trek el bolson Trek El Bolson

A Guide to Trekking in El Bolson, Patagonia

This page was last updated on: 06 August, 2018

El Bolson refuges and the treks between them

There are 13 refuges in El Bolson and the main trekking routes connect them. There are options from just a single day upwards. Make sure you bring a sleeping bag to stay in the refuges. Camping is permitted but only at the designated camp grounds next to each refuge. Camping costs vary but includes use of the toilet facilities.

The trekking season in El Bolson is November to March, during this time all the refuges should be open. The following refuges are usuall open year round: Piltriquitron, Cajon Azul, Troncanada, Retamal, Cerro Lindo (access to refuge no warden). Please check at the tourist info center before heading out as these details may change.

Note: I haven't been to El Bolson for a fair few years, so although the site was updated in 2018, the information contained within the site may be outdated. Please double check the infomation before travelling/trekking!


Refugio Hielo Azul (1300m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 5 - 7 hours / 1200m ascent (from the trail head at camping Doña Rosa)
Refugio Altitude 1450m
Access: Camping Doña Rosa
Nearest Refugios Refugio Natacion (1 Hour)
Notes Excellent toilet facilities! Hot showers available at addition cost
Side Trips From the refugio to the lake at the base of the glacier (grade - hard)
Website http://www.hieloazul.com.ar/

A beautiful refuge with excellent facilites including hot showers (additional charge) and flushing toilets.

For the adventeuous the trip to the lake and glacier is a must (steep, loose trail). It is a 3 hour round trip from the refuge. Refuge warden will give more info and a small map.

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Refugio Natacion (1400m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 1000m ascent / 4 - 6 hours (from the trail head at Wharton)
Refugio Altitude 1450m
Access: Wharton
Nearest Refugios Refugio Hielo Azul (1 Hour), Cajon Azul (3 hours)
Notes They have kayaks available for use on the lake
Side Trips From the refugio to the summit of Cerro Hielo Azul 2245m - Full day (grade - probably hard)
Website

On the edge of the Lake Natacion the starting point for ascents of the nearby Cerro Hielo Azul (2245m).

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Refugio Cajon de Azul (600m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 4 - 5 hours / 300m ascent (From the trail head at Wharton)
Refugio Altitude 600m
Access: Wharton
Nearest Refugios El Retamal (40 mins), La Playita (90mins), Refugio Natacion (4 Hours)
Notes  
Side Trips From the refugio to some caves (apparently not that worthwhile!)
Website  

A family run refuge, open year round.

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Refugio El Retamal (750m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 5 - 7 hours / 450m ascent (from the trail head at Wharton)
Refugio Altitude 750m
Access: Wharton
Nearest Refugios Refugio Cajon Azul (40 mins), Refugio Playita (1.5 hours), Refugio Dedo Gordo (3 ½ Hours), Refugio Laguitos (5 hours)
Notes Open year round. Side trip to view point up the valley
Side Trips From the refugio ½ trip to a col for a great view up the valley
Website https://www.facebook.com/refugioelretamal

An beautiful owner operated refuge, open year round.

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Refugio Los Laguitos (1150m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 6 - 8 hours / 550m ascent (from Cajon Azul)
Refugio Altitude 1,150m
Access: Wharton
Nearest Refugios El Retamal (5 -7 hours), Refugio Cajon Azul (6 -8 hours mins), Encanto Blanco (7 - 9 hours)
Notes The remotest of all the refugios, with a new large extension finished December 2011.
Check Cerro Año Nuevo conditions with hut warden, many not be accessible until
January due to snow.
Side Trips Side trip to view point up the valley to Lago Soberania / Lago Escondido & Cerro Año Nuevo (1997m) (late in the season when the snow had melted)
Website  

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Refugio Encanto Blanco (850m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 2½ - 3½ hours / 300m ascent (from the trail head Famillia Tilleria)
Refugio Altitude 850m
Access: Familliar Tilleria (AR$50 in taxi from El Bolson) Orange colored wood gate saying Encanto Blanco
Nearest Refugios Perito Moreno (3 -4 hours), Refugio los Laguitos (7 -9 hours), Refugio El Retamal (7 -9 hours)
Notes A less frequently visited refuge but very welcoming and just 100m from the river
Side Trips From the refugio ¼ trip to small waterfall and viewpoint up the valley
Website  

A quiet refuge with grassy lawn and close to the river.

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Refugio Cerro Linda (1450m)

At a glance

Trekking Time 5 - 7 hours / 1200m ascent (From the trail head at Camping Rio Azul)
Refugio Altitude 1450m
Access: Rio Azul Campsite
Nearest Refugios None!
Notes Trek in and out the same route
Side Trips From the refugio to the summit of Cerro Lindo 2112 (grade - easy)
Website

A 5 - 7 hours ascent to the refuge just below the tree line. There is an option to hike to the summit of Cerro Lindo (2112m).

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Refugio Playita & La Tronconada

At a glance

Trekking Time 3 hours / 250m ascent (from the trail head at Wharton)
Refugio Altitude  
Access: Wharton
Nearest Refugios Refugio Cajon Azul (40 mins)
Notes  
Side Trips  
Website  

There refugios are both a short distance apart and close to Cajon Azul.

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Map

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The information contained within this site is no substitute for a qualified Mountain Guide and the site author accepts no responsibility for inaccurate or outdated information (nor omission of information), nor any accident or injury sustained while carrying out the treks described on the site. This website has no affiliation with any of the refuges nor business mentioned within it and does not receive commission not operate in any way for commercial gain.

Text & Images Copyright © Trek El Bolson 2011 - 2018 | Trekking Guide to El Bolson, Patagonia.
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