El Chalten Piedra del Fraile Full-Day Trek
When you arrive to the lookout at the end of this trek you can see the Eléctrico valley to the west and to the south the north face of Cerro Chaltén, and the Mermoz and Guillaumet needles.
- Start: Hosteria Pilar (located 17km north of El Chalten village)
- End: Piedra del Fraile
- Grade of difficulty: Medium Difficulty.
- Distance from Hosteria del Pilar to Piedra de Fraile: 15.4 km, return.
- Trek Time: 6hrs, return.
- If camping you need to bring your own gear.
- Experience Required: You need to be reasonably fit. No trekking experience required, but you should be accustomed to long walks, and trekking poles are recommended.
- Season: All year round, but in the winter, it depends on conditions.
In order to get to the starting point of this trail you have to take a shuttle from El Chalten to Hosteria el Pilar - 17km from El Chalten. There are daily buses to the trailhead.
The beginning of the trip is on foot or following a path to the west. You will cross an open area without slopes, dotted with rocks, bushes and low ñires, where you will find some coloured marks on the stones that indicate the path. In less than half an hour of starting you will already be walking inside the lenga forest, very close to the mighty electric river, in an area protected from the wind.
The path is always close to the river, and it is gaining height very slowly.
After two hours of starting the hike, you will arrive at the Piedra del Fraile facilities located next to the Electrico river, with a camping site, a sleeping area and a small restaurant.
Ten minutes from Piedra del Fraile facilities it's located the Piedra del Fraile natural viewpoint, which is reached by a path that rapidly gains height. From this lockout you can see the Eléctrico valley to the west and to the south the north face of Cerro Chaltén, and the Mermoz and Guillaumet needles.
During the trip you will have magnificent views of Andes Mountains, views of the different granite peaks which characterize the area and a view of Marconi Path, doorway to Continental Ice fields
To return you must hike again along the path to the Hosteria del Pilar and take the bus back to El Chalten.
Click on map for larger image