trekking in bariloche, patagonia This page was last updated on: 14 January, 2017

Before heading into the mountains check up-to-date trail info, & register your trek intentions with the National Park office in Bariloche, Pampa Linda or online.

Frey por el Filo (Ridge walk to Refugio Frey)

The best one day trek in the Nahuel Huapi National Park! A combination of rugged mountains, cool lakes and pleasant forest. Excellent views to Monte Tronador (3484m)


From Cerro Catedral, take the Gondola 'Amancay' then the 'Diente de Caballo' chairlift to the top; follow the track about 1km as it that gradually ascends, with the last 100m of steeper ascent over loose scree to the pass. Ascent $375 (Jan 2017) lift details. When you purchase your lift tickets you will probably be asked to sign a register so they have a record of who is doing the trail - this is different from the free/obligitory National Park trekking registration.

At the pass you have spectacular views over the Rucaco valley and the mighty glaciated Monte Tronador (3484m) in the distance. From the pass, the start of the trail is fairly obvious but is over loose rock and scree, it first descends to a section of easy scrambling then it's a traverse following red dots painted on the rocks until you reach 'Roca Inclinada' after about 2 hours. Pass through the 'Cancha de Futbol' (football pitch) an interesting flat (like a football pich - use a bit of imagination) col between the two valleys.

Still following the red dots, drop down (easy scramble) to Laguna Schmoll, then walk anticlockwise around the lake for about 200m to a large minibus sized rock on the edge of the lake (there is a plaque on this rock). From here the trail follows the left hand side of the small stream flowing out of Laguna Schmall and zig-zags down one of numerous paths into the valley below. The trail then countinues either to the left of the Laguna Toncek or crosses the flat bottomed valley to the right hand side of the laguna (take your pick!) arriving at Refugio Frey on the Eastern shore of the Laguna Toncek.

Most people return via the normal route, descending through the forest, about 3 - 4 hours to the base of the ski resort at Villa Catedral.

Water: The outlet of Laguna Schmoll, but this is only about 30 minutes before the refuge so bring with you what you need. If you take the chairlift you can stop in one of the cafes and buy bottled water and fizzy drinks etc.

Is the stream water safe to drink? As with any mountain region where lots of people trek, there will be pollution of water sources. The refuges provide safe drinking water; whilst out on the trails I would recommend treating water from streams found in the more popular areas and taking other water sources on a case by case basis depending on the stream source.

Camping / Mountain Huts

Refugio Frey ($25 to camp) RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL. Refugio Frey prices


Bariloche - Villa Catedral (Cerro Catedral ski resort): During summer there are public buses (Bus no. 55) about once an hour between 7.00am and 8.00pm starting from the Bus terminal, passing through the centre of Bariloche then alternately going along Avenida Bustillo and Avenida Pioneros. The bus doesn't have a number but instead has a sign in the window saying 'Cerro Catedral'. The cost is (ask at the Tourist Info or Mountain Info centres for up to date prices) per person one way, payable in cash; alternatively you can pre purchase tickets at the bus company offices. Get off at the last stop in the huge car park at the base of the ski resort.

If arriving by car you can park in the main ski resort car park at Villa/Cerro Catedral. The car park is generally a very safe place to leave your car.

Unfortunately security is becoming more of an issue each year. Never leave anything in view in your car not even a jacket on the back seat, and never leave your equipment or any valuables in the car if you can help it....this also includes downtown Bariloche where break-ins have even been taking place in the busy main street.

Photo Gallery

(click images to enlarge)

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Frey por el Filo (pink trail 2) filo

The information contained on this website 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 here. This website has no affiliation with any of the refuges or businesses mentioned within it and does not receive commission or operate in any way for commercial gain.

Text & Images Copyright © Trek Bariloche 2006 - 2017 | Nahuel Huapi National Park, Trekking Guide to Bariloche, Patagonia.
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