The American essayist John Burroughs claimed that in nature he found his inner peace, the cure to all his ills and the place where to collect his thoughts. It is with these wise words in mind that we will be going over the five most stunning trekking circuits in Argentina, giving you not only a description of the routes and highlights on the way, but also a number of tips for you to make the most of this adventure.
Declared as the Argentine Capital of Trekking, El Chalten will be our great inspiration for two of the five hikes in this article. This magical place in Patagonia is home to a mix of climates and natural sceneries. And some of its so many attractions may take several kilometers of hiking to be admired. Are you ready?
Laguna de los Tres, El Chalten:
Level of difficulty: high
Duration: 8 hours (approximately)
This is one of the most challenging destinations in Patagonia, but also one of the most impressive. The Laguna de los Tres, with the awe-inspiring Fitz Roy in the background, becomes the best reward after a long and exhausting hike. In general, the route is tolerable, and the traveler will be able to take in Laguna Capri and several panoramic views, while enjoying the natural setting. Mind you, the last leg of the trek will be the most arduous.
One kilometer along a rough and uphill track that will call for all your energy and caution. This is no competition: by marching at a nice pace and taking breaks, you will manage to reach your long-awaited destination. Warning: particularly on the way back, when going down the same track, be careful not to slip and beware of the strong winds (if such is the case).
On your return trip from the summit you may walk around the Laguna de los Tres and, in passing, contemplate the Laguna Sucia, whose shade of blue will leave you speechless amid the splendor of the surrounding mountains. Two more suggestions: Spend some time on your own, with no cellphone or any other kind of amusement, taking in this natural wonder. Also, avoid setting out on your journey back at a late hour. Remember you are several hours away from the starting point.
Laguna Torre, El Chalten:
Level of difficulty: average
Duration: 8 hours approximately
This trekking tour also starts in El Chalten, a charming little village that is host to a great number of stories revolving around trekking in Argentina. We suggest you go on this trek after the Laguna de los Tres route, as it is less challenging and there are no significant slopes on the way. A quiet track, full of awesome landscapes and unique views to the extraordinary hills, a lookout with a view to the Adela Range and the Cerro Torre, and further on the Grande Glacier and Laguna Torre.
The trails are marked, and so are the rest of the routes in the area, which makes it possible for the adventurers to feel safe and well oriented when walking along these tracks. On the way back, when the sun stars setting, the travelers will see the village with new eyes, as this seems to welcome them with open arms after an unforgettable journey.
Cerro Tronador (Otto Meiling Shelter), Bariloche:
Level of difficulty: Average
Duration: 8-9 hours
To reach this destination you must take the mythical Route 40, from Bariloche, going past the Lagos Mascardi and Gutierrez before arriving in Pampa Linda, starting point of this amazing trekking tour towards the Otto Meiling Shelter (Cerro Tronador).
Named after the thunder-like sound made by the ice blocks falling off the glaciers, Cerro Tronador has become one big favorite among locals and visitors. During this adventure you will get to see creeks, the beautiful Playa Negra and a number of lookouts to make the most of it all.
Once you reach the shelter you will be over the clouds, some 3,554 meters above sea level. This spot separates two neighboring countries, Argentina and Chile, and leads to two of the most outstanding natural reserves. Cerro Tronador has seven glaciers and from one of these branches out the Río Manso, from where the majesty of the Cerro can be contemplated.
The name of this site – inspired by the shape and colors of this natural scenery – was coined by Gustavo Giorgis, a well-recognized guide, back in 1989. Ojo del Albino (the albino´s eye), located in Sierra Alvear, some 20 km away from Ushuaia, is a must in this city in the south of Argentina. A 20-km route whose panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, plus the chance to engage in activities such as the observation of the flora and the forest birds, will make this journey an exciting one.
Travelers will come face to face with the breathtaking glacier at the end of the journey, where they will also be able to sight Laguna Esmeralda. Trekking on the glacier is also possible; in AOTG we will share the different options for you to engage in this fascinating adventure for which, incidentally, you will need special garments and equipment such as boots, crampons, and trekking poles among other items that will ensure your safety throughout the tour.
Trekking Ojo del Albino – Ushuaia
Acsibi Caves, Salta
Level of difficulty: Average
Duration: 7 to 8 hours
We will now leave the snow aside to move on to one of the most stunning routes in the north of our country. We are talking about the Acsibi Caves, in Salta, a natural wonder shaped by rocky formations of red sandstone. Its name means “The place of fire”: and indeed, the shades of red in this site look like fire against the blue sky.
The nearest village, Seclantas, lies some 15 km away from this site… That means you will need a guide to ensure your safety during this journey, aside from the eagerness, curiosity and energy to be able to deeply admire the many wonders on the way. Pay special attention to the different shades of color in this site, one of the features that turn this trek into a unique one. Finally, don´t forget to stay hydrated!
– Footwear: Comfort is the key when it comes to choosing the most suitable shoes. It is best if you choose trekking boots, as some trails demand more stability. This kind of footwear offers special support, is waterproof and has lugs and cleats that provide good grip and optimal traction on slippery surfaces.
– Clothing: Though we will take a closer look at this later on, here are two tips for you to bear in mind: remember to avoid cotton clothes and make sure to wear thermal clothing – socks, sweatshirts, pants, as well as gloves and hats. These apply to all treks except the one in Northern Argentina. Keep in mind that these tips vary as the seasons change.
– Water! Along most tracks you will find where to refill your flask with water, so you won´t need to fill it before you set out on the journey. However, it is best if you carry some fruit, chocolate and snacks that will provide you with the energy required for the most demanding stretches of the journey.
– Additional information: It is worth carrying with you some band aids and nail clippers, two big allies on long hikes. In addition, remember to carry a bag to dispose of plastic and trash. It is most important we do take care of these natural sceneries!