Laguna Torre At Sunset
The Andes mountains in the heart of Argentinian Patagonia, rest at low altitude; making the hike to Laguna Torre and the surrounding peaks some of the easiest in the world; and the reward for such little effort; is unparalleled beauty.
My brother, his girlfriend, and I were on a month-long trip through Chile and Argentina; the heart of Patagonia. We found ourselves in Argentina’s sleepy adventure capital; El Chaltén. We only had a few days and wanted to make the most of our time in arguably the best part of the trip.
We had just finished hiking to Laguna de Los Tres near Mount Fitz Roy, and we felt like we had one more adventure in us before returning to town and hopping on yet another 24-hour bus ride.
The Hike To Laguna Torre
The 6 mile (10k) hike to Laguna Torre begins in the Southeastern part of town next to Hostel Kaiken. Narrow dirt paths lead you up away from town into the forest. The trailhead is marked by a sign welcoming you to Los Glaciares National Park. The hike; just like all the others in the area; is completely FREE.
If you decide to hike to Laguna Torre after coming down from Laguna de Los Tres; the trail can be found at a fork in the path with a small sign reading ” De Agostini Campsite.” The trail will lead you along Laguna Madre and Hija.
Travel App: The trails outside of El Chaltén are super easy to navigate, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to download an offline map app. This way you won’t have to worry about missing the turn-off points.
After passing the trailhead near town, the path will lead you through the rolling hills to your first viewpoint of the hike; Mirador Cascada Margarita.
The Margarita Cascade
The Margarita Cascade Viewpoint
It’s pretty underwhelming as far as cascade standards go. If you follow the string of trees down the cliff, you can see a small stream. The view of the surrounding cliffs and of course the snowcapped Cerro Solo of in the distance is pretty spectacular though.
Leading on from the Margarita Cascade, the trail will drop you down into the valley of death and rebirth. (unofficial name, but it sounds cool).
The Valley Of Death And Rebirth
This was one of my favorite parts of the trek. It was so silent and motionless that your footsteps and the birds chirping were the only things we could hear as we walked along the boardwalk on the valley floor.
The tranquil Silence
After about half an hour, the tranquil silence on the valley floor slowly starts to give way the low rumble of moving water.
The Mighty Río Fitz Roy
Suddenly the trees break, and the low rumble turns into a roar as you approach the mighty Fitz Roy River. Unlike the other rivers running through the valleys of central Patagonia; Río Fitz Roy isn’t crystal clear. Its milky white appearance is due to sediment that is kicked up as the water rushes from its origin; the glacier at Laguna Torre.
You will hike along the river for about an hour until you finally reach your destination; the De Agostini campgrounds. That is, of course, depending on if decided to camp for the night or just do a day hike.
The De Agostini Campgrounds
Located in a dense collection of 30 foot high trees at the base of Laguna Torre; the De Agostini Campgrounds are the perfect place to pitch a tent or hang a hammock for some solid sleep under the stars.
Hammock Setup At De Agostini
Caution: While the De Agostini campgrounds do slightly shelter you from the morning winds; it doesn’t dampen them entirely. Make sure to keep track of your gear and especially trash. No one likes a litterbug.
The best part about the De Agostini campgrounds is of course that they are FREE, but also that they are situated at the base of Laguna Torre. A short ten minute walk up, and you’re looking at some of the best views in Patagonia.
Sunset Hike To Laguna Torre
During the summer months in southern Argentina the sun sets around 10:30 pm, so take your time and wait to walk up until the sun has started to do its magic on the surrounding hills and of course Cerro Torre as previously pictured.
Travel Tip: Wait until later in the evening; the crowds will die down, and you will probably be the only one on Laguna Torre.
If you are like me and have been dreaming of being in the presence of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre for a long time, then sticking around for sunset and sunrise is the only way to attain that feeling you thought you would get when you first discovered this place existed (you know what I’m talking about).
Sunrise Over Laguna Torre
The sunrise over Laguna Torre is especially grand. For a span of about two minutes, the morning rays light up the rugged peaks bright pink.
Sunrise Over Laguna Torre
It happens about 6 o’clock and is over in the blink of an eye, but entirely worth the frigid early hike to get there. As my luck usually goes, the clouds stuck to the peaks like a magnet, but I was the only one there. My camera on the tripod and a remote in my hand I sat there for over an hour watching the gentle breeze make ripples across the lake. It was the icing on the cake for my hike to Laguna Torre.
What To Pack?
The packing list for the hike to Laguna Torre is pretty straightforward. The only extra piece of advice that I could give is that there is a NO fire policy in Los Glaciares National Park; which means no traditional cooking over the open flame. Not to worry; there are plenty of bakeries in town that sell pre-made sandwiches and a few supermarkets that you can buy basic ingredients to make your own.
The list below is a basic rundown of gear that covers almost any two to three-day hike, but if you want to see all of the gear that I use to stay on the road and be ready for any adventure; then check out my digital nomad backpacking checklist.
- Hiking Shoes
- Camp Sandals
- Hiking Pants
- Down Jacket
- Rain Jacket
- Shirts (3)
- Underwear (2)
- Socks (2)
- Sleeping Bag
- Extra Batteries
- Camp Towel
- First Aid Kit
- Bag Rain Cover
Now you have the inspiration, knowledge, and willpower to start your very own hike in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It will be some of the easiest hiking you’ll ever do, and the rewards are unbelievable.
If you still aren’t quite sure if this hike is for you or just need more information; leave a comment below, and I will try to answer as best I can. If you’ve already been and loved it, or hated it; I want to know why!