El Chaltén is known for its outdoor activities, including the trail to Fitz Roy, its most iconic mountain. Now, this is not the only mountain that you can admire in the surroundings of this small town in southern Argentina part of the Patagonia region. Today I tell you how to do the trekking to Cerro Torre and La Laguna Torre so you can marvel at the incredible stone needles of the hill.
This trail is easy in terms of difficulty, although somewhat long, so you will have to plan a full-day outing to be able to do it. I recommend you take it easy to enjoy the beautiful landscapes that you will find on the route and go well prepared. It is one of the walks that I liked the most in the area.
The trail to Cerro Torre begins in the town of El Chalten and ends at Laguna Torre. Unlike the path to Fitz Roy, this is a single path, there are no other routes that reach Laguna Torre. It is possible to connect both trails (the Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre) passing through the Lagunas Madre and Hija.
This unmissable trek, surely the most popular after the Laguna de Los Tres trail, brings us closer to the base of one of the most iconic and beautiful mountains in Patagonia, as well as a real challenge for high-level climbing. A difficult backdrop to match for a walk that ends at the top of a moraine with exceptional views of the Cerro, the Lagoon, and the Torre Glacier. The entire area holds some of the best trekking routes in South America.
Voyagers travel offers several tour programs that include guided visits to the Patagonia region with organized activities like hiking, visiting famous glaciers like Perito Moreno, cities like Bariloche and El Calafate which are the gateway to the national parks and mountain lakes, towering mountains and much more. Here a few itineraries for inspiration, remember all these can be customized to meet your specific interests:
It is easy to get to the beginning of the route, it starts very close to the town. A sign marks the detour on San Martín Avenue. If you go by car you can start the walk there or go up a little more in the car.
There is a distance of 1 km from the San Martín detour to the beginning of the route. This section ends with a steep slope, at the end of which there is a panoramic view of El Chaltén.
At the end of this climb begins the path to the Tower. Shortly after, the informative sign at the beginning of the trail appears, with the distances to the main points of interest on the trail. Do not forget that the sign only indicates the outward journey, add another few kilometers for the return.
The trek has a slight but continuous unevenness during the first 3 kilometers, in which you ascend about 200 meters. 10 minutes after the start of the route, we arrived at the viewpoint of the Margarita waterfall, very high, but without enough water to be spectacular.
The path runs along a rocky path through forests with a large number of birds, so if you pay attention it is easy to see some, such as caracaras or the beautiful giant woodpeckers, whose males are unmistakable with their red heads.
Laguna Torre is at the foot of Cerro Torre, one of the geographical landmarks near the town of El Chaltén. It is located in the Los Glaciares National Park, in the Santa Cruz province of Argentine Patagonia, not far from the famous Fitz Roy.
Although Fitz Roy is the most iconic natural monument in the area and one of the most famous in Argentina, Cerro Torre has nothing to envy in terms of beauty, since its needles, its glacier, and its lagoon form a beautiful postcard. It can be reached through a pleasant path that, although long, is not complicated.
The path to Laguna Torre is one of the most popular walks in El Chaltén, as it is a very beautiful full-day trek without great difficulties. It is within the limits of Los Glaciares National Park, but in this part, it is not necessary to get a ticket. Thus, you can enjoy nature for free if you decide to do the route on your own. In case you don't dare to do it alone, you can also join an excursion.
From there the remaining path is easy and you will be able to see the typical flora of the area and some animals, such as foxes, woodpeckers, or the Andean caracara. Finally, the trek reaches Laguna Torre, where you can enjoy the well-deserved reward: the view of the lagoon with the icebergs that break off from its glacier and the vertical walls of Cerro Torre de El Chaltén.
Enjoy your time in this place. Once you get there, you can have a picnic by the lake to have lunch and regain strength before heading back. In addition, you can skirt it by following another small path to get closer to the Torre Glacier and see it from the Maestri viewpoint.
If you plan to make the excursion during the day and go back to sleep in El Chaltén, you can resume the return path by following the path in reverse again. Now, if you want to enjoy this environment for longer, you can take another path from Laguna Torre to go Laguna de Los Tres (the one on Mount Fitz Roy) without returning to El Chaltén.
This trail connects with the Fitz Roy trek through the Madre and Hija lagoons. There is not enough time to do both on the same day, but many people plan to do it in two or three days, sleeping in the campsites in the area. Next to Laguna Torre, you will find the De Agostini camp and one kilometer from Laguna de Los Tres, the Poincenot camp. Both are free camping areas.
If you don't see going out to the mountain alone, don't worry, because there are options so you don't miss out on seeing Laguna Torre. From El Chaltén there is a full-day guided excursion with which you can be accompanied throughout the journey by a guide and other travelers. You will get to know the landscape, flora, and fauna that surrounds you better.
If you feel like exploring the two-star trails in El Chaltén, Laguna de Los Tres (Fitz Roy), and Laguna Torre, you also have the option of taking a tour that includes a night at one of the campsites. It includes the tent and the sleeping bag and you can request that the meals also be included. In this way, you will not carry weight. You can do this tour from El Chaltén and from El Calafate, which can be interesting if you are also going to visit this city.
Recommendations for trekking to Laguna Torre
The trek to Laguna Torre has a low difficulty, but it is a long trek, as it is 18 kilometers round trip. Also, there are no services along the entire route. Therefore, you will have to prepare well for the walk to have everything you need at hand, whether you are only going to do the excursion for the day or if you are going to stay overnight in the campsites.
In both cases, you can not forget to bring food and water, enough for the whole day or for the time you plan to be in nature if you plan to go out for several days. It is also good to carry an external battery in case your mobile runs out, a front light in case it gets dark, a map of the area, a first-aid kit, or sunscreen.
If you are going to stay in one of the campsites so as not to have to return to the town and thus see the sunrise next to Cerro Torre or Cerro Fitz Roy, you should know that you need to bring your tent, your sleeping bag and perhaps your camping gas if you want. cook you some hot food. In the camps, there is no electricity or any services beyond latrines, picnic tables, and the space to put up tents.
For a long walk, nothing better than good and comfortable hiking boots. As for clothing, dress in layers and according to the weather, without neglecting warm clothing because you must bear in mind that it will be cold since El Chaltén is next to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. So, don't forget your gloves and hat, but don't forget your sunglasses either if the day is sunny because the sunlight reflects off the ice and can hurt your eyes.
Whether you decide to go out alone to trek to Laguna Torre or if you are going to do an excursion accompanied, you must take into account some safety aspects.
The first of them, check the weather forecast because it is not advisable to go out to the mountains in bad weather. Websites like Windguru give you very complete information on the forecast for the following days to be able to see if there will be windows of good weather and take advantage of them.
Once you're on the road, stay on the path of the trail. It is well-marked and signposted, so it is difficult for you to get lost. I also recommend you not to play music, but pay attention to the environment. In addition to being able to enjoy how beautiful the landscape is, you can be attentive to the animals.
So that you can walk safely and never get lost, I recommend downloading the complete map of the region on your mobile phone.
Finally, remember to take out travel insurance to travel through Patagonia, as there are always risks when doing outdoor activities. It is highly recommended, especially if you are a foreigner because if you need medical assistance with insurance you will not have to pay anything or fight with paperwork.
Be that as it may, I recommend that you do not miss the trekking to Laguna Torre when you go to El Chaltén. It is a very beautiful and pleasant trail on sunny days, with landscapes that you will remember for a lifetime. The view of the lagoon, the glacier, and the vertical walls of Cerro Torre is impressive!