When first planning our trip to Patagonia the Mount Fitz Roy hike was at the top of our list. The scenery looked like it was something from another planet, and it didn’t disappoint! What we hadn’t accounted for was spring time in Patagonia to be filled with so much snow. We were surprised that the inclement weather would even cover the famous Laguna de los Tres! So whether you’re doing a multi-day Fitz Roy trek or single day hike, we got you covered. Travel with us as we spend the afternoon hiking the 20 kilometers from El Chalten to Mount Fitz Roy and back!
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Starting the Fitz Roy Hike in El Chalten
Start of Hike: Follow San Martín Street leading out of town
Fitz Roy Viewpoint: 1:30 min One Way – 4km
Laguna de Los Tres: 4 Hours One Way – 10km
Time Needed: 8 Hours
The beginning of the Fitz Roy hike is only about 10 minutes from the center of town. After a large breakfast we walked out of our hostel and joined dozen of other travelers that were making the walk to the start of the trail.
As you begin your ascent, you’ll get a stunning view of El Chalten in all its glory. The first 30 minutes or so of your journey is a complete incline, but don’t worry! The trail levels off for most of the walk shortly after.
Mount Fitz Roy Hike Check List
Water and Food: There are no services available on the trail so bring lunch and as much water as you’ll need for the day. We recommend at least one liter per person. “Box lunches” are popular with the restaurants in town, and a super easy option if you don’t want to make your own.
Warm Clothes: The weather can change rapidly in Patagonia so be prepared. At some points during the hike we had shorts and a t-shirt on, while others we were bundled up in full winter gear!
Sunscreen, Hat, and Sunglasses: The sun is deceptively strong on the Fitz Roy trek so make sure to lather up. Hat and sunglasses are a must as well.
Navigating the Mount Fitz Roy Trail
After the first initial climb the Fitz Roy hike is flat, but full of endless colors and views. For about 9 kilometers you will be working your way in and out of trees, rocks, and other wilderness on the way to Laguna de los Tres. We especially loved the many manmade bridges that cross over the river! Keep your eyes opened for rare birds, deer, and also the elusive puma.
Fitz Roy Trek Signs to Look Out For
Keep an eye out for the kilometer signs which are numbered 1 through 10 so you can track progress on the way to Laguna de los Tres. The other important sign to spot comes when the trail splits. To the left will take you to a campground while the right will lead to the first main view of Mount Fitz Roy. On the map it’s called “Mirador” which translates to lookout in English.
Mirador Mount Fitz Roy Viewpoint
Four kilometers into the trail the Mirador viewpoint is the first main lookout on the trail and popular hike in itself. Travelers who stop in town for only the afternoon, but want to do some hiking often make this their destination. The 2.5 to 3 hour round trip climb is a great option if you can’t commit to the full Fitz Roy hike.
The Final Stretch to Laguna de los Tres
After leaving the Mirador and continuing on the Fitz Roy hike you may be thinking “Wow this is easy!” We thought the same thing… But oh were we wrong! The last section of Mount Fitz Roy is only a kilometer long, yet it’s straight uphill and takes an hour one way.
To make it more challenging, the grueling path of switchbacks to the top is completely made up of loose rocks and pebbles. This makes it increasingly more difficult to get your footing, and even harder than a typical path. Take your time and keep going. We promise the views are worth it!
View of Laguna de los Tres & Mount Fitz Roy
Finally you’ll reach the top and see the beautiful Laguna de los Tres with Mount Fitz Roy in the background. To our surprise the entire lake was still covered in snow!
The spring weather in Patagonia is so unpredictable that there was actually a massive snow storm just before we arrived and right after we left.
No matter if the lake is blue or covered in white snow, the view is the perfect reward for your hike. Pull out your lunch and take some time to hang out and enjoy the lagoon before starting the long trek back.
Planning a Multi-Day Fitz Roy Trek
If you’d rather not do the hike in one day a Fitz Roy trek is an awesome alternative! There’s multiple camping spots on the trail and several routes to choose from. Most people take 2-3 days to do the Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre trails which you will start and end in El Chalten.
The campsites are clearly labeled on the maps, and all around the Fitz Roy hike trail. The coolest campsite we saw was called Poincenot, and it’s located just 10 minutes from the incline up to Laguna de los Tres. This one allows you to set up camp, and catch either sunrise or sunset from the famous lookout point!
Sample Fitz Roy Trek Route
- Load up on food and supplies in town.
- Hike from El Chalten to Poincenot 8 km and set up camp.
- Wake up early and hike the 2 km round trip to Laguna de los Tres for sunrise.
- Return to camp and pack up.
- Hike the 8 km Madre e Hija which connects Fitz Roy with Torre Trail. In total, it should be about a 11-12 km long day.
- Set up camp at De Agostini near Laguna Torre.
- Watch the sunset over Laguna Torre.
- Wake up early and hike the 4 km round trip to the Maestri Viewpoint.
- Return and pack up camp.
- Hike the 9 km back to El Chalten.
- Stop in one of the many local pubs for a well deserved craft beer and large meal!
Total 3 Day Mount Fitz Roy Trek: 35-40 km
Have any questions on Fitz Roy El Chalten, or want to share your own experience? Feel free to comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In El Chalten Argentina
Ultra Luxury – Destino Sur Hotel & Spa de Montaña – This fantastic hotel is set in the heart of El Chalten and offers a spa, bike rentals, and even guided tours. Enjoy a large breakfast to start off your day and views of the mountains in the distance from every room.
Fun Vacation – Infinito Sur – This accommodation feels rustic, yet comfortable. Infinito Sur is close to the center which makes it easy walking distance to all the best restaurants and bars. Enjoy an Argentinean buffet breakfast to start your day off and views of Mount Fitz Roy from the property.
Hostel Life – Rancho Grande – Rancho Grande is the most popular hostel in town, and we really enjoyed our stay there! It’s filled with a great atmosphere for backpackers and hikers alike, and has a full restaurant and bar. It also features inexpensive dorms and private rooms as well as a kitchen if you want to prep your own meals.
For more places to stay in El Chalten you can explore the latest prices here!
Argentina Travel Planning
Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Remember that a lot of the time it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Argentina than driving or taking the bus!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling in Argentina. It is especially fun to have a car in scenic regions like Patagonia.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Argentina. Attend a tango show in Buenos Aires, visit Iguazu Falls with an epic boat tour, or go glacier trekking in El Calafate!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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