Refugio Frey
Refugio Frey
4.5
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Camping refuge in the mountain town of Bariloche.
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  • mmlosey1119
    Houston, Texas1,225 contributions
    Hiking to Frey Hut through Catedral Ridge - awesome!!
    Spending two weeks hiking in northern Patagonia, this was my favorite of all hikes. It is an all-day adventure so plan accordingly. There are two ways to do this hike: we started with the ski lift up from Bariloche, then hiked Catedral Ridge, then went down to the Frey Hut, and then a solid descent to the shores of Lake Gutierrez. I loved climbing over and around the boulders while on Catedral Ridge but you shouldn't do Catedral Ridge if you are scared of heights or subject to vertigo. The view was the most spectacular that I've seen. Then the scenery changed while hiking the valley to Frey Hut - lush green vs barren stones. The descent past Frey Hut was all wooded and shady so yet another type of scenery, and some relief from the afternoon sun. We ate our picnic lunch at a small lake as we hiked down Catedral Ridge towards the valley. We were able to refill our water bottles and use the restrooms at Frey Hut, and I bought a cold Coke. We had a guide but I think it could potentially be doable without a guide if you have a good sense of direction and at least a field guide.
    Visited January 2020
    Written April 8, 2020
  • sarahhmurphy2012
    Dublin, Ireland5 contributions
    Perfect stay in Refugio frey
    We were exhausted on arrival at the refugio, and were thrilled to find such a welcoming spot. Set beside a beautiful little lake where you can have a dip to cool off, followed by one of their really superior pizzas- they were also serving a hearty looking stew- and perfect night sleep in their large dorm, where everyone lines up in their sleeping bags ( they have some available there). We were really glad we got a spot in the refugio, as the campsite looked really really uncomfortable- a rock bed on a steep enough slope
    Visited February 2020
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 11, 2020
  • K M
    Boca Raton, Florida31 contributions
    Epic Day Hike
    This is a hike that requires a certain level of fitness. I saw people struggling with the uphill at the end of the long hike, several km up. However, slow and steady get the job done. Beautiful views and wonderful spot at the top to rest. We saw a condor flying above us at the refugio which was the icing on the cake after 3 hours hiking up.
    Visited February 2023
    Written February 26, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Katie M
Elland, UK48 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
So we decided to day hike to Refugio Frey, and where do I begin?

Pros:
The lake at the top is great for cooling off after your hike (it's very shallow and not too cold).
You can get some nice photos.
There's a hostel that sells drinks and food.

Cons:
Unimaginable heat...like rivalling Hell hot; we walked in early February and even as a seasoned trekker I nearly threw up with the heat.
The trail is SO dusty. It's so bad I'll be pulling it out every bodily crevice for the next 3 weeks.
Wasps wasps and more wasps.
Just a long, slow and continuous uphill for 8km; boring and un-enjoyable trek because if you take your eyes off the trail for a nano second you will trip and die on a root, stone, boulder, random sharpened bamboo cane sticking out of the ground.

-2/10 would Refugio Frey again.
Written February 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

eveline de B
2 contributions
Feb 2023 • Friends
it is a sportive 4 hour walk up the mountain but worth the views. The bus takes you to cerro cathedral (18 km from bariloche) from where you start the path up the mountain. 9,5 kilometers in total and 900 meters elevation.
Written March 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Humberto M
Sao Paulo, SP49 contributions
Jan 2020
The trek to Frey is one of the most popular.It's not very hard and very rewarding. The views are great and trail is well marked. If you're fit or start early, you can go and come back in the same day, sleeping in Bariloche if you wish.
Written January 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deloris
Bar Harbor, ME17 contributions
May 2021 • Family
The trail is so steepe, you will have to look straight up, skywards, to even see the top of some cliffs. But you can do it. Even with kids, we tell you. If you are fitter, better.
Written May 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AlexandraLova
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina1 contribution
Feb 2019 • Friends
What a beautiful place! Unfortunately ruined by loud people at night. We wanted to stay 4 nights in this beautiful place. 2 nights in a row we got loud and drunk Argentinians disturbing our sleep while camping. This was 2am in the morning! We left 2 days early and felt our trip was ruined by people who are disrespectful and this hasn’t been happening only here but every place we’ve camped around people in Argentina.

Argentina is a beautiful place and we’ve met lots of lovely people. Although we meet lots of disrespectful people who play loud music in nature and throw rubbish everywhere. It’s a beautiful place but not more beautiful than for example the Himalayas or New Zealand where people respect other people’s sleep and privacy.
Written February 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MaineUSAvisit2r
Freeport, ME19 contributions
Nov 2013 • Family
The highlight of our trip to Bariloche was this hike to one of the most beautiful spots on our planet. We took the bus to Cerra Catedral ($10.00 peso per person per leg...cash only) and with a bit of looking found the trail head. (Head left at the parking lot until you find a wood carved hiker / trail head)

The trail gradually heads up hill for about 2 hours until it basically turns right and heads up a large drainage/valley for your next 2 hours. All along the trail there are incredible views first down slope toward the lake and then uphill to the majestic mountains. About 2/3 of the way up there is monument that offers one a chance to leave a small stone to remember a loved one with a prayer and bell to send your prayer to heaven.

Refugio Frey is a picturesque stone building at the base of a small lake and an amphitheater of volcanic peaks. There are a few reclined wooden chairs to lay in while you watch the rock climbers ascend one of the multitude of nearby climbs. We did not spend the night but it seemed like it offered accommodations one would expect. They even have cerveza and pizza if you were so inclined. Numerous Rock Climbers had set up their small base camps in tents close by as well.

If you are taking the bus back to Bariloche it leaves once an hour. If you are early or late then you have the option to enjoy a meaningful refreshment at one of the establishments at the base of the ski area.
Written December 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nathan C
Sydney, Australia23 contributions
Apr 2017 • Solo
So I thought I'd write this review firstly on the experience I had at and around Refugio Frey, but also to provide some comparison between Bariloche and the other Argentinian and Chilean hotspots of El Chalten and Torres Del Paine.

Firstly Frey and the surrounding Lagunas, which are spectacular. The trail up from Catedral base and ski resort is pretty mild, a meandering 11kms which gets a little steeper and rockier toward the top, but nothing major. Once you reach Refugio Frey the trail opens up to Laguna Tonchek and Laguna Schmoll beyond, with El Abuelo to the west also. It's toward Schmoll and beyond that the trail gets a little more challenging with the gradient increasing to around 30% or steeper at times with a little climbing. Ordinarily this would be quite fun, but when I visited in April it was already starting to cool down and there was snow and ice on these trails making for quite slippery conditions which ultimately caused me to call it a day just before reaching the ridge above Schmoll. Still, the day was just picture perfect and it was a great day of hiking nonetheless.

My original plans were to hike up to Frey on day one, then through to Laguna Jakob for lunch and on to Laguna Negra on night 2, then hike down on day three via Cerro Bailey Williams and Lopez and bus back to town. When I got to Bariloche I had the chat with the Park Rangers and Club Andino and they cautioned against doing the Jacob to Negra section without a guide, and while I was comfortable with the distances and ascents/descents I took their advice and decided to cut the hike in two removing the Jacob to Negra section.

As for the comparison to Torres and Chalten, they are similar and completely different. I was scratching my head a little at the advice given in town, as the numbers for my original plans were pretty minor compared to what is achievable with a little effort in Chalten and Torres, so it seemed conservative. The regularly accessible trails up to Frey and Negra are comparable to Torres and Chalten, however after experiencing the trails atop the ridge as with those above Schmoll, the advice is fairly consistent with the conditions and these trails are more difficult to anything I experienced in either Torres or Chalten. These trails involve some minor climbing which would be completely fine in peak season with many people around and likely no ice/snow, but with ice on the trail the difficulty increases and the conditions less than comfortable.

Now I'm by no means a mountain man, but I'm comfortable on the trails and can punch out some reasonable distances and ascents/descents on any given day and have had some amazing hiking experiences on this trip to South America. I hope this post helps those of similar experience to gauge their trip plans for a few nights in the mountains.
Written April 23, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lily S
San Francisco, CA23 contributions
Jan 2014 • Friends
You can do this hike in one day (~8-10 hours) but it is an incredible time staying at the Refugio--getting to know locals, the cooks and soaking in the environment. You can stay in a tent or in the dorms. Food is cheap, 90AR$ for a wonderful pizza, wine for 70AR$ a bottle, and hot chocolate for 40$AR. The bathrooms are free, and you can pay to use the shower as well.
To get there, we took the Catedral bus at the 3 de mayo station on Moreno to the ski resort area Catedral Otto. From there we embarked on the 24km hike loop--12 up to the refugio, where we stayed the night, and the next 12 back to where we stopped on the bus. The hike was absolutely beyond incredible. It looked like the span of US1 to one side--a crystal lake all the way up--but then on both sides were mountains of varying terrain: striped and red like Utah, covered in grass, trees and flowers, or pointy/rocky, almost like a fantasy castle. Pieces of the route were connected by mountain streams and thus small wooden bridges, well maintained and resembling a kind of German fairytale village. For the first 3-4 km, we gazed at the lake, purple truffle flowers and white trees, ghostlike, fried and damaged by volcanic ash from a 2011 Chilean eruption (the Puyehue eruption) that blackened the entire city.
The next section of the hike featured tall green trees and different pockets of wildflower fields.
The final ascent to the Refugio proved difficult and steep for about 2 km but doable with our combination day pack-camping gear backpack situation.
Reaching the top, we found the Refugio, a small building with a dormitory and kitchen where, after we pitched our tent, we spent most of the night. Tents are arranged between rock formations on the side of a gorgeous lagoon. Downing hot chocolate while reading about one of our next stops, El Calafate, we found a deck of cards against humanity! The whole room was pretty much Argentinians, some Belgians and their children. One last thing, there was a band with a tambourine! While we tried to sleep in our tent, blowing monstrously in the wind (and filled with small boulders to keep it from moving even more), the band played and played, til we fell into half-slumber and woke up just past sunrise for our descent.
Absolutely stunning and must-do experience in Bariloche for those without too much trekking experience who want to experience it all!
If you are camping, I suggest going on a day with low winds!
Written January 24, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

InaFolam
Moscow50 contributions
Jan 2014 • Solo
Mainly people are staying for a night at this refugio. But you can easily do it as a day hike.
You should take a bus to Villa Catedral (pay in cash, 10 ARS). Trek is well marked, with some easy ascending/descending in a first part (1h). After some point trek splits for two branches: up to Frey and down to Sector Lago Gutierrez. Then it's another hour in the forest with a little bit more ascending. You'll pass Refugio Piedritas after which it's around 40-50 minutes of a steep climb to the refugio. It's not superdifficult but could be a little bit tricky when it's a heavy rain. Lagoon is amazing, mountains around too.
Retrace your steps back until the fork. You could totally retrace your steps back until Villa Catedral but transportation is rare in the afternoon. Or you can take an alternative route (to Sector Lago Gutierrez) which takes 2.5h from refugio most of the time descending. This trail ends in Villa del Coihues from where there are buses every 20 minutes back to Bariloche. In the last section you can see small waterfall. Bus from Villa del Coihues should be paid or with "tarjeta" or with pre-paid ticket bought in advance (7 ARS).
With a day backpack it's pretty easy and trek takes around 5.5h although I guess it's more time if you have heavy backpack with camping gear.
Written January 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DGGmo
London, UK402 contributions
Dec 2017 • Solo
This one day hike was a brilliant starter for ten in Patagonia. You take the bus from the centre to the Catedral chairlift (it leaves quarter past the hour from the same stop as the airport bus) and the trail is signposted from the car park where the bus leaves you (and also on Maps Me). There was a kiosk where you could buy good sandwiches and drinks before starting. They say it takes three hours up, but with a good pace I made it up in 2 hours 30 minutes. Views are very pretty along the way and there aren't too many big inclines, its mainly quite flat, apart from the last half a kilometre. The views of the surrounding mountains at the refuge are stunning and if you're lucky you'll see condors circling. I spent an hour there, had my lunch and used the bano before heading back.

I was recommended to take a different route back (3 hours, ending by Lake Gutierrez) but to be honest I didn't feel it was worth it, as for large sections there was little to see, and the waterfall at the end was a bit meh. If I did the hike again I would return the same way I came. But I definitely recommend the hike to the Frey Refuge, it's a rewarding way to spend a day!
Written February 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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