Hike in El Chaltén: Giants Trail – Top Tips for this 3 Day Hike in Argentina

Everything to plan this 3 day hike in El Chaltén, Argentina, with views of Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and Glaciar Grande.

In this Post

About the Hike

People often ask what our favourite hike in Argentina is and this one is a clear winner.

It links the Laguna de Los Tres trek (Fitz Roy) and the Cerro Torre/Glaciar Grande hikes, both at the heart of Argentina’s Parque Nacional los Glaciares (Glacier National Park). We gave the hike this name as we couldn’t find a name for it.

The Giants Trail is a beautifully scenic and enjoyable hike, spending 3 days deep in nature and providing spectacular views of the famous Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre mountain ranges.

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Laguna Torre with Cerro Torre in the background. Water is full of broken ice bergs locally called "Tempanos". El Chaltén, Argentina
Day 3: Laguna Torre

Hike Overview - The Headlines

  • Our favourite hike we did in Patagonia 
  • We completed the hike in late February 2023 and were lucky to find a good weather window with sunshine and low winds. 
  • Having an idea of weather forecast and offline maps ahead of the trail will help in planning what to take. See below for our recommendations on apps and gear.
  • As of 2023, pre-booking for campsites was not required and camping at each site was free. There is no charge for this hike, but it’s worth arriving at campsites early in peak season to secure a pitch.
  • We had all our camping gear with us, so didn’t rent. There are plenty of places to rent from in El Chaltén.
  • Solo hiking is definitely an option and route is well sign-posted. Timeframes on signs are inaccurate and for us, it took longer than indicated.
  • Campsites along the route have no facilities except a very old composting toilet. Ensure to follow Leave No Trace principles, especially when going to the toilet in the woods.
  • Early starts (we started 9-10am) help in avoiding crowds and securing a good camping spot. Sunrise hikes are really worth it for the first (Fitz) and the last (Cerro Torre) legs, but we didn’t do any and still had a great experience.
  • For seasoned hikers, it’s not a really challenging route, although the hike up to Laguna de los Tres may be tiring (our times were longer than those advertised for the route).
  • If you don’t hike much, be ready to challenge yourself on the hike up to Laguna de los Tres. It says 1 hour, but in reality it’s more like 2-3hrs. 
  • We hiked to Mirador Maestri near Cerro Torre to see Glacier Grande on day 3 – it was definitely worth it.
Maxine and Theo in front of Laguna Torre with the Glacier Grande and Cerro Torre Mountain Ranges in the background. Parque Nacional Lost Glaciares (Glacier National Park), Argentina
Day 3: View of Glacier Grande from Mirador Maestri

When to go

Top Tip: Patagonian weather is highly unpredictable and there are no guarantees of ‘good’ weather. We were lucky with our weather window and were able to wait for a sunny stretch, but some hikers do the hike and don’t necessarily get the views due to low lying clouds or unexpected weather. The experience is still worth it in our opinion. 

Making your first stop to the Tourist Information Centre upon arrival to El Chaltén to get their useful and current updates on routes, weather and safety is essential.

  • The best time to hike in El Chaltén according to our preferences was December to April. December to February is the Argentinian and Chilean summer holiday season. The weather is warmer and it is also the busiest time of year. 
  • By late February-April, the winds have died down somewhat and although there is a higher chance of rain, the weather can still be sunny and it’s a lot less busy
  • We went at the end of February and found the perfect weather window (low winds and sunny days) which meant we could hike in a t-shirt, sweat up to the Laguna de los Tres and carry a lighter sleeping bag. It was also easy to secure a camping spot at both campsites as there were less people hiking.
Laguna de Los Tres, with the Fitz Roy range in the background. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glacier National Park), El Chalten, Patagonia - Argentina
Day 2: Laguna de los Tres

The Giants Trail: Our Schedule

In the summer, days in Patagonia are very long so that helped us a lot. See the breakdown of each leg of the route we took below, with a start and duration time. 

We didn’t make any of the legs for sunrise, but some do. Those that we met who got up early took very warm jackets or sleeping bags with them and came back really happy that they got up early.

Day 1: 10 km
El Chaltén to Poincenot Camp
Start time: 2pm
Took us: 4 hr 20 in total

Day 2: 17 km
Poincenot Camp
to Laguna de los Tres (Fitz Roy range view)
Laguna de los Trés to De Agostini Camp
Start time: 9:30am
Took us: 8 hrs in total (including lunch break)

Day 3: 16 km
De Agostini Camp to Laguna Torre (Cerro Torre view)
Laguna Torre to Mirador Maestri (Glacier
Grande view)
Mirador Maestri to El Chaltén.
Start time: 9:30am
Took us: 8 hrs in total (including lunch break)

Useful apps

Download our El Chaltén Giants Trail GPX files to help with offline navigation.

Maxine and Theo kitted out for a three day hiking trip standing against a backdrop of mountains and the Rio de las Las Vueltas valley in El Chaltén. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glacier National Park), Argentina.
Day 1: El Chaltén to Poincenot Camp

What gear to take

Top Tip: This depends on the time of year and recent weather conditions. Below are some considerations, including a downloadable packing checklist and our top gear picks

  • Whether you are experienced or beginner, we still recommend bringing hiking sticks. They will help with the ascent/descent, and will certainly make your hike safer, especially if it’s wet. At least 1 per person is recommended.
  • Sunblock is essential in these latitudes as the sun is really strong there, even if cloudy.
  • We took repellant with us, but this time we didn’t use any and didn’t see any mosquitos.
  • Although in the summer months the days can be warmer, the nights can still go below 0ºC, so we recommend a sleeping bag for -5ºC. A compression dry sack helps to reduce the amount of space a sleeping bag takes up in the backpack considerably.
  • There are no real facilities except an old composting toilet at the campsites. Remember Leave No Trace poop kit, bin bags and enough food for the entire 3 days of hiking.
  • Freeze dried food is best as it’s light and only normally requires hot water to make the meal. We don’t have UK recommendations, but if you are coming from the US we recommend Mountain House meals.
  • Bin bags are essential to store rubbish and keep the mice away. As a general principle, it’s best to keep all food away from the tent and up high. There were some screws on some of the trees at the campsites to hang them from. 

Packing checklist

Download your free packing checklist for El Chaltén Giants Trail!​

Our Gear Picks

Wishing you a great hike and let us know if you have any questions!