Huemul Glacier is named for a fairly rare species of deer. However, on a trip from El Chaltén over toward the Chilean side of the Andes, you do stand a chance to see one. The area features a native forest and numerous waterfalls that keep the area green year-round.
Trips to the Huemul Glacier often start with an hour-long boat trip on the Laguna del Desierto, which is surrounded by trees and backed by lesser mountain chains. After the boat trip, it’s easy to find the trail up to the viewpoint for the Huemul Glacier. It’s a short but steep hike, about two miles uphill, through a dense, mossy forest, and takes about an hour, depending on fitness level.
The Huemul Glacier is a hanging one, meaning it appears to spill down the mountain but stops abruptly in the upper valley and does come down to ground level. Visitors often spend quite a while at the lookout point to see the glacier and appreciate the massive ice-flow that comes down granite walls toward the turquoise lake below. On rare wind-free days, the lake is a perfect mirror.
In summertime, ask your guide to keep an eye out for the low bushes with blue-colored berries. These are calafate, which are similar in taste to blueberries and gave the city of El Calafate its name.