Hiking in El Chaltén
Both long and short hikes on well-trodden trails lead to lakes, glaciers, and stunning viewpoints. There are two main hikes, one to the base of Cerro Fitzroy, the other to a windswept glacial lake at the base of Cerro Torre. Both hikes climb into the hills above town and excellent views start after only about an hour on either trail. The six-hour roundtrip hike to the base camp for Cerro Torre at Laguna Torre has (weather permitting) dramatic views of Torres Standhart, Adelas, Grande, and Solo.
Trails start in town and are very well marked, so if you stick to the main path there is no danger of getting lost. Just be careful of high winds and exposed rocks that can get slippery in bad weather. The eight-hour hike to the base camp for Cerro Fitzroy passes Laguna Capri and ends at Laguna de los Tres, where you can enjoy an utterly spectacular view of the granite tower. If you only have time for one ambitious hike, this is probably the best choice, though the last kilometer of trail is very steep. Water within the park is potable and delicious, so there's no need to start out with more than a liter or two. At campsites in the hills above town hardy souls can pitch a tent for the night and enjoy sunset and dawn views of the mountain peaks. Ask about current camping regulations and advisories at the National Park office before setting off with a tent in your rucksack. Finally, use latrines where provided, and under no circumstance should you even think about starting a fire—a large section of forest near Cerro Torre was devastated several years ago when a foolish hiker tried to dispose of toilet paper with a match.
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