6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
The hike to the Laguna De Los Tres overlook is one of the most famous treks in all of Patagonia! Colloquially, this hike is sometimes called the "Monte Fitz Roy trek," as the Laguna De Los Tres overlook is the highest elevation viewpoint providing vistas of this famous mountain.
Rising to a height of 3,405 MASL, the Fitz Roy is one of the most rugged and challenging mountains in the world.
This granite monolith ends in a towering rock cliff that provides a highly technical mountaineering challenge. The Fitz Roy is arguably one of the most beautiful mountains on earth and serves as the inspiration for the stylized logo of the Patagonia apparel brand.
Due to these many layers of fame and acclaim, thousands of hikers flock to this trail every year to see clear views of the mountain.
While climbing to the summit of the mountain is beyond the skill levels of most humans, even day hikers can reach spectacular views of the mountain. The trek begins from a large trailhead parking lot on the north end of the town of El Chalten, which is known as the National Trekking Capital of Argentina.
The trek begins with a stiff climb out of town, ascending via a steep switchbacked trail with a few small sets of stairs mixed in.
The initial climb is steep, but eventually, the trail levels out as it rolls through sparse trees and into alpine tundra in a marshy valley below the mountain range. At one point, the trail splits and then rejoins, providing a short stretch where you can hike two different routes.
Many hikers go out one way and return the other way, even though the variation doesn't nearly last for the entire hike.
The northernmost option provides the most beautiful views of Monte Fitz Roy, while the southernmost option passes the beautiful Laguna Capri and a small backpacker campground. After hiking through the marshy valley, you'll reach the climber's base camp on the shores of Rio Blanco.
Here, mountaineers preparing to make an attempt on the summit of Fitz Roy set up base camp and await a clear weather window to begin their ascent.
The day hike continues past this point and soon resumes climbing in earnest. Up to this point, the hiking has been somewhat rocky and steep on the initial ascent, but overall the route has been quite achievable.
However, the final climb to the Laguna De Los Tres overlook is radically different and is renowned for its brutality.
The final pitch gains a stiff 449m of elevation in just 2km of distance on a rocky, loose, switchbacked trail.
This last climb earns this hike its "Severe" rating.
Expect to scramble up some loose scree and boulders in this section. Of the crowds of people that begin the hike from El Chalten, many will have turned around well before reaching the climber's camp.
But even fewer make the final push to the overlook due to the steep, gnarly trail.
If you make it all the way to the top, having hiked 11km and gained over 1,000m of elevation (one-way), you'll be among rarified company! The view from the Laguna De Los Tres Overlook is absolutely breathtaking, with the Fitz Roy towering overhead and the glacial lake that the overlook receives its name from nestled in a small basin far below.
While this overlook definitely provides the best views of the Fitz Roy, if you can't make it this far, don't fear—you'll still enjoy stupendous vistas of the mountain from multiple overlooks along the trail.
If you make it as far as the marshy alpine valley, you'll find yourself hiking below the towering spine of the Andes for many kilometers. Whenever you're ready to head back to El Chalten, turn around and retrace your steps back out of the mountains.
As noted above, you can opt for a slight detour on the return trip to check out Laguna Capri, but you'll mostly follow the same path to hike back to El Chalten.