Ice Hike on Glacier Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno Glacier, Lago Argentino, Argentina

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    300 Feet

Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

A surreal experience walking across seemingly endless glacial ice. You'll feel like you've been transported to another planet.

The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the big draws in El Calafate, Argentina and all of Patagonia.  Once you see it for yourself, you'll understand why - it's easily viewable from a series of well-constructed walkways, the glacier shines vibrant blue when the sun hits it and there are constant ruptures sending huge chunks of ice into the surrounding lake.  If you want to view the glacier from a distance and take photos, there's an adventure for doing that here

If you're up for it, I highly recommend you do some hiking on the glacier. The two options are Mini-Trekking or the Big Ice, and both have age restrictions.  Mini-trekking is for 10-65 year olds and gives you about 1.5 hours on the ice.  The Big Ice is restricted to 18-50 year olds but gives you around 3.5 hours on the ice.  If you have the option, definitely do the Big Ice.  You'll venture much further into the center of the glacier and while 3.5 hours might seem like a long time to hike on ice, it flies by.

The Big Ice hike is a long day, usually from about 7am-7pm.  It starts with a pick-up from your lodging on a bus that drives you two hours into the park.  From there you'll have to pay the 330 ARS park entrance fee (in local currency, make sure you get this ahead of time) before continuing on to the viewpoints.  After an hour wandering the viewpoints, you're driven by the same bus to a boat, which ferries you across the lake and to the side of the glacier.  Here you'll have a chance to leave anything you don't want to carry all day at the ranger station and use the last flush toilets.  Then it's an hour hike uphill to the start of the ice trekking.

At the ice trekking start, you'll be outfitted with a harness and crampons by your guide, given one last chance to use the composting toilet and then it's off to the ice.  Walking across the ice was a surreal experience.  It feels like you're on a distant planet or maybe down in Antartica, as you're surrounded by undulating hills of ice stretching out across the horizon.  You'll walk for about two hours before your guide will find a good spot for lunch.   We passed ice caves, blue lagoons and deep crevices on our journey to the center of the glacier.  Then it's another hour slowly making your way back to side of the glacier before removing your crampons and hiking back down to the boat.  On the boat, you'll be greeted with a scotch poured over glacial ice.

After the long day, we were famished and ended up splurging on the all you can eat BBQ at our hostel America del Sur (insane views, super helpful staff, definitely recommend it).  The Big Ice trek is really expensive at 4,000 ARS but totally worth it. 

Pack List

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hiking Shoes (or Cross Trainers but they might get wet)
  • Water
  • Gloves (required)
  • Quick Dry Pants
  • Lunch / Snacks (not provided, bring your own)
  • Money for park entrance fee (in local currency)
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Greater place ever!

8 months ago
8 months ago

Will Cebron Explorer

Venice, CA is home but I'm usually on the go. @wcebron everywhere.

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