Chorrillo del Salto: A Waterfall Hike Near El Chaltén

After a long and cold hike and camping trip near the base of Fitz Roy, we were glad to find a shorter and easier trail for the next day. Chorrillo del Salto is a beautiful waterfall not too far outside of El Chaltén. While it may not be as jaw-dropping gorgeous as some of the other hikes in the area, we enjoyed the falls and the stroll from town. Here are the details of getting to the falls.

The beautiful Chorrillo del Salto Falls
The beautiful Chorrillo del Salto Falls

Starting the Trail to Chorrillo del Salto

One of the great things about El Chaltén is that many incredible hikes can be accessed by walking directly from town. The walk to Chorrillo del Salto begins from the same parking lot as the trail to Fitz Roy at the far north end of town.

If you have a car and don’t want to walk as far, you can alternatively drive north on Route 23 from El Chaltén to another parking lot on the left. This lot is less than ten minutes from the edge of town. There is a short trail from the lot that leads to the falls.

Beautiful views over the river that flows by El Chaltén
Beautiful views over the river that flows by El Chaltén

The Hike to Chorrillo del Salto

Hike Overview:

Hike Type: Easy out-and-back trail

Distance: 4.2 miles (6.8 kilometers) roundtrip from the edge of El Chaltén, about 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) from the parking lot outside of town to the falls

Duration: 2-3 hours if walking from El Chaltén

Regulations: No swimming. Drones are not permitted

Our Hike

We began the hike to Chorrillo del Salto on a brisk winter morning. After hiking through a blizzard higher up in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares the day before, we were happy to have a clear sunny morning. It was especially beautiful glistening off the frost-covered landscape.

Frosty detail
Frosty detail

The path to the waterfalls winds just above the road for most of the hike. There was a section where the path met the road and we had to walk along it for a bit. Being there in the winter, we hardly encountered any cars. However, Lia’s parents walked to the falls during their visit in the summer and said the road was quite busy.

The trail may not be as amazing as some of the other hikes in the park, but we still enjoyed the views of the distant peaks and winding, milky-blue river along the way. Eventually, the trail met the parking lot near the falls. From this lot, it was only another few minutes of walking to the falls.

The view looking out from below Chorrillo del Salto
The view looking out from below Chorrillo del Salto

Chorrillo del Salto is truly beautiful! A significant amount of water was plunging off the dark rock, creating a roaring sound in the alcove where we stood. We had the place to ourselves on that quiet winter morning. The sun was still low in the sky, and the mist from the pouring water and the breeze in the canyon made the shaded area below the falls a little chilly!

We enjoyed the falls for a bit before heading back to El Chaltén.

Chorrillo del Salto plunges about 20 meters (65 feet) from the cliffs above
Chorrillo del Salto plunges about 20 meters (65 feet) from the cliffs above

What to Bring

Sturdy Shoes: The trail is fairly flat and easy, but mud or snow can make the trail more difficult to navigate. The wet rocks around the falls can also be a bit slick

Camera: The falls are a lovely place to shoot some photos

Water: This isn’t a long hike, but it’s always a good idea to bring water

Layers: Even in the summer, it can be chilly, especially with the mist from the waterfall. Bring or wear layers that are easy to take on or off. In the winter, heavier jackets may be needed. A beanie and gloves are good to pack in the winter as well.

Sun Protection: Some of the trail is shaded but bring sunglasses, a hat, and/or sunscreen to protect your eyes and skin.  

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