Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Santa Cruz with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Was staying at Los Huemules so spotted a car down at the trailhead in El Chalten then started in at El Pilar. Pretty flat trek into Poincenot and Blanco with the steep ascent starting after the camp. I think we did +3200' elevation gain so that was a decent hike! Nice weather at Laguna, took pix, went over to view Lago Sucia too, quite spectacular! On way out took in Mirador Fitz Roy which was okay. A cool hike for sure, bring your wind and rain gear and dress warm. Enjoy!

hiking
11 days ago

Amazing hike as long as the weather is cooperative. We had perfect weather for two hours starting at El Pilar, but Lago de los Tres was a hellacious climb through heavy snow...in the middle of summer! The lake was barely visible. After descending from the lake, the weather became clear and warm again. Very odd experience, but I guarantee this hike would be amazing if the weather at Lago de los Trea was clear!

15 days ago

I agree that this hike is a 2 or 3 compared to the others in the area, but if the weather is not cooperative, it’s not a bad option. Patagonia hikes are notoriously weather-dependent, and most of this hike is through a valley protected from wind. However, the winds at the lake were some of the strongest I’ve ever experienced...50-60mph. We wired to walk around the lake, but we were literally blown off the trail.

We started by taking a bus to El Pilar. Doing so allows you to view Glacier Piedras Blancas and the primary benefit is that instead of going out and back on the Fitz Roy Trail, you walk on entirely different and less trafficked trail on the way in.

I knew this was going to be a challenging hike, but the last mile is particularly brutal. Unless you are an ultra marathoner it will make your body hurt as you go almost entirely straight up. Of course it’s worth it. How many places on earth can you stare god in the face? And hope to make your Facebook friends jealous? ;)

Hiker’s paradise for a reason. Great workout and amazing views. I mean, what beats Fitz Roy?

We start at “Hosteria del
Pilar”. The path through the forest was really magical. The last part was truly hard but well prepared. I totally recommend this hike. The view from the “lago de los tres” toward Fitz Roy is breathtaking!

My wife and I went on this trail in mid November on a very sunny day with temperatures around 18C. The trail itself was acceptable, but the winds we encountered were the worst winds we experienced probably exceeding 120Km/h. Climbing on a narrow path at the peek of the trail is a bit dangerous. Once arrived at the lake we had to hide behind rocks to avoid the wind. It was quite hard to take pictures, because of the wind was blowing so hard against the phone we could hardly get a steady shot.

Did this trek yesterday in one day. Absolutely amazing! I have just come from Chilean Patagonia having done the base Torres trek and this one was the highlight so far! Not only was it a gentle hike until the final hour or so, but it was so scenic and beautiful along the way. Provided it’s a good day like we had, you will view Fitzroy and his neighbours most of the way so there are so many opportunities for photo stops! One massive recommendation!! If you are planning on connecting to Laguna Torre, please make sure you do Fitzroy first then connect across — if you did it in reverse it would be a lot harder on the legs, I am very glad we didn’t do it this way!

An amazing trail. Make sure you ask your host for recommendations on the best weather day before you head out. Pick your day carefully. We met some who couldn’t see it at all. The only sad part was the lago at the base of Fitz Roy was still frozen over and covered in snow due to the late winter this year. We were there early nov 2018. The uphill “last” mile to the summit is no joke. The rocks will take their toll on your feet. When I climbed into bed that night I realized my feet were throbbing. This trail total from the hotel to peak and back to the trailhead in elchalten was about 15 miles with about 3k ft gain. When you take this route you get the added benefit of passing the mirador for piedras blancas glaciar. It’s beautiful. I added photos of the trail in, part of the rocky trail up (it gets worse) and of the glaciar.

Amazing. Bucket list trail. We were there early November 2018 and due to the late winter the lago at the base of Fitz Roy was still frozen over and covered in snow

This trail is the same as the fitz roy trail except that you dont double back. We took a remis to the hotel where you start. It is a relatively flat trail until you join the other fitz roy trail. Unlike the fitz roy trail which has more uphill from the start, this trail def has uphil, but not as much. You walk through a beautiful forest then get to the dreaded uphill rock climb off shoot. This is where the trail joins. You climb over very very rocky ground at a 45°-75° incline for about a mile. It is no joke. We were there on a spectacular clear day. The lagoon at the base was sadly still frozen and covered in snow the “extra” lake over the crest to the right wasnt and was a clear bright blue. But not the turquoise the base suposedly is. :( we went nov 6th. we walked back the el chalten way to our hotel. Amazing hike. Was about 13 miles. The other trail out and back is longer.

1 month ago

I rate this a 2 in comparison to the other two hikes in the area. The Trail was mostly bland, and the view at the end is pretty cool, but way better if you go to a different angle like on the other hikes. Also the lake is an ugly muddy brown, not brilliant blue like the other lakes. Be sure you don’t stop at the lake but go all the way around it for a better view of the glacier.

Best view of my life. Top two for best hikes of my life. It is worth every bead of sweat and labored breath up the steep slope - and then some! I just don’t even have the words to describe the majesty of this view. And don’t stop at the first lake - I know you’re exhausted, but the second lake is worth hiking up that last little hill. Amazing!!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Do this one on a sunny day.

hiking
1 month ago

Los primeros 3 km son lo más exigentes del sendero. Luego es bastante plano.
A los 2 y medio km se encuentra el mirador del Torre con una vista magnífica de los cerros.
Luego se camina por diferentes lugares a la vera del río, bosques, caminos pedregosos.
Al llegar a la laguna con sus témpanos, se obtiene una vista maravillosa del cerro Torre, los Adelas y otros cerros más.
Imperdible.

Absolutely spectacular trail- it’s very challenging climb to the top but worth all the effort.
It’s very rocky so hiking boots are highly recommended.

Awesome.
Started in El Pilar (recommend, see review) but Alltrails Marked this complete.

This is a better trek than the out and back. The incline is less and one does not see the same thing (not that one gets bored with the views).

I got a bus ticket for $10 at the El Chaltén station the night before. I was picked up at my Hotel. 30 min ride.

Bring proper attire, Once I ran out I filled my water bottle from the running streams. One can taste the turquoise!

1 month ago

Pouring Rain.
That means have the correct clothing (unlike some I passed).
Very windy, cold, a perfect hiking day.
I was surprised how many people were out there.

Dedicated trail workers / volunteers tending the trail.

Muchas gracias!

Do the future a favor and stay on the marked trail. Do not digress to the side trails. Especially on the El Chalten side.

Amazing views, beautiful landscapes. As most mentioned before, the final 1km is difficult. The trail will gain about 400m in altitude during this last part.

We went from the el pilat side which has less uphill in the start. Which youre gonna need. This way you also see the piedras blancas glacier. It also caves. Its pretty cool. The last mile to the lago de los tres is insane. You hike an exceptionally rocky trail at a 45°-75° angle up up and up. It was a gorgeous clear day but sadly the laguna was stull frozen and covered in snow. We went on nov 6th. The lago on the other side of the crest was beautiful deep blue but it is not accessable. I added a picture of the tracing of the trail we took. It was about 13 miles total. This trail as labeled is more than the 12 plus miles it reports.

This trail is the same as the fitz roy trail except that you dont double back. We took a remis to the rl pilar hotel where you start. It is a relatively flat trail until you join the other fitz roy trail. Unlike the fitz roy trail which has more uphill from the start, this trail def has uphil, but not as much. You walk through a beautiful forest then get to the dreaded uphill rock climb off shoot. This is where the trail joins. You climb over very very rocky ground at a 45°-75° incline for about a mile. It is no joke. We were there on a soectacular clear day. The lagoon at the base was sadly still frozen and covered in snow the “extra” lake over the crest to the right wasnt and was a clear bright blue. But not the turquoise the base suposedly is. :( we walked back the el chalten way to our hotel. Amazing hike. Was about 13 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

Caminhada perfeita passando por um lindo vale terminado em um lago na base da cadeia de Montanhas com destaque ao pico "cerro torre". Grande variedade de paisagens e tipo de trilhas! A área da laguna é sulreal...

This is the most beautiful hike we did. Took the bus from El Chalten to El Pilar and started our day from there. The weather was beautiful and we had a blast. Our independent recordings of the trail showed a longer distance (15.3 miles), but it is true that once we got up, we continued the exploration around the laguna. I was very tired and I had to take some Ibuprofen to help with my feet pain (I have a severe plantar fasciatis). Wonderful hike!!!!

We got a clear day, amazing hike. Gets crowded if done in mid day but just amazing

4 months ago

Just amazing.

Gotta get lucky and catch it on a clear day. If not Fitz is blocked by the clouds!

A really great day hike with awesome views. You can begin/end the hike at either El Chalten or the El Pilar Hostel. We started at the Hostel El Pilar and finished the hike in El Chalten. We took a taxi to the Hostel in the morning before we began hiking. Here is a full description of our hike with photos and maps: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/los-glaciares-national-park/

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