El Chaltén: Spectacular and Accessible Hiking in Patagonia

Glowing turquoise lakes, calving glaciers, and a skyline so extraordinary that it became the logo for the out of doors firm Patagonia. When mountaineering in Patagonia, you can see it all from the town of El Chaltén, Argentina.

El Chaltén is on the eastern edge of Argentina’s Glacier Nationwide Park. The ideal trails guide west from town up into the Andes to imposing glaciers and breathtaking lakes. To the north of El Chaltén is a valley with much more lakes, glaciers, and trails. Only the very first seven miles to the north are in the park, past that is personal home where by numerous trails have expenses for climbing and camping. The great information is that the most spectacular lakes, glaciers, and peaks are all in the park and totally free.

Laguna Torre Trail is a Common Trail for Hiking in Patagonia

Laguna Torre is 7 miles roundtrip and was my favored of all the hikes I did from El Chaltén. (In Chile smaller lakes and glacial cirques are named laguna, although greater lakes are called lago). The initial mile of the path goes uphill via a forest wherever I noticed wild hares and Magellanic woodpeckers. This is the place you have your greatest prospect of looking at the endangered huemul, a deer endemic to Patagonia.

A view of Grand Glacier while hiking in Patagonia.

A view of Grand Glacier and Peak Poincenot from path to Laguna Torre. Photograph by Heather Jasper

Previous the forest, the trail goes via a huge glacial valley with fantastic sights of Grand Glacier and a single of El Chaltén’s most well-known peaks, Poincenot at 9,850 feet higher than sea stage. Laguna Torre alone is not the regular glowing turquoise, but the glacial sights more than make up for the absence of coloration. From where by the trail satisfies the lake it’s only one more 50 % hour to the Maestri Overlook in which you have wonderful sights searching down on the end of Grand Glacier. Enormous icebergs the measurement of apartment structures split off and float out into the lake.

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Grand Glacier calving into Laguna Torre.

Grand Glacier calving into Laguna Torre. Image by Heather Jasper

Laguna Torre is a total-working day hike but not significantly challenging. The closer you get to the lake the far more springs you are going to go together the trail. The drinking water is secure to consume, but I recommend bringing a h2o filter to sift out bits of sand and glacial minerals.

Climbing the Laguna de Los Tres Trail

Laguna de Los Tres is even more popular than Laguna Torre even though also extended and more strenuous. The path is almost 16 miles roundtrip, and the very last 50 % mile is a steep slope of unfastened scree. It is a scramble up the moraine that retains the lake in area. Just before that, most of the path goes by way of a vast, flat-bottomed glacial valley.

Laguna de Los Tres.

Laguna de Los Tres. Photo by Heather Jasper

When you attain Laguna de Los Tres, wander alongside the shore to the suitable to see dozens of tiny springs bubble up out of the sand. It is the sweetest water I have ever tasted, and I didn’t hassle to filter it. You are going to have a amazing perspective of “Los Tres,” the 3 most popular peaks in the array: Fitz Roy (11,073 ft.), Poincenot (9,850 ft.), and St. Exupéry (8,392 ft.).

If you stroll remaining from where the path hits Laguna Torre, you will be taken care of to a impressive perspective from superior higher than Laguna Sucia. The name usually means “Dirty Lake,” and it’s the most misnamed lake I’ve at any time noticed. The water is pure, glowing turquoise, and a lot of waterfalls leap off cliffs several tales previously mentioned the lake. This is also a terrific spot to location Andean condors I noticed two as I begun back down the path.

Foodstuff and Drink Whilst Mountaineering in Patagonia

Like mountain cities in Europe and North The usa, El Chaltén has lots of breweries and restaurants with hearty portions. I experimented with about a dozen dining establishments in El Chaltén and liked them all. My two favorites have been La Vinería for the big chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, and joyful hour micro-brews, and La Cervecería Chaltén for the delightful locro, and in-home micro-brews. Locro is a common Argentine soup manufactured with white beans, chorizo, corn, pumpkin, and a dozen other ingredients.

If you are on a restricted funds it is great to know that all the hostels in city have kitchens, and you can simply do all your personal cooking. Make certain you deal with your self at the very least at the time to breakfast at the bakery Lo De Haydee, which will make delectable cheese puffs each individual morning that locals purchase by the kilo.

Lodging and Tenting in Patagonia

El Chaltén has almost everything from luxurious apartments to reasonably priced hostels and tenting. There are two huge accommodations in town, plus many modest resorts, hostels, and residences that men and women have transformed to Airbnbs. There are two campgrounds in town with amenities for camper vans or RVs. If you would fairly not sleep in city camping in the national park is free of charge, and there are a number of private campgrounds up the valley north of El Chaltén. You can rent camping machines in El Chaltén for the similar selling price as a affordable hostel.

Begin in El Chaltén when hiking in Patagonia.

El Chaltén in Patagonia. Image by Heather Jasper

If you get there with out a position to remain, stop at the bus station in advance of you start out searching all-around city. Each early morning inns and hostels notify the data desk at the bus station how lots of rooms they have offered that night time. You can decide up free of charge maps and get the title and selection of any put with availability.

Info About Glacier National Park

Just after you come across a spot to remain, your initial prevent should really be the park ranger station. This is a ten-moment stroll south of city. It’s staffed by volunteers who are as passionate about preserving the indigenous flora and fauna as they are about making certain guests have all the information they will need. A quick hike potential customers from the ranger station to an forget about termed Mirador Los Cóndores, which is best for sunset and recognizing condors.

Sunset on El Chaltén from Mirador Los Condores.

Sunset on El Chaltén from Mirador Los Condores. Picture by Heather Jasper

How to Get to Patagonia

The to start with leg of my journey to El Chaltén was a flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. El Calafate is a enjoyable town that is an great foundation for tours to lakes and glaciers. Even so, if you want to hike choose the bus to El Chaltén. You can lease a vehicle in El Calafate, but it is unneeded. El Chaltén is a quaint, no-quit gentle city. Not only is every thing in town walkable within just a several blocks, but you also really don’t want a automobile to get to the ideal trails.

Currency and Trade Level

If airfare to Argentina seems to be much too high consider the exchange charge and how much you will expend when you get there. Every single several many years the Argentine economic climate takes a dive, and the price of the US greenback goes by the roof. The greatest way to journey on a funds in Argentina is to provide dollars and exchange it for Argentine pesos at the time you get there. The US greenback is usually utilised simply because it is additional steady than most South American currencies. To check out the recent level research on the net for “dólar blue.” Numerous Argentine news web sites publish the day by day fee, which is various from the formal bank amount. You will get a lot better fees at forex trade stores than at banking institutions.

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When You Go Climbing in Patagonia

El Chaltén in Argentina’s Glacier Nationwide Park delivers some of the finest climbing in Patagonia. The grandeur of the imposing glaciers and beautiful lakes can make for enough wow times as you hike the trails. All of this elegance is within the park and free of charge to discover. When you’re scheduling your subsequent outside journey, be sure to go through some of our favorite mountaineering spots on Wander. We also have much more strategies for what to see when you take a look at South America.

El Chaltén: Stunning and Obtainable Climbing in Patagonia

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