Hiking in Patagonia should be on everyone adventure traveler’s bucket list. One great budget-friendly hike when visiting Ushuaia in Argentina’s Patagonia region is to Martial Glacier. While travelers typically opt to take on the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park outside El Calafate — which is a great experience but expensive and a bit far — the trek to Martial Glaicer is absolutely free. Keep in mind, the experiences do differ in a number of ways. For example, while hiking on the Perito Moreno Glacier there will be times when you will see nothing but the glacier, as you’re immersed in a world of icy blue. Martial Glacier is more focused on diverse landscape views like colorful woodland, water, ice and snow. Moreover, Martial Glacier is more challenging in terms of physical fitness, while Perito Moreno is more about balance and steadying yourself in your grampons. Additionally, while on Perito Moreno you’ll have a guide on Martial Glacier you’ll be on your own, so hike with others, bring grampons and be careful. Overall, both are worthwhile in their own way, although Martial Glacier is a great alternative for those traveling on a shoestring.
You can walk to the trailhead of Martial Glacier from the city center in about 40 minutes. You will first go through a winding forest, crossing over streams and bridges. Then you will trek uphill to the base of the glacier. It’s a hike of beautiful contrasts, as you will be surrounded by vibrant foliage before climbing up snowy boulders.
Note: All photos are unedited and were taken with an Olympus TG-320 Tough point and shoot camera. They were taken during the month of April and begin with my journey through the words to the base of the glacier and then up to the top.