El Chaltén is a paradise for adventurers. Nestled deep in Argentine Patagonia, this small town is the gateway to the dramatic landscape of Los Glaciares National Park. El Chaltén is a three-hour bus ride from the larger, busier town of El Calafate – making it the ideal place to disconnect and get back to nature. However, this isn’t to say it doesn’t have any amenities. Although remote, the town has enough tourist infrastructure to ensure your stay is comfortable and relaxing. What’s more, alongside plenty of awe-inspiring landscape and thrilling activities, El Chaltén is a perfect base for explorers. In this article, we get you warmed up for your adventure and suggest some mountain activities you can enjoy in the shadow of Fitz Roy.
5 awe-inspiring mountain activities in El Chaltén, Patagonia
1. Hike to Mount Fitz Roy
El Chaltén is overlooked by Patagonia’s most iconic peak – Cerro Fitz Roy. Many mountaineers consider Fitz Roy to be a tougher climb than Everest, so unless you’re a mountaineer with a lot of experience, summiting Fitz Roy might be a little ambitious. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other exciting mountain activities around this mighty peak. For example, hiking up to the base of the mountain is a breathtaking trail. Leading to the crystal clear waters of the Laguna de Los Tres at the base of the granite towers, you can complete this hike in one or two days depending on your fitness level.
2. Marvel at the Huemul Glacier
The Huemul Glacier is located about an hour outside of El Chaltén near Lago del Desierto. Winding through lush virgin forest and past trickling streams, the trek towards the glacier is as tranquil as it is dramatic. At the end of the trail, you reach a bright turquoise glacial lake and the majestic glacier itself. Furthermore, from this vantage point, you can enjoy spectacular views of Mount Fitz Roy and Mount Torre.
3. Trek to Mount Torre
Mount Fitz Roy is, in fact, one of two breathtaking mountain peaks near El Chaltén. Mount Torre is another imposing granite tower that lies about ten miles from the small town. Soaring into the clear Patagonian skies above a beautiful glacial lake, Mount Torre is a truly spectacular sight. The hike is a nine-hour round trip to the base with some steep sections. Alternatively, for those who like their mountain activities a little more leisurely, you can camp overnight at the De Agostini campsite.
4. Stroll to Salto El Chorrillo
The majestic Salto El Chorrillo waterfall is the perfect activity if you feel like a short stroll. It takes just three hours along a flat trail to reach this impressive waterfall, which you’ll hear before you see. Once you’re at the base of the cascade, you can enjoy this impressive spectacle from the rocks littered along the riverbank.
5. Enjoy an aerial view from Mirador Los Condores
As El Chaltén is surrounded by mountains, there are plenty of breathtaking viewpoints around the town. One of the best is Mirador Los Condores, where you can get a bird’s eye view of El Chaltén. What’s more – as the location’s name suggests – it is strategically located for watching condors. From this amazing balcony-like rock formation, you can see these huge birds swoop over the Fitz Roy River below. This trail only takes an hour or so to hike, so it’s perfect for those looking for less demanding mountain activities after a full week’s exploring.