Backpacking Patagonia: Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

This remote mountain region in southwest Argentina offers some of the most spectacular scenery you could imagine.

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

There's no easy way to make the trip down to this remote mountain region in southwest Argentina, but if you're willing to make the journey to Los Glaciares, you'll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular scenery you could imagine!

Road-Trip-Worthy Landscapes

Los Glaciares National Park covers almost 3,000 square miles of land along the eastern Austral Andes. If you’re trying to cover both the northern and southern regions of the park, you’ll end up taking a short road trip along the scenic RP23 that runs north of Lago Viedma to El Chalten.

El Chalten

This hidden little mountain town was founded in the '80s and has flourished over the years as tourism traffic to the national park increases. El Chalten is the launching point for adventures in the Fitz Roy region of the park and is a perfect base since it’s filled with great restaurants, breweries and scenery. (Tip: ATMs are in short supply, so be sure to bring plenty of cash with you when venturing to this remote spot.)

Rio de las Vueltas

Also known as the Gatica River, the meandering Rio de las Vueltas runs past El Chalten, and is part of the Santa Cruz River Basin.

Glaciar Piedras Blancas

Piedras Blancas is a beautiful hanging glacier that often gets overlooked due to the more popular hikes to Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre just south of it.

Campamento Poincenot

The views are perfect and the camping is free, but you will inevitably be sharing with countless other campers since it's required to set up in one of the designated camping areas.

View of Fitz Roy from Campamento Poincenot

This view totally makes the crowded camping worth it!

Cerro Fitz Roy

Fitz Roy is the iconic peak of Argentinian Patagonia, and inspired the logo for the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia. It undoubtedly ranks as one of my favorite treks to date (a tough award to receive)!

Laguna Sucia

Laguna Sucia lies to the southeast of Fitz Roy and is the larger of the two aqua lakes at its base.

Laguna de las Tres

Laguna de las Tres lies to the northeast of Fitz Roy and is the smaller of the two aqua lakes at its base. The main trail leads you directly to its shoreline.

Cerro Torre

Just south of Fitz Roy is the second most popular summit in the region, Cerro Torre.

Campamento Agostini

Campamento Agostini is the designated camping area at the base of Cerro Torre and is nestled in a small forested area tucked between Laguna Torre and the Rio Fitz Roy.

Laguna Torre

While it doesn’t sport the perfect turquoise coloring of Laguna Sucia or Laguna de las Tres, the rocky iceberg-laden shore of Laguna Torre is still a sight to behold with Cerro Torre towering in the background.

Glaciar Grande

If you have time, hike along the northeast edge of Laguna Torre to Mirador Maestri. You can get full views of the otherwise partially obscured Glaciar Grande that flows into the lake from the southwest.

Wildlife - Foxes

There aren’t many mammals that inhabit this region, but there are two types of foxes that can be seen on occasion, the culpeo (Red Fox) and chilla (Grey Fox).

El Calafate

Situated on the southern shore of Lake Argentino, El Calafate is the largest city in the region and most likely a place you'll spend some time if you're visiting Los Glaciares. Pictured is Reserva Laguna Nimez, a small nature reserve on the northern edge of town, and a beautiful spot to view the diverse array of birds that inhabit this area.

El Calafate - Dining

I don’t think there's a bad meal (or glass of wine) to be had in this town. Some of my favorite spots to refuel were Mi Rancho, MAKO and La Zorra.

Mirador Perito Moreno

There are series of viewing decks across from the expansive flow of the Perito Moreno Glacier that offer spectacular views of the towering ice walls. Perito Moreno is a nearly 100-square-mile ice formation that is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest freshwater reserve in the world.

Ice Calving

The ice is constantly shifting, and every few minutes you catch a block crashing into Lago Argentino. This piece was about the size of an SUV.

Boat Tours to Perito Moreno

If the boardwalks don’t get you as close to the ice sheet as you’d like, you can jump on one of the boat tours that offer a different perspective of the flow.

‘Brazo Rico’ Lake

Advancing ice flows have begun to dam up the Brazo Rico arm of Argentino Lake. With no outlet, water levels on that side of the flow can rise up to 100 feet above the level of the main lake.

Perito Moreno Ice Hike

To get a truly up close and personal experience on this alien glacial terrain, join one of the mini trekking tours that allow you to go out and explore the southeast edge of the glacier's terminus. Added bonus, tours end with a whiskey on (freshly chipped) rocks.

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