The Iconic Laguna de Los Tres Trail in El Chalten – Complete Hiking Guide

The iconic Laguna de Los Tres hike to the the foot of Mt. Fitz Roy has some of the most spectacular views in Patagonia. Laguna de Los Tres is a turquoise lake at the base of Mt. Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park close to the village El Chalten.

Trekking to the spectacular Laguna de Los Tres from El Chalten Patagonia.

Also known as Fitz Roy hike, this is arguably the best trek you can do from El Chalten in Argentina.

How Long is the Laguna de Los Tres Hike?

The Laguna de Los Tres hike is a 24 km (15 mile) hike when done from El Chalten. Hiking to Laguna de Los Tres can be done in different ways. The most popular way to do the Laguna de Los Tres Hike is a 2 Day, 24 kilometer (15 mile) out and back hike, camping one night, allowing you to see the famous sunrise over Fitzroy mountain. The trail can also be done as a challenging 24 km day hike, or as a 2/3 day 40 km loop (Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy and Laguna Torre). See our Complete El Chalten Hiking Guide.

Camping on the Laguna de Los Tres trail

When doing a 2 or 3 hike to Laguna de Los Tres there are 2 free campsites where you can stay; Poincenot campground close to Laguna de Los Tres and Camping de Augostini at Laguna Torre. These campsites do not have to be booked. Facilities are basic with dry toilets and potable running water from a stream.

Laguna de Los Tres Trail route overview (2 Day Hike)

  • Total distance – 24 km (15 miles) round trip (28 km with Piedras Blancas Glacier side trip)
  • Time – 6 – 9 hours
  • Total ascent – 800 m
  • Difficulty – moderate
  • Starting point – Avenida San Martín, El Chalten
  • Finishing point – Out and back trail (El Chalten – Laguna de Los Tres – El Chalten)
  • 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), El Chalten
El Chalten town
The small hikers village El Chalten in Argentina Patagonia.

The little village El Chalten, located in Los Glaciares National Park is often called the trekking capital of Argentian Patagonia. The geographical region Patagonia, at the southern end of South America, belongs to two countries, Argentina and Chile separated by the gigantic Andes Mountains. The W-trek in Torres del Paine National Park is probably the most famous hiking route on the Chilean side and the Laguna de Los Tres hike in Argentina.

The hike to the lagoon at the base of mount Fitz Roy gets its name from the viewpoint at the lake of three peaks; Cerro Fitzroy, Cerro Torre, and Poincenot. Laguna de Los Tres Lake of the Three in Spanish.

Where does the Laguna de Los Tres trail start?

You can start walking the Laguna de Los Tres trail from your accommodation anywhere in the small town of El Chaltén.

The trailhead to Laguna de Los Tres is at the end of Avenida San Martín (GPS pin), where the town of El Chaltén ends, there is a car park (other hikers will probably also be heading this way). There is a sign showing the start of the Laguna de Los Tres when you walk through the car park.

Laguna de Los Tres trailhead El Chalten
The trailhead to Laguna de Los Tres is at the end of Avenida San Martín where the town of El Chaltén ends

The Laguna de Los Tres Trail route description

Laguna de Los Tres  is 12 km (7.5 mile) from the trailhead. The most common route is a 24km (15 miles) out and back hike from El Chalten to the lake. This is possible to hike in one long day, but most people hike the route over 2 days, camping in Campamento Poincenot. There is a possible side trail to the viewpoint of the Piedras Blancas Glacier that ads about 4km to your hike. There are three campsites in the park that are connected by hiking trails. There are several possibilities to connect the trails and campsites to make up a route meeting your requirements.

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.

the Río de las Vueltas riverbed El Chalten
Start the hike from El Chalten with nice views of the Río de las Vueltas riverbed.

The trail starts with a steep uphill and some steps. In the first kilometer there are nice views of the Río de las Vueltas riverbed, continue to the well-signposted Laguna Capri, a beautiful lake with its own campground. There is a nice viewpoint of the Fitz Roy Range here. The laguna is 4km about 1 hour and 15 minutes’ walk from the visitors center.

The popular Poincenot campground is just over an hours hike from Laguna Capri. (about another 4 km) If you are camping this is the end of day one, find a spot to pitch your tent, get some water in the river and make a cup of coffee! If you are pushing on it is about another hour of hiking from the campsite to Laguna de Los Tres (3 to 4 km/2.5 miles).

Campamento Poincenote in El Chalten
Campamento Poincenote in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, El Chalten has basic facilities, no electricity, lights or running water.

Campamento Pointcenot to Laguna de Los Tres (4 km)

After leaving the campsite and crossing Rio Blanco the climbing starts with about 400m to ascend in the last 2 kilometers. Loose scree is the last hurdle on this challenging hike to reach the lake. The trail leads onto a moraine overlooking the Laguna de Los Tres, with the glaciers, and three massive peaks behind it. The views here are truly spectacular.

Laguna de Los Tres view
Arriving at Laguna de Los Tres with spectacular views of Mt Fitzroy.

Don’t miss the spectacular Laguna Sucia a stones throw away! To see another amazing cobalt lake, walk along the well-marked half-a-mile (700m) trail to the left of Laguna de Los Tres to a viewpoint of Laguna Sucia, a amazing lake that is not as well known.

Laguna Sucia El Chalten hike
Don’t miss the beautiful Laguna Sucia just around the corner from Laguna de Los Tres when you do this incredible hike.

Laguna de Los Tres to El Chalten (12 km)

The walk back to El Chalten is fairly easy 12 km with 2 down hills that should take about 3 hours.

Hiking the Laguna de Los Tres Loop

  • Total distance – 38 km (24 miles)
  • Time – 2 or 3 Days
  • Starting point – Avenida San Martín, El Chalten
  • 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 Augostini, Mirrador del Torre, El Chalten
Piedras Blancas Glacier Viewpoint
The Piedras Blancas Glacier Viewpoint is a 5 km detour from the Laguna de Los Tres trail.

The Laguna de Los Tres Loop can be hiked as a 2 or 3 day trail. On day 2 instead of heading back the same way to El Chalten, walk to Laguna Torre. To do this as a 3 day trail you can stay at Laguna Torre at camping de Agostini.

2 Day Hike doing this loop as a 2 day hike is challenging to see both Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Tore with Cerro Torre in the background.

3 Day Hike walk from Laguna De Los Tres to Laguna Torre (19 km) camping at Camping de Agostini another free campsite at Laguna Torre. If you do the 3 day hike you can hike to the Mirador Maestri viewpoint of the spectacular Torre Glacier, this is a 5 km detour. On day 3 hike the final 12 km to El Chalten.

Torre Glacier behind Laguna Torre
Laguna Torre with Torre Glacier in the background hiking the Laguna de Los Tres loop.

How difficult is the Laguna de Los Tres Trail?

The Laguna de Los Tres trail is of moderate difficulty with only 2 steep climbs, the rest of the trail is fairly flat. How difficult the hike is depends on the route you choose, a 1 day, 2 day or 3 day hike. Camping for a night makes the distance more manageable, it is also the only way to reach the viewpoint in time to see the beautiful sunrise over Fitzroy mountain.

Laguna de Los Tres coffee El Chalten
Getting up early, making coffee at Laguna de Los Tres, what a breakfast view!

Hike to Laguna de Los Tres Independently

The Laguna de Los Tres trek is a fantastic trail to hike independent. The trailhead is easy to find and you can start hiking anywhere in the village El Chalten. The route is well marked and in season this is a safe hike to do with many other hikers on the trail.

You’ll find a complete packing list for hiking and camping in the region in our post Patagonia Packing List.

Hike to Laguna de Los Tres with a Tour

Guided hikes to Mt Fitzroy are very popular, see these tour options:

When to Visit El Chalten

You can visit El Chalten all year round, but when is the best time to visit El Chalten?

Weather wise the hiking season is in summer from October to April, with the best weather from December to March with higher temperatures. It can however get very windy in summer and this is the peak tourist season with higher prices.

Shoulder season, November and April, is good to avoid the crowds and temperatures are nice for hiking. It is however a bit of a gamble, can be great, but you can have bad luck with wind, rain and cold weather.

In winter between June and September, it can be cold, wind is less, but the trails can be inaccessible because of snow.

Camping in El Chalten

Some of the most popular campsites in the town El Chalten can be seen below, see our article on Camping in El Chaten for a review on the sites and camping in the region.

  • El Relincho Camping
  • La Torcida Camping
  • El Refugio Camping
  • Casa de Cyclistas

Accommodation in El Chalten

El Chalten has accommodation to suite all tastes and budgets. If you are hiking in season, I would strongly advise that you book accommodation ahead. We loved camping here, but it is fantastic to return to a warm lodge, have your own bathroom and a comfortable bed after a long day hiking in the chilly Patagonian weather!

Super comfort – Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa, beautiful boutique hotel close to the trails

Destino Sur Hotel & Spa de Montaña – 5 Star luxury hotel, excellent ratings

Mid Budget – Hosteria El Paraiso Alpine-style cabins, nice views. Good value for money.

Backpacker Budget – La Guanaca good reviews

How to Get to El Chalten

El Calafate has the nearest airport, about 220km away. The road between El Calafate and El Chaltén is paved in excellent condition and the trip takes 3 hours by bus. There is a daily bus between El Calafate and El Chaltén works all year round, twice per day morning and evening (3 times in the peak season).  Chalten Travel is a popular bus service to use. You can book a bus transfer from El Chalten to El Calafate here.

Buses are quite expensive and people try hitchhiking. If you decide to hitchhike, just get on the road early, we had 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.

Travel insurance is important to reduce risk when away from home, especially if you take part in outdoor activities. Having an accident in a foreign country can be an extremely costly affair without appropriate cover.

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What to pack for hiking in El Chalten?

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