Laguna Torre, with the optional extension to Mirador Maestri along the Senda a Laguna Torre, is alongside the Senda al Fitz Roy. Both stunning trails are highly recommended if you are visiting Argentine Patagonia and Los Glaciares National Park. Cerro Torre towers dramatically over 8,000 feet above the Torre Glacier, and Laguna Torre is a powerful sight to behold. The top of the mountain gets such strong winds that a mushroom of rime ice forms just below the summit, making this one of the most difficult lower elevation mountains to climb in the world.
There is some controversy around the first ascent, claimed by Cesare Maestri in 1959, who is the namesake for the viewpoint. Follow-up ascents did not see evidence of the climbing route that Maestri supposedly took to the summit. Most information does not agree with his account of the route, and the first recognized summit was not until 1974 by an Italian team.
The trail starts in town along with the similar Senda al Fitz Roy Trail, though this one leaves to the southwestern side of El Chalten. It begins by climbing at a reasonable incline toward the Dos Condores viewpoint, which branches off to the left. Rio Fitz Roy carves a dramatic canyon down to the south of the trail as well, which makes for a stark contrast to the dense forests and alpine lake zones later on in the hike. After cresting the first high point, the trail drops about 200 feet into a mixture of prairie meadows and light forest before entering a denser forest over a couple miles.
Corre Torre will start to present itself in the distance, and it is an unmistakable beacon that guides you toward your destination. At around mile 5 the trail will more closely hug the river to your left, marking your proximity to Laguna Torre. In two-thirds of a mile the trail enters a boulder field with a fairly tall moraine that surrounds the lake. Climbing the moraine provides a tremendous view of the whole lake and range, but for extra credit it is suggested to continue to the right along the ridge of the moraine to Mirador Maestri. The final viewpoint has an unsurpassed overhead view of the headwall of the glacier along the lake and the surrounding peaks. Continue back the way you came to Chalten. Given another day or two, it is possible to turn this and the Senda al Fitz Roy Trail into a larger loop for backpacking.