Hiking in El Chaltén is some of the best in Argentina, Patagonia. The Laguna Torre hike in Los Glaciares National Park is one of the most popular trails from El Chaltén. Also known as the Cerro Torre hike the trail leads from the trailhead in the town of El Chalten to Laguna Torre a unique glacial lake at the base of Cerro Torre. This is not a blue glacial lake, but a muddy, brown lake. Views are beautiful though and floating icebergs that broke off from the Torre glacier are quite impressive.
This is a relatively flat trail suitable for trekkers of a wide variety of fitness levels. Laguna Torre is known for its incredible views of Cerro Torre. The Laguna Torre hike is a great alternative to the more challenging Laguna de Los Tres hike. Do the best hikes in the park. The Laguna Torre trek can be combined with the Laguna de Los Tres Trail (Mount Fitz Roy Hike), camping for one, two, or even three nights. This multi-day hike will include some of the best views of the Andes Mountains.
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El Chalten Trekking
El Chaltén is a little village often called the trekking capital of Argentian Patagonia, located in Los Glaciares National Park. Its status as the trekking capital is due to the wide variety of trekking routes accessible to all fitness and experience levels. El Chalten offers some of the best day hikes in Patagonia. The Laguna de Los Tres hike is probably the best-known hike in Argentina Patagonia and the W-trek in Torres del Paine National Park the most well-known on the Chilean side of the region. For a fairly easy, long day hike from El Chaltén with spectacular views the Cerro Torre hike (Laguna Torre) is an excellent option.
Laguna Torre (Cerro Torre) Trail Route Overview
- Total distance – 18km (11 miles), out and back hike 9 km to the endpoint, can extend to 20 km (12.5 miles) with Mirador Maestri side trip
- Time – 5 – 6 hours
- Total ascent – 500 m
- Difficulty – Moderate
- Cost – Free
- Starting point – Laguna Torre trailhead at the end of Los Charitos street
- Finishing point – Out and back trail (El Chalten – Mirador Cascada Margarita – Agostini campground – Laguna Torre – El Chalten)
- Walking route – El Chalten, Mirador Torre, Laguna Torre, El Chalten
Laguna Torre Hiking Tours
On your own or don´t have time for logistics and planning? Do this Cerro Torre Trek Tour – guided hike with hotel pick up and drop off in El Calafate.
Where does the Laguna Torre trail start?
You can start walking to the Laguna Torre main trail from your accommodation anywhere in the small town of El Chaltén.
The official trailhead to the Laguna Torre hike is at the end of Los Charitos Street, there is actually a sign indicating the start of the “Senda a Laguna Torre”.
GPS pin for Laguna Torre trailhead. There are two trailheads to Laguna Torre in town, the paths merge after a short walk, so you can start at any.
Laguna Torre Route Description
Walk to Mirador Cascada Margarita
The Laguna Torre trail starts with an incline, it is a moderate uphill climb for the first 2 km (1.2 miles) until you reach Mirador Margarita after about 20 minutes of walking. This is the first viewpoint that offers nice panoramic views of the Adela range, Cerro Torre, the Margarita waterfall lies across the river canyon. From here on it gets easier. Walk through the valley of death and rebirth along a boardwalk.
Mirador Cerro Torre
Continue on the trail for 2 kilometers to Mirador Cerro Torre with some elevation gain. Here there are some nice views of the Cerro Torre mountain range.
Walking next to the roaring Fitz Roy River (Rio Fitz Roy) you will reach Laguna Torre after hiking for another 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) on a relatively flat trail walking past several panoramic viewpoints overlooking Cerro Solo, Cordón Adela, and Cerro Torre. The D’Agostini campground is located on the trail a short distance before Laguna Torre.
Walking to Laguna Torre takes about 3 hours from El Chalten and the way back is a bit quicker since it is more downhill. The trail to Laguna Torre is very well-marked and easy to follow.
Walk to Mirador Maestri
When you reach the lake you can continue to another viewpoint, the Maestri viewpoint is about a kilometer away. This part is a challenging hike on a narrow, rocky trail. It is a hard part of the hike on uneven terrain.
Camping at Laguna Torre
There are a few options for camping while hiking to Laguna Torre made possible by the de Agostini campgrounds and Campamento Pointcenot. Both these campsites are free and no booking is necessary.
De Agostini Campgrounds – experience sunrise
The de Agostini campsite is located in a dense forest of tall trees at the base of Laguna Torre. The location is a great spot to do the final push early in the morning or in the evening and catch the sunset or sunrise at the lake while camping here. In the summer months, sunset is after 22:00 and you can walk to the lake from the campsite for this experience. Sunrise is fantastic here for taking photos and it is definitely worth it to camp here and get up early to catch the sunrise.
Hike the Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre 3 Day Loop
For a real adventure see both Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre while camping for 2 nights in Los Glaciares National Park walking from El Chaltén.
- A 38 km (24 miles) loop
- Walking route – El Chalten, Rió de Las Vueltas Mirador, Mirador Fitz Roy, Poincenot campground, Laguna de Los Tres, (Side Trip to Piedras Blancas Glacier Viewpoint), Laguna Torre, Camping de Agostini, Mirador del Torre, El Chalten
Day 1 walk from El Chalten to Campamento Pointcenot (8 km) – Start the hike at the trailhead just outside town at the parking area at the end of Avenida San Martín. Register here if you are going to camp. Registration is free. Set up camp and spend the night in Campamento Pointcenot.
Day 2 an early start to Laguna de Los Tres (2km). Put on some warm clothing. See sunrise at the spectacular Laguna de Los Tres, don´t miss the impressive Laguna Succi only half a mile away. From here walk another 19 km hike to the Agostini campsite. The distance between the Pointcenot and Agostini campsites is 17 kilometers. We left our tent in Pointcenot and walked back before continuing to Laguna Torre. On this route, the Piedras Blancas Glacier Viewpoint is a 5 km detour. This glacier is one of the best viewpoints on this long hike. If a 24 km day hike is too long you can always go back to Pointcenot campsite for another night after seeing the Piedras Blancas Glacier.
Day 3 Catch the sunrise at Laguna Torre from the Agostini campsite and walk back the final 9 km to El Chalten.
How difficult is the Laguna Torre Trail?
The 18 km round trip hike is relatively easy and flat almost all the way. The initial 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) is a bit challenging. Other than that the climb to Mirador Maestri is tricky on a narrow uneven path.
Best Time To Do the Cerro Torre Hike
El Chalten can be visited all year round. The peak season for hiking is in the summer months from October to April. The best weather is from December to March with higher temperatures. The trail gets very busy in peak season and strong winds can make camping a bit harder.
Shoulder season, November and April, is a good time to avoid the large crowds and the weather is still nice for hiking. You can however have bad luck with wind, rain, and cold weather.
In winter from June to September, it can be cold, the wind is less, but the trails can be inaccessible because of snow or it can be slippery due to ice.
Camping in El Chalten
There are several nice campsites in the town of El Chalten, see our article on Camping in El Chaten for a review of the sites and camping in the region.
- El Relincho Camping
- La Torcida Camping
- El Refugio Camping
- Casa de Cyclistas
Accommodation in El Chalten
In season it is recommended to book accommodation ahead. Some good options for a warm bed after a long day hiking in the chilly Patagonian weather!
- Super comfort Hostería El Pilar, fantastic spot, country house 17 km from El Chalten
- .Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa, great place, a beautiful boutique hotel close to the trails
- Destino Sur Hotel & Spa de Montaña – 5-star luxury hotel, with excellent ratings
- Mid Budget – Hosteria El Paraiso Alpine-style cabins, nice views. Good value for money.
- Backpacker Budget – Rancho Grande
How to Get to El Chalten
The nearest airport is El Calafate 220km away. Getting here from Buenos Aires is simple by plane or bus. There is a daily bus between El Calafate and El Chaltén it departs all year round, twice per day morning and evening (3 times in the peak season). The trip takes about 3 hours. Chalten Travel is a popular bus service to use.
Buses are quite expensive and people try hitchhiking. If you decide to hitchhike, start early in the morning and prepare for a long day of very competitive hitchhiking here. We hitchhiked a lot in Patagonia and it was a great way to explore the area and to travel the Carretera Austral.
Travel insurance for hiking in Patagonia
Hiking like any outdoor activity involves a risky part with the possibility of getting an injury.World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers. If you leave home without travel insurance or your policy runs out, you can buy or extend while on the road.
Travel Resources for Patagonia
For the most classic hikes and long treks in Patagonia:
- 17 Best Hikes in Patagonia, a 2023 Guide
- Complete Guide to Perito Moreno in Los Glaciares National Park 2023
- Best Patagonia Travel Itinerary 2023
- Cost of Travel in South America – complete breakdown
- Villa O’Higgins to El Chalten – How to Get.
- The W Trek in Torres del Paine – 2023/24 Season
The strong half of Stingy Nomads, a nomadic aquaman that would be happy to spend all his life in the water diving, surfing and spearfishing but often has to compromise with Alya and go hiking instead. Campbell is responsible for all our marine adventures and following them with write-ups. He loves traveling, braai (BBQ in South Africa), red wine and spending the day in a wetsuit.