.

Hiking in El Chalten is free. Yes, you read that correctly! The only trail that requires payment is Glaciar Huemul, as it’s located on private land.

Two people sitting in front of a sign before going trekking in El Chalten
El Chalten is my favorite place in Patagonia

Where to stay in El Chalten

When I first started looking into accommodation in El Chalten, I was shocked by the high prices. Patagonia is generally a lot more expensive than other places to visit in Argentina.

If you leave it too late, the more affordable options will be taken, and you may have to settle for something a bit further from town or out of your budget.

I was lucky to grab a last-minute cancellation from Hosteria El Alamo, and I highly recommend it.

The location could not be better! It’s on the main street and only a short walk from all the El Chalten trekking routes. The private rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the hot shower was the best thing to come home to after a tough day of hiking. You can check availability here.

If you’re looking for something more luxurious, you can’t go wrong with Chalten Suites Hotel. There’s an onsite restaurant, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the trails.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give, book your accommodation at least a month in advance if you’re visiting during the high season (December and January).

How many days in El Chalten

I spent five days hiking in El Chalten, which was the perfect amount of time for me.

If you want to do all the hikes in the area, I recommend at least seven days which is enough time to have a rest day in between.

But most people are really pushed for time. If this is the case for you, I recommend spending three days in El Chalten. This will allow you to do Mirador de los Condores, Laguna de los Tres, and Laguna Torre.

As a last resort, you can do a day trip to El Chalten from El Calafate. While this isn’t ideal, it’s best to plan your trip with an organized tour like this one, as so much time can be wasted if you do it independently.

A man drinking water after doing an El Chalten trek
Taking a break after hiking to Huemul Glacier in El Chalten

El Chalten trekking itinerary

I had five days in El Chalten and had planned to spend all my time on the trails.

But I completely underestimated how tough the hikes would be on my body!

Considering I hadn’t trained much, my legs were broken after the first two days.

I decided to skip the full-day hike to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado and opted for a more relaxed hike to Glacier Huemul instead. I also did this river rafting tour (which was awesome)!

So my advice is to see how you’re feeling after doing both Laguna Torre and Laguna de los Tes, as these are the two best El Chalten day hikes.

READ MORE: HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN BARILOCHE, ARGENTINA

Here’s my suggested itinerary

  • Day 1: After arriving in El Chalten, hike to Mirador de los Condores in the afternoon
  • Day 2: Full-day hike to Laguna de los Tres
  • Day 3: Full-day hike to Laguna Torre
  • Day 4: Short hike to Glacier Huemul
  • Day 5: Full-day hike to Lomo de Pliegue Tumbado or white water rafting

El Chalten trekking difficulty

El Chalten is a hiking mecca and is home to some of the best day hikes in Patagonia.

These hikes vary from easy to difficult and full-day to half-day, meaning there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for an easy hike or something to do with kids, I recommend Laguna Capri and Glacier Huemul.

But if you’re looking for a challenge, consider the Huemul Circuit or Laguna de los Tres.

Campsites in El Chalten next to a lake
The campsite next to Laguna Capri

When to go hiking in El Chalten

The best time to go hiking in El Chalten is from October to April. The days are warmer and longer, providing ideal conditions for hiking.

But I have to warn you about the wind. It’s unpredictable and can affect your hike. I was nearly blown off my feet during the Mirador Condores hike but was lucky enough to have perfect conditions the next day when I hiked to Laguna de los Tres.

READ MORE: 25+ BEST WINERIES IN MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

Final thoughts on trekking in El Chalten

El Chalten is the hiking capital of Argentian Patagonia and offers some of the best day hikes I’ve ever done.

After hiking in El Chalten, I headed to Torres Del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia to take on the five-day W Trek. If you have the time, I recommend going here after El Chalten.

Like it? Pin it!

The best hikes in el chalten, patagonia in argentina

Do you have any questions about this El Chalten trekking guide? Drop me a question in the comments section below!

Looking for more Argenita travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!

29 Shares
About Carryn

Hi, I'm Carryn. I’m an adventure travel blogger trying to figure out my way through life by traveling and exploring. Join me as I share my travel guides and tips for life abroad. Find out more about me here.

Leave a Comment