A great introduction to the National Park and one of the more straight forward treks with a wide variety of scenery, with forests, steams, lakes and towering peaks.
From the bus stop in the huge car park at the base of the Cerro Catedral ski resort, look for the wooden sign with 'FREY' written in big letters and the wooden carved backpacker (see photo below). The trail starts here. Head along the track away from the ski resort; after about 100m take the smaller trail signed off to the right. It crosses over the a vehicle track after about another 200m then forks to the right. Keep an eye out for the small signs bringing you onto the main trail. Follow this main trail, it's a very well marked path with excellent wooden and metal footbridges crossing a number of small stereams for about 1½ - 2 hours until you reach the path junction with the trail coming from Los Coihues. Keep heading up the valley for about another 1½ - 2 hours as the path starts to ascent into the forest, first crossing over the Van Titter stream on a larger metal footbridge, past Refugio Piedritas (a small shelter) before coming out above the tree line for the final kilometer to Refugio Frey.
Also consider doing Frey por el Filo and returning via this route.
You can also start at Camping Lago Gutierrez (just outside Los Coihues). The path goes parallel but much lower down to the main trail, joining this main trail after about 2½ hours. Public transport goes to Los Cohiues (Bus no. 50) which is about 2 kms from the campsite. This route adds about another 250m of ascent.
Water: Early in the season there are a few streams in the first 5km of the trail (note: some of these are run off from the ski slopes above), but they tend to dry up as the summer season progresses. The trail crosses a bridge over the Van Titter stream and this is the last option for water before arriving at refugio Frey.
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.
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.
Bariloche - Los Coihues. The trail starts about 2km from the bus stop! Buses every 20 minutes. Bus number 50. NOTE: You will need a rechargable bus pass or prepaid bus ticket to take this service. Ask at the Tourist Info or Mountain Info centres for up to date bus prices, and where to purchase tickets.
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.
|Duration:||1 day (trekking times)|
|Distance:||24 km's return|
|Access:||Easy - hourly public bus|
|Park Entrance $:||None|
|Notes:||Easy one day trek|
Refugio Frey (green trail 1) , alternative route (green trail 0)
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.