There are the most hiking options around El Chalten. It’s not called the hiking capitol of the world for nothing. Considering Nate and I are not die hard hikers, we chose carefully. And of course, Fitz Roy was a nonnegotiable for us.
In our research, we found that you can either start the Fitz Roy hike from El Chalten and do an out and back, or start from El Pilar, and end back in El Chalten. Really, when you look at the hike map of El Chalten, you’ll see that there are many ways to hike Fitz Roy and/or add on additional hikes to your Fitz Roy route. To each his own.
We don’t love an out and back hike, so we opted to head in from El Pilar and head out towards El Chalten. This is the route I suggest taking. It’s slightly shorter, and you get double the views. But, one thing to note, as you walk AWAY from Fitz Roy, you need to turn around every now and again, because views of the mountain will be to your back.
Here’s our experience + notes from start to finish!
Taxi from El Chalten at 7am – we arranged this through our accommodation at Anita’s House. The start time was CRUCIAL – the tours and hikers typically start around 8:30. It was very important to up that we have the trail and Fitz Roy to ourselves as much as possible…at least on the way UP.
Route 41 to the El Pilar trailhead.
Start hike at trailhead at 7:30.
8am – At the 30 minute mark, you will come to the entrance of the National Park. there’s a very simple map board to the right, keep heading straight. We got views of multiple mountains and glaciers along the way.
9:15 Reached the meet up point and campground. Follow towards Laguna De Los Tres (as seen below).
After the foot bridge over the river, you’ll start your ascent through the forest. Up, up we go! Like, from this point on, it’s STRAIGHT UP.
9:30 last km sign – maybe saw 5-7 people at this point. And those were the sunrise viewers making their way DOWN. It was magical.
10:30 – arrival at Fitz Roy. There were TWO OTHER PEOPLE at the top. And praise the Jesus the peaks were in front of the small cloud cover. Truly, the weather was amazing that day – which is why we picked it. Again, our host at Anita’s House gave us the heads up from her weather forecast info.
11:10 head back. There were so many people coming up as we were going down. It took us 45 minutes for the 1st km down. And that would have been 30 minutes if we didn’t have to keep stopping for people coming up.
We found it much easier going down then going up, but many people say that going down was difficult for them. Worth noting. I am guessing it’s because that last vertical km is all rocks. The photo below was taking as we headed DOWN from the Fitz Roy view point.
Next kilometer on our way back was 20 minutes with stopping to fill up the water in the river.
The trail back towards El Chalten is basically the route parallel the 41. You will get views the entire time no matter which route you take, but El Pilar was very enjoyable in our opinion. It was nice to not have a return route (our and back).
Total hike time was five hours and 40 minutes. Total time was 6.5 hours 7:30am to 2pm.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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