El Chaltén and the Fitz Roy range

El Chaltén fitz roy arg

El Chaltén was founded as recently as 1985 as a way of establishing a town precedent in an area that was still under dispute with Chile.  Located at the northern end of Parque Nacional Los Glaciers just a few hours north of El Calafate along popular route 40, El Chaltén sits at the foot of the extraordinary snow-capped towers of the Fitz Roy mountain range.  Home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery on the continent, this small town of only 370 inhabitants is quickly becoming one of Patagonia’s premier traveler magnets.  El Chaltén has been declared the national trekking capital of Argentina and there are numerous well-marked and well-maintained trails originating in the town center and extending throughout the park linking stunningly clear lakes with glaciers, jagged mountain peaks and spectacular lookout points.

el chalténWe made the most of our time in El Chaltén and hiked the Mount Fitz Roy/ Cerro Torre loop through the center of the park.  The first part of the trek to Laguna Torre was relatively flat followed by a steep climb from the valley up to Lagunas Madre and Hija then descending back into town past Laguna Capri.  Fortunately, in southern Patagonia it stays light outside until almost 10pm and the late sunsets allow for plenty of trekking time.  It took us just under nine hours to complete the 35km (22 mile) loop!

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