• Kristina Foertsch

Part III - Trekking around Ushuaia (Argentina)

Aktualisiert: 5. Feb 2019

A week in Tierra del Fuego

Laguna Esmeralda, Tierra del Fuego
Laguna Esmeralda



This blog post will give you more details on Day 6 and 7 of our trip around Ushuaia, the part where we went back to official trails and explored two magnificent lakes.

ITINERARY (15. – 21. January 2018):

  1. Ushuaia – Cañadón and Paso de la Oveja – Lago del Caminante

  2. Lago del Caminate – Cerro Falso Tonelli – Lago del Caminate

  3. Lago del Caminante – Laguna de los Témpanos – Laguna Encantada

  4. Laguna Encantada – Lake at the end of Valle de Rio Chico

  5. Lake at the end of Valle de Rio Chico – Ruta 3 – Valle Carbajal

  6. Valle Carbajal – Refugio – Laguna Esmeralda

  7. Laguna Esmeralda – Glaciar del Albino/Laguna Ojo del Albino – Laguna Turquesa – Ushuaia

Map Tierra del Fuego, © OpenStreetMap-Contributors
Map Tierra del Fuego, © OpenStreetMap-Contributors


Laguna Esmeralda is one of the most popular day hikes from Ushuaia and this is for a good reason. However, what only few people know: the real highlight is Glaciar del Albino behind the laguna and the views onto Laguna Esmeralda on the way up to the glacier.


The tracks to the lagunas are well worn and well-marked. The last bit up to Glaciar del Albino requires some scrambling.


Valle Carbajal – Laguna Esmeralda

Our time: 09:15 – 15:30 (approx. 2,5h break)

Day 6 was a beautiful and easy-going day, especially compared to the day before. Once we had passed the ranch again we were back at the big road. On the left side, there is a small gravel street which is not pretty, but safe and which you can follow until a way forks to the left into the forest (the way is not marked in the map but in OsmAnd). From here on you’ll find (sparse) blue markings (they might get washed away in winter) on the trees, which you follow until you encounter an unstaffed Refugio, a nice place to take a rest or even spend the night. After the Refugio, you turn right. Be a bit careful to follow the right markings that lead up to the Laguna Esmeralda and not up Vallee de Rio Beban or down to Ruta 3. OsmAnd was of great help here.

You cross a moss-covered meadow and obvious beaver-territory again. At some point, you’ll see the well-beaten track to Laguna Esmeralda in front and now it’s easy to find your way.

The official free campsite is in front of the lake (southern shore), but there were many people and the ground is quite steep. We decided to go around the lake, follow the way in the direction of the glacier and pitch our tent at a fireplace just in front of some boulders (approx. 20 minutes from the front of the lake).

If you arrive and still have energy, you can also easily hike up to the glacier and back in the afternoon (cairns as waymarks). We postponed this until the next morning and fresh as a daisy, it took us 2h to go up and down from our tent. Going to the glacier in general and going in the morning is our big recommendation. First tourist buses leave Ushuaia at 9 am, so if you are a little bit lucky, you have it all to yourself! Also – you don’t have to make it all to the top. Even just going up a little bit, rewards you with magnificent views.

Attention: The trekking map we used says that there’s a camping spot next to the glacier. We didn’t find one while going up! This is a rather inhospitable spot to pitch a tent.


Laguna Esmeralda – Glaciar del Albino/Laguna Ojo del Albino – Laguna Esmeralda – Laguna Turquesa – Ushuaia

Our time 7:15 – 15:00 (parking area Laguna Turquesa)

The last day was our speedy day, we were in good shape and had perfect weather. It took us 1:15h to go up to Glaciar del Albino. If you have the time you really should go up. Most people don’t know about it or about the way (cairn as waymarks) and the glacier and lake are immensely beautiful.

Going down to our tent again took us 50 minutes and another 2h to reach the parking area (path was quite wet, but easy). From there you cross Ruta 3, turn right and follow a side road (parallel to Ruta 3) until you find a signpost to Laguna Turquesa and a track leads into the forest to your left. From the parking area/Ruta 3 it took us 1,5h to reach the lake (50 minutes from the signpost), a steep but easy way.

Laguna Turquesa, Tierra del Fuego
Laguna Turquesa

When coming down again we were really lucky – even after 7 days of hiking without a shower, we instantly found a ride to Ushuaia. Perfect!

The last two days of our tour clearly followed more touristic routes than day 1 to 5, but still very beautiful. For us, it was a great combination of southernmost wilderness and highlights of Tierra del Fuego!

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