Patagonia Day 4: Laguna Torre Hike

Day 4 of our Patagonia adventure would take us on another day hike; this time we’d go out and back to Laguna Torre, a glacial lake with great views of Cerro Torre.  We’d hike from a trailhead just outside our Hosteria Kaulem that would roughly follow Rio Fitz and end at Laguna Torre (green #4 on the map below); the hike was 20km roundtrip; ~6 hours with not too much elevation. 

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{ Map of Laguna de los Tres Hike – source }

With no shuttle to catch, we took our time and enjoyed breakfast at the hosteria – we also had scrambled eggs which were pretty standard at most Patagonia breakfasts, always served fresh, right after making them.

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{ I thought the butter rolls were adorable and really enjoyed the lemon honey tea }

We picked up our packed lunches at Walk Patagonia then headed out – skies were clear and there wasn’t much wind, so things were looking up!  That’s Mount Fitz Roy peeking behind the hills. 

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There’s a flight of stairs (you can just see them in the photo above), that takes you to a “second level” of town and more homes. 

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The sign for the trailhead isn’t much farther up. 

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The morning views were pretty spectacular since it had snowed in the mountains the night before.

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And even though we didn’t get to see Mt. Fitz Roy the day before, we got some views of it on this hike!

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Cerro Torre, in the middle was starting to be visible as well.

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There’s a little elevation at the start of this hike, then it’s mainly wooded for some time.

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{ Looking back towards town }

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{ Couldn’t resist showing off my Betty gear! }

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{ David at a lookout area }

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{ The amazing Cerro Torre }

As the walk continues, the forest gets shorter, opens into some fields, and then to a rockier area meeting back with the river.

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The water in the park is crystal clear, and safe to drink, even though we never needed to. 

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After a short hike around some rocky hills, you arrive at the lake, and WOW!

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Out. of. this. world.

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In the distance you can see the glacier that forms the lake. 

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We loved the mini icebergs and took a bunch of photos! 

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Then it was time for lunch.  I rate our hiking lunch spots (they have to be scenic!) and this is a a top 5 lunch spot dare I say?  Lunch was once more a cheese sandwich (for me) and spinach empanada.  The box lunch also included a brownie, granola bar and candies for later in the hike.

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Instead of heading back immediately, we chose to do a quick side-trek to hike around the lake toward the glacier.  We’d been told it was worthwhile if the weather was good (if it’s rainy there are too many sharp glacial rocks).  After about 45 minutes we turned around; it got us a little closer to the glacier, but there wasn’t much trail and I don’t love hiking on rocks.

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The return trip went quickly enough, and before we knew it we were back in town.  We were scheduled to bus (2 hrs) back to El Calafate that evening, so we had quite a few things to do before leaving on the bus: return all the rental gear David was using (due to his lost luggage), buy lunch & snacks for the following days, grab dinner, and change at the hotel where they were holding my luggage.

We bought empanadas for the next day (corn for me, spicy chicken for David) at the local bakery, and bough trail mix, apples, and these really odd bright green dried grapefruit at the grocer (the grapefruit was not my favorite).  Note to travelers: this town pretty much only takes cash, and the ATM runs out of cash quickly, so bring cash – US dollars are well accepted and appreciated!

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We then stopped for what we thought would be a quick meal at the Peace Café.  They served us a gorgeous salad, BUT it took almost an hour to get the food and we had to eat it in 5 minutes before running to catch our bus!  We were quickly realizing service in South America is at a slower pace than we expect in the US.

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We did catch the bus and checked to our hotel in El Calafate fairly late that evening; the following day was a day “off” where we’d get to visit the town’s main tourist attraction, the Perito Moreno Glacier. 

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4 thoughts on “Patagonia Day 4: Laguna Torre Hike

  1. Absolutely stunning! That’s only a view I’ve seen in photos… will definitely be there to see it for myself someday. Agreed… perfect lunch spot! It looks so serene… were you guys the only ones hiking?

    1. Thank you so much Erin – no, there were definitely other people there, but it wasn’t terribly crowded. I think going in the early summer time (shoulder season) helped with crowds, but it’s more of a gamble with the weather.

  2. Brittany –

    We love your blog on the El Chalten area. We are two couples from Vancouver Canada who were in Nepal in April, have done the hike into Machu Picchu a couple years ago and will be in Patagonia in November.
    We will use your amazing summary as a guide.

    Many thanks!

    ( btw – we are all in our late 60’s… never stop exploring ! )

    Ian MacDonald

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