One of the most well-known landmarks in South America, Mount Fitz Roy has been an emblem of Patagonia for many years. It’s easy to see why this mountain has become so well known.
At 3,375 m, the soaring rock formations stand out like jagged peaks, creating one of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.
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Also known as Cerro Chaltén, Mount Fitz Roy is located on the border between Argentina and Chile near the village of El Chaltén on the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The mountain was first climbed by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone in 1952 and remains to this day, one of the most difficult ascents on the planet.
The Fitz Roy trek is generally around 30km in length and takes 3-4 days to complete depending on how much walking you wish to do each day. Whilst the landscape is one of rugged beauty, the weather is just as rugged with high winds and frequent storms. Make sure you bring the necessary gear to deal with this.
The trek begins near the bustling trekking village of El Chaltén and hikers take a trail around the famous mountain whilst also visiting the Cerro Torre base camp. Hikers are exposed to some of the most breathtaking scenes on earth and, depending on the season you trek, you’ll see stunning flora and fauna throughout the national park.
The trek is considered an easy multi-day hike and only a basic level of fitness is required. There is no altitude risks as the elevation of the trek stays fairly regular throughout, the trails are well defined and there are ranger station dotted along the path. All this means that the Fitz Roy is an ideal option for inexperienced trekkers.
The Fitz Roy Trek is situated in the Los Glaciares National Park near the southern tip of South America. The park itself is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales and 312 km north of Punta Arenas. Map courtesy of Elchalten.com
The best map we have found for the Fitz Roy Trek is the Monte Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre: Trekking-Mountaineering and Lago Del Desierto: Trekking – Travel Map.
The map provides a compressive satellite relief, contour lines, shelters, timed trails, camping and inns.
Below is a detailed Fitz Roy Trek itinerary. Please note that this is a typical Fitz Roy Trek itinerary. There are sometimes great differences in trek length depending on weather and trekking experience. The itinerary provided is the standard 4 day trek option.
Click each day to read more.
Today you drive to El Chaltén – a tiny village on the edge of Los Glaciares National Park. Check in to your hotel and get a good rest as your trek begins tomorrow!
Today is the beginning of your hike as you trek to Laguna Los Tres all the while getting stunning views of Mount Fitz Roy.
The trail begins by winding its way to Laguna Capri where you pass the lake’s northern corner.
From there you follow the path uphill to Blanco River, passing Poicenot – the mountaineering camp. From the camp its short, steep trail up to one of the park’s most famous locations, Laguna de Los Tres.
The famed turquoise-blue lagoon sits idyllically below the granite spires of Fitz Roy and makes for a photographers dream! You have lunch here then head back down the trail to Poicenot where you camp overnight.
After a leisurely breakfast, you will begin your day by hiking along the Fitzroy trail up to Rio Blanco.
Here is the climbers’ base camp where mountaineers begin their epic climb.
From this vantage point you’ll be as close to Mount Fitz Roy as you can get without climbing it and you’ll be able to stare straight up at the towering spires that rise over 1500 meters above the surrounding glaciers.
After having lunch at the base camp you then descend back down to Poincenot Camp where you stay overnight once again.
Take a nice breakfast before exploring the trail around Laguna Capri as you head to Lagoons Madre within the stunning Hija Valley.
After having a long lunch, take the trail down to the Fitzroy River Valley where join onto the Cerro Torre Trail.
Once on the trail you trek to Laguna Torre which sit below the famous Cerro Torre group like something out of a postcard!
After taking in the spectacular scenery, you then trek back to El Chaltén where your trek ends.
A great video overview of the Fitz Roy Trek Backpacker Steve. The video gives a great sense of the type of landscapes encountered along the trek and is 3:00 long.
The one guide book that stands above all others is Los Glaciares National Park Travel & Trekking Guide: Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, Patagonian Ice Cap, Patagonia, Calafate, Chalten by Colin Henderson.
Other guide books available include Fodor’s Chile: with Easter Island & Patagonia (Travel Guide), and Backpacking in Chile: Travel Guide & Trekking Guide for Independent Travelers.
Spring – September to November
this is a great time of year to visit the park if you want warm, clear weather but without the crowds. Although not quite as warm as the summer months, the skies are often clear and you’ll get stunning views across the park. This is also the best season to see flowering flora in the region and witness the breeding season of the wildlife.
Summer – December to March
This is the high season. Although the trails are at their capacity now, the weather is also at its warmest and you’ll get the most clear days on your trek. If you’re the active type, then summer is also the period when you can horse ride, kayak and mountain bike alongside your trek!
Fall – March to June
Our favourite season. The landscape comes alive with colour and the trails start to empty out as days become colder. The wind is often ferocious, but the spectacularly beautiful views are worth it!
Winter – June to August
Although the majority of refugios are closed during this period, this season has the benefit of being the most quiet. there will be very few other visitors and you’ll have many of the trails to yourself. This is the coldest period though and you will certainly experience cold nights and high winds.
The cost of a Fitz Roy Trek varies depending on when you book flights, when you trek (out of season tends to be a little cheaper) and whether to trek with a local or western trekking agency, or independently.
You should budget for the following key expenses:
Total Costs: $2,000 – $4,000
No, no permits are required to enter Los Glaciares National Park.
The Fitz Roy Trek is not considered a difficult trek at all as the trail length is relatively short and the elevation remains fairy steady. The trek is the ideal starting point for inexperienced trekkers and only a basic level of fitness is required to complete it. Saying that, there is the occasional steep section and each day you will be walking for a good 3-4 hours.
There is almost no risk of altitude sickness on the Fitz Roy Trek. The trail never comes close to the altitude needed to bring on altitude sickness.
See our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation for more details.
Trekking the Fitzroy Trail does requires a certain amount of essential pieces of trekking clothing and equipment. The Fitzroy Trek is a multi day trek that travels through a number of landscapes.
Many pieces of equipment can be rented at the park entrance, but we recommend bringing the most important pieces of gear with you.
To help you plan and prepare for your trek we have written a detailed gear list.
Trekking insurance is always a must. Although unlikely, accidents do happen and can cost a lot of money, especially when you consider the cost of rescue from remote destinations. It is also a great idea to take out travel insurance for other related risks of travel such as loss of baggage, stolen gear, delays and damaged equipment.
Check out World Nomads for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip.