Fitz Roy is one of the most iconic mountains in Patagonia. It is 3,405 meters (11,171 feet) high and is located in Los Glaciares National Park in Southern Argentina.
While the mountain itself is very hard to climb, the Fitz Roy hiking trail takes you to the base of the mountain, where you’ll be rewarded with impressive views not only over Mount Fitz Roy but also over the neighboring peaks Poincenot and Saint-Exupery. At the end of the trail you will also reach Laguna de los Tres which is called that way because of the three aforementioned peaks that surround it.
The trail is approximately 20kms long (round trip) and takes approximately 8 hours to complete.
Beginning of the Fitz Roy Trail in El Chalten
The trail starts in the little village of El Chalten which is about a three hours drive away from El Calafate where the closest airport is.
If you get up early you can make the trip from El Calafate in one day. Alternatively, you can also stay a night in El Chalten which has a many accommodation and food options available - perfectly catered to hikers and backpackers.
The trailhead is right at the end of Avenida San Martin and is clearly marked with a sign. There is a free parking lot right where the trail starts. Should it be full, you can just park anywhere on Avenida San Martin.
Information board before the trail
The first 2 kilometers are uphill and allow for nice views over Rio de las Vueltas.
After that you mainly walk though a beautiful forest along a little river (about 2 hours). On this stretch you will also pass by the beautiful viewpoint Mirador Fitz Roy which provides impressive views over the mountain and surrounding landscapes.
An alternative route (not much longer) is to pass by Laguna Capri. That trail later integrates again into the main trail towards Laguna de los Tres. So you can take one of the two trails on your way up and then the other one on your way back.
Beautiful landscapes along Fitz Roy Trail
The last few kilometers are very intense since they involve a steep ascent (about 400meters elevation gain during kilometer 9). Poles may come in handy here and there is also lots of loose gravel.
The effort will be well rewarded though. Once you reach Laguna de los Tres you will have amazing 360 degree views over both the forest and the impressive lagoon with its surrounding mountain peaks.
At Laguna de los Tres
Views on the last kilometers of the trail
I recommend you bring plenty of water and something for lunch since you won't be able to purchase anything once on the trail.
Definitely bring sunscreen and sunglasses since particularly the last part of the trail is mainly uncovered.
Apart from comfortable hiking shoes, most of the visitors also use poles as this makes the steep ascent and descent easier. You are able to rent those in El Chalten, if needed.
Ultimately, don't forget a scarf and a hat as winds can get extremely cold especially once you reach the base of the mountains.
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
– gustave flaubert
Hi! I am Max and in 2022, after almost 12 years in the corporate world, I decided to fully focus on my passion for exploring new countries and cultures, hoping to inspire other fellow travelers and also to provide helpful tips and insights to those currently preparing for their next adventure.