One of our top 10 day hikes in the world
Laguna de los Tres
El Chaltén, Argentina
AT A GLANCE
our pick for best day hike — of many — out of El Chaltén, Argentina’s Trekking Capital
- the nearest airport is El Calafate
- November – March are the best months. You might have snow on the trail in November or March, however.
- 8+ hours round trip depending on route
- elevation gain 2,300 ft. (700m)
- option to tent near the lake
- infamous for bad weather. Be prepared for extreme wind.
Some argue that other day hikes out of El Chaltén are even better than Laguna de los Tres.
You might prefer 11 km, 6 hour Laguna Torre, for example. Or the more challenging 20 km Lomo del Pliegue Tumbado. Do as many trails as you can on the same visit.
Why We Like This Hike
- no permit required
- granite spires of Mount Fitz Roy, Poincenot and Cerro Torre
- stunning blue waters, most likely with icebergs
- glaciers: Piedras Blancas, Marconi, Eléctrico, Cagliero
- see native ñirre and lenga, as well as yellow-flowered calafate bushes. Legend is that if you eat the calafate berry you will one day return to Patagonia.
- chance to see condor and fox
- rental gear, if needed, can be hired in El Chaltén. The shops there are perhaps better than Calefate.
- if you are looking to add the best multi-day trekking adventure out of El Chaltén, we highly recommend the Huemul Route
- hike nearby Torres del Paine National Park in Chile on your same vacation
- could be dangerous in wet or snowy conditions
- could be dangerous in low visibility
- biggest concern for hikers is wind. It can blow steady from November to April.
- some do hike in winter
- El Chaltén February (summer) low maximum 5C (41F) plus wind chill
- February (summer) high maximum of 22C (72F)
- at the top the trail is narrow and rocky
- on a clear day in high season it can be very crowded. Start as early as possible if you want to see fewer hikers.
- rodents are a pest at the official campgrounds. Check recommendations on how to hang or store your food safely. You’ll see many warnings about Hantavirus. Consider wild camping to avoid them.
Argentina for the tourist is usually less expensive than Chile. Argentina suffers regular financial meltdowns resulting in devaluation of the Argentinian peso.
There are plenty of options for accommodation and food in El Chaltén. Book as far ahead as you can.
None needed. But you can get a guide in town if you wish.
- arrange local transport to El Pilar, 17km (10mi) north of town
- start early with a good weather forecast to get there and back in one day
- if carrying a tent, consider camping at Laguna de los Tres to see sunrise next moring
- alternatively camp at the Poincenot campground en route
- if you have time, add the well-marked short trail to the left of Laguna de Los Tres to a vista overlooking Laguna Sucia
- return via the other trails directly to El Chaltén
- it’s a serious day hike. Get psyched.
- “Guardaparque Ceferino Fonzo” Visitor Centre just outside El Chaltén is excellent. Check it out on arrival.
- Centro de Informes de la Secretaría de Turismo de la Municipalidad de El Chaltén (at the Bus Station)
Best Trekking Guidebooks
None needed. The free Maps.me app includes this trail.
You might want a hard copy map for a souvenir.
Compare the ones available in El Chaltén shops including Zagier & Urruty’s Monte FitzRoy & Cerro Torre.
Best Travel Guidebooks
Best Web Pages
Best Trip Reports
- How I Did the Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre Trek without a Guide
- Stingy Nomads
- A Brother Abroad
Click PLAY or watch some highlights on YouTube.
Click PLAY or watch Bong Backpackerz on YouTube.
Click PLAY or watch a winter adventure on YouTube.
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