Cerro Fitz Roy is one of the most recognizable—and one of the most dangerous—mountains in southern Patagonia.
Also known as Monte Fitz Roy, this impressive mountain is situated between Argentina and Chile in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, and it is undeniably one of the most beautiful hiking areas in Patagonia. Francisco Moreno first saw the mountain in 1877, and he named it after Robert FitzRoy, captain of the HMS Beagle, who, alongside Charles Darwin, charted much of the Patagonian coast in the 1830’s. Cerro Fitz Roy is now part of Los Glaciares National Park, and it is a major attraction for visitors from around the world.
The mountain can be seen from the nearby little village of El Chaltén, but the most spectacular vistas can only be accessed on foot by hiking the many trails surrounding the peak. Hikers can do day-treks, or they can rent camping gear and spend days exploring the area and meeting people along the way. The trails wind through incredibly diverse landscapes of beautifully wooded areas, open fields, and massive boulders. These paths lead to a number of pristine lakes with glaciers and the peaks of Fitz Roy serving as their backdrops. The glacial water in the streams and lakes along the hikes is potable. One thing to be sure not to miss is a sunrise hike to Lago de los Tres to see Fitz Roy lit up in the color of pink roses.
The hikes range in difficulty from easy to challenging, so it is best to ask locals for advice in the visitor center of El Chaltén before setting out. The months between November and April are the best times to visit, but weather can be bad in this area and almost impossible to predict.
Know Before You Go
From El Calafate take a 4.5 hour bus ride to El Chalten where the trail heads are