4 refugios, Bariloche: an epic trek!

4 refugios, Bariloche: an epic trek!


The 4 refugios in Bariloche are Lopez, Laguna Negra, Jakob and Frey. They can be visited one at a time (with year-round sleeping options) or take a crossing that combines them all. I highly recommend visiting at least one of the four shelters: for those who have time, however, I recommend visiting all four shelters by doing at least part of the traverse! Bariloche is the perfect base for learning about the 4 refugios.

4 Refugios Bariloche: Refugio Lopez

The starting point of the trek leading to Refugio Lopez is Arroyo Lopez, along the Chico Circuit. It can be reached by bus 10, or by a combination bus 20 + bus 13. The walk is short, but very steep: in fact inonly 5 kilometers you climb 800 meters (TRACK)., and almost all the elevation gain is in the first, forested part. The views are majestic! In fact, you can enjoy crazy views of the entire Bariloche Lakes region. From Lopez Refuge there is the option of walking an additional hour to reach Laguna Hoya and two hours to reach Cerro Lopez: the views are even more beautiful but the slopes are very steep and there are sections of rock climbing.


4 Refugios Bariloche: Refugio Laguna Negra

The starting point of the trek to Laguna Negra is in Colonia Suiza, which can be reached by bus 10, or by a combination bus 20 + bus 13. The first ten kilometers of the walk are spectacular! We walk through a heavily forested area, with the Arroyo Goye flowing placidly to our right. The last part, called Los Caracoles, is a bit steeper. The arrival is at Laguna Negra, splendid! The Laguna Negra refuge is also known as Italy Manfredo Segre.

I reached Laguna Negra by arriving directly from Lopez: therefore, the route described above I traveled downhill. Going uphill, the kilometers are 11 and the elevation gain is 800 meters: this is the descent track.


4 Refugios Bariloche: Refugio Jakob

The starting point of the trek leading to Jakob Refuge is Tambo Baez, which is not easily accessible. The easiest way to get to Tambo Baez is to take bus 20, get off at the 10th kilometer and walk six kilometers to Tambo Baez. Another option is to get to Colonia Suiza and walk, again, six kilometers. The trek is reminiscent of the one in Laguna Negra: in this case you walk alongside the Arroyo Casa de Piedra. Once at the top you arrive at Jakob Lagoon, also stunning!

Forty-five minutes away from Refugio Jakob is another beautiful lagoon, Los Tempanos.

I reached the Jakob from the Frey and from the Jakob descended to Tambo Baez. So this is the downhill track: walking it uphill is 15 km and 900 meters of elevation gain.


4 Refugios Bariloche: Frey Refuge

To take the path to the Frey Refuge, one must arrive at Villa Catedral by bus 55. Shortly after the start there are beautiful views of Lake Gutierrez. You then enter a more forested area, passing by the Arroyo Von Titter. The final part is a little rockier and a little steeper, but never complicated. The Frey hut is located on the shores of the Toncek Lagoon. Walking for an additional hour, it is possible to reach the beautiful Schmoll Lagoon. It is also possible to reach the Frey Refuge from Lake Gutierrez.

From Villa Catedral to Rifugio Frey is about 11 kilometers with 800 meters of elevation gain: here is the trail.


4 Refugios Bariloche: the Frey – Jakob crossing.

There is a crazy way to unite the 4 refugios of Bariloche! This method involves actual traversal. I completed the part connecting Villa Catedral to Frey, Frey to Jakob and then from Arroyo Lopez to Refugio Lopez and up to Laguna Negra.

Therefore, I did not walk the part connecting Jakob’s to Laguna Negra as it is technically complicated. In this part, in fact, there is a section of climbing (comparable to a third degree) that is very exposed.

From the Frey hut to the Jakob hut initially climb 200 meters quietly to the Schmoll Lagoon. Once you leave the beautiful lagoon, you climb an additional 100 meters to the pass. In this part you have to use your hands to climb the steep and stony terrain. Once the pass is reached, a very complicated part begins: the descent to the Rucaco Valley! The slope is definitely pronounced, and there are often unstable stones. I found the descent really tough: the group consisting of me, Lorraine, Facundo and Santiago took about an hour and a half to descend the 500 meters of elevation gain. After about a mile of beautiful woodland flatness (essential to fill your water bottle!) you climb another 400 meters: the climb is steep only in the last part. On the second pass of the day there is a wonderful view from the Rucaco Valley to Jakob Lagoon! The second descent of the day (about 300 meters) was less steep and less challenging than the first…thankfully!

The trail says 11 km and about 600 meters of elevation gain, but it does not explain the fatigue!


4 Refugios Bariloche: the Lopez – Laguna Negra crossing.

Not doing the Jakob – Laguna Negra section, Lorraine and I decided to descend to Colonia Suiza and make the crossing from Lopez to Laguna Negra, as it was probably easier than the opposite direction. The section from Refugio Lopez to Cerro Lopez covers 400 meters of elevation gain: these involve climbing sections where you have to put your hands on stone. Laguna Hoja, reached after 250 meters of ascent, is the last place where water can be found. The view from Cerro Lopez is majestic! On one side you can see Lake Nahuel Huapi, on the other side you can see Cerro Tronador: splendid (VIDEO)! From Cerro Lopez you descend about 400 meters.

The descent is really treacherous, as it is very steep and there are many unstable stones: you have to be very careful! The descent is reminiscent of the Frey – Jakob descent: hard to say which is more complicated! Once the descent is over, the climb to Cerro Bailey Willis begins immediately, but it is not reached. In fact, after three hundred meters of ascent you leave the trail leading to the Bailey Willis and follow a scree that leads to a viewpoint overlooking Laguna Negra. The descent to the hut is not complicated, but the last kilometer that runs along the lake is: in fact, there are several sections that involve somewhat complicated climbing and descent, which are facilitated by ropes.

Again, numbers do not explain the fatigue:10 km and 900 meters of elevation gain!




  • The ‘travesia 4 refugios’ is therefore very complicated. There are very steep slopes both uphill and downhill, and the path is often made difficult by stones. On the other hand, the views are really fantastic! Definitely need to register on this site!



  • In my opinion, it is very difficult to choose which refuge to visit in a day. Frey is the most historic refuge, Jakob is the most beautiful refuge, Laguna Negra is the most beautiful trek, and the views of Lake Nahuel Huapi from Lopez are unique. Maybe I choose the Lopez, but it is really complicated to choose!


  • The part from Jakob to Laguna Negra is definitely the most complicated and, personally, I was advised against undertaking it. The other two parts of the traverse boast complicated ascents and descents and are best undertaken in company. The crossing from Lopez to Laguna Negra is easier than on the opposite side.


  • It is possible to dine and stay overnight in the shelters, with prior reservation. It is possible to sleep in the lodge or in the campground that is within walking distance of the lodge: sleeping in the campground you can use the lodge bathrooms.



  • Bariloche’s 4 refugios are open year-round, although there may be closures in winter due to snow. The best season for Bariloche’s 4 refugios is from January to the end of March. In winter, in fact, it is recommended to hire a guide because the technical difficulties are significantly greater.


  • The 4 refugios definitely enter the list of things to do in Bariloche!





Andrea, un viaggiatore da lungo tempo con una grande passione per trekking, bici e diving! Su potrete trovare tutte le informazioni e gli itinerari di viaggio scritti da Andrea: cinque continenti e tante vette conquistate intorno al mondo!

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