El Chaltén city, founded in 1985 by the National Government, has been recently declared Trekking National Capital. It is built in the Río de las Vueltas Valley, at the base of Fitz Roy Hill. The Fitz Roy was called “Chaltén” by the ‘Tehuelche' natives, this means “mountain that smokes”, as its top is usually covered by clouds and this gives the appearance of volcano in activity. Assorted paths depart from the city towards different natural wonders, among them: Tower Lagoon and Glacier, Capri Lake, Piedras Blancas and Chorillo del Salto Glacier. De los Tres Lake should be remarked, you reach this place after going upwards for 4 ½ or 5 hours, but you will get one of the best landscapes you have ever seen.
From el Chaltén, going upwards by a hill and having Fitz Roy Hill at one's side, we start walking up to Capri Lagoon, we take a winding way for around one hour and a half. The lake is a beautiful spot full of colour and of varied bird fauna, you can camp in this place. If the weather allows it, you can watch El Chaltén mountain chain.
Camping Base Río Blanco
White River Base campsite
From Capri Lagoon we go back to the path and we go ahead towards the Fitz Roy base, crossing various small streams. There you start enjoying true pleasure: the landscape becomes greener and greener, the mountain vegetation shows its majestic landscape; from time to time, the sound of a cascade becomes the background in this spectacular path. Before crossing White River, we reach the first campsite by taking a diversion. However, the ideal place to experience the high mountain environment is Base Río Blanco campsite (campsite only for climbers), which is located crossing the river. This campsite is framed by mountains, woods, and rivers. Only at one hour and a half away from this spot there is de los Tres Lake, which has the characteristic of being nearest the impressive wall, the Fitz Roy, where you can reach walking without special equipment. You can continue up to Electric River by the left side of White River and there you can find another spectacular place: Piedras Blancas Lake and Glacier.
Going up a small hill, a walk starts and it demands around 3 hours until we reach Tower Lagoon, a spectacular place for the visitor. You can camp only in “De Agostini” campsite, it is a beautiful spot that invites the traveller to relax. Tower Glacier and Hill can be contemplated from the lagoon. It is important to remark that there is a Trekking excursion on ice on the Glacier.
Chorrillo de Salto
There is an even 1-hour walk from El Chaltén to this place, taking a not very well signalled way, until we find a cascade falling down into a crystalline lagoon that is in the middle of the wood.
Lago del desierto
To the north of El Chaltén, Provincial route 23, we reach Lago del Desierto. This is an attractive destination for those who seek non-conventional trips and being in contact with nature. Las Vueltas River escorts us for 35 kms, and we will be able to gaze at the north wall of the Fitz Roy, which offers a totally different panoramic view from the ones we had in previous excursions. Then, we cross the bridges above Blanco and Eléctrico Rivers, and we continue on the west margin of Condor Lagoon. We can sail through del Desierto Lake for one hour and a half.
El Chaltén is a fascinating experience, above all for trekking lovers. Hanging glaciers and ancient woods make this place suitable for ecology and adventure tourism. To start these excursions and to interpret nature's secrets, we suggest the presence of a trekking guide. We also suggest staying at El Chaltén more than one day to be able to take advantage of all the activities it offers.