Laguna des los Tres in Los Glaciares National Park can be accessed via the Sendero al Fitz Roy Trail that leaves directly from El Chalten. This trek is one of the two extremely popular long day hikes that leaves from the edge of town. The views of Fitz Roy from Laguna des los Tres are nothing short of spectacular and inspire every feeling one could expect from the rugged backcountry of Patagonia. Monte Fitz Roy, standing at 3,505 meters with a prominence of 1,951 meters, is an ultra-prominent peak and one of the many iconic mountaineering objectives in Patagonia. So well known is the image of Monte Fitz Roy, it is the basis for the Patagonia outdoor gear company logo and the symbol for the provincial coat of arms of Santa Cruz.
Starting from the north side of town, the trail to Laguna des los Tres is fairly straightforward with good signage and two campgrounds with privy facilities that help make the long day more manageable. There are two major climbs on this trek, and the first one starts right away, ascending 300 meters in just over 1.5 kilometers. After it levels out you can expect around 5.6 kilometers of relatively level ground with which to regain your composure before the murderous 457-kilometer climb over the course of another 1.5 kilometers up steep and rocky switchbacks.
The detour to Laguna Capri is worth it on a clear day—or a bad one if you need to use the privy—with views of Fitz Roy over the lake and Cerro Huemul to the south, another prominent peak near El Chalten. Keep an eye on the weather as you approach the final switchbacks to Laguna des los Tres. Bad weather can come in at any time of the day, and the lake sits in a truly alpine environment without any protection from strong winds or lightning.
Enjoy the lake and views in all directions before coming back. Retrace your steps and consider going to Laguna Capri or vice versa so you can see something different. The great thing about this path is that you can typically leave from the front door of your hotel and return without too much extra walking and a renewed sense of appreciation for the beautiful setting of El Chalten.