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El Chaltén, Argentina is one of the most popular towns for hiking in Patagonia. Many fun day hikes start from El Chaltén, like Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy. Cerro Torre is a relatively easy hiking trail that weaves through tall trees and rhyolite (volcanic rock). Follow our guide to hiking Cerro Torre in El Chaltén to find out exactly what to expect on your hike.
Overview of hiking Cerro Torre in El Chaltén
The Cerro Torre trail in El Chaltén takes you from El Chaltén to Laguna Torre. It is one of the most popular trails in El Chaltén, along with Fitz Roy. Compared to Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre is much flatter and, thus, easier. Even though the two trails are almost the exact same distance, Fitz Roy ascends almost double the altitude as Cerro Torre.
If you have camping gear with you, you can camp overnight at one of the three campsites along the trail. The best way to extend this hike into an overnight hike is to combine it with the Fitz Roy trail. I recommend tackling the Fitz Roy trail first, and then moving over to Cerro Torre because Fitz Roy is a lot more challenging. You can find more information about camping overnight on this trail here.
Cerro Torre Trail Stats:
Trailhead Address: M4C3+RM El Chaltén, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
Total distance from Trailhead: 21.6 km (13.4 miles)
Lowest Elevation: 1,419 feet
Highest Elevation: 2,585 feet
Ascent: 1,401 feet
Getting to the trailhead for Cerro Torre
From the main bus station in El Chaltén, walk down Miguel Martín de Güemes toward Lago del Desierto. Turn right onto Lago del Desierto and left onto San Martín, the main street in El Chaltén.
The trail to Cerro Torre starts in the middle of El Chaltén at the corner of San Martín and Las Loicas. If you’re more of a landmark than a street names person, look for Hostería El Álamo on your left, and turn onto that street. Follow Las Loicas for about 600 meters (0.4 miles) until the road splits off just after you pass Calle Aguila Mora.
After reaching the base of the mountain, you’ll have a steep initial climb before reaching the sign for the trailhead.
Once you reach the trailhead, turn around and look back at El Chaltén. This is where I found the best panoramic views of the cozy, picturesque town.
What to expect when hiking Cerro Torre
The first mile of Cerro Torre
The first mile or so of the Cerro Torre trail is the steepest section of the trail. We tried to wait out the rain that morning, but at around 9:00am, we decided to just go for it. There’s quite a bit of climbing over large rocks in the first section of the trail, and it can be slippery in the rain. Make sure you have your rain gear on you at all times, as well as other essential items you’ll need during the day.
The middle section of Cerro Torre
After the initial ascent, the trail is pretty flat the rest of the way, with a few gentle ascents and descents along the way. You’ll enter into the forest for much of the middle section of the hike, where you’ll be able to see lots of plant life and bird species. The trail through the forest can get quite muddy when it’s raining, so it’s a good idea to get an early start on this trail to avoid getting stuck in mud pools behind large crowds.
Once you emerge from the forest, you’ll hike through a valley toward the glacier. The Cerro Torre trail is well marked, and you shouldn’t run into any issues with direction along the way.
Arriving at Laguna Torre and Glacier Torre
As you approach Laguna Torre, the terrain becomes a lot rockier. After a small climb, you’ll see Laguna Torre and Glacier Torre in the distance.
Once you reach Laguna Torre, hike down to the base of the lake. You’ll see a trail along the right side of the lake that’ll take you to Mirador Maestri, where you’ll get a close up view of the glacier.
Before heading back, eat a lunch or snack while continuing to enjoy your view of the lake and glacier. The hike back should be relatively quick and straightforward. On average, it takes around six hours to complete this hike.
Hopefully this guide to hiking Cerro Torre in El Chaltén was useful for you. We tried to cover all the bases to hiking Cerro Torre, but let us know in the comments if you have any additional questions.
Want to explore more of Patagonia? Then you might interested in reading these posts:
- Guide to Hiking Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén
- Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Torres del Paine W Trek
- Comprehensive Guide to Planning Your Torres del Paine W Trek
- Where to Stay, Eat, and Drink in Puerto Natales, Chile
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