The trekking to the Frey refuge in Bariloche is one of the most popular trails for people who want to hike in the mountains without making a demanding physical effort.
One of the activities to do in Bariloche in summer is hiking. There are many trails in the mountains, but the trek to the Frey hut is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful.
The Frey refuge owes its name to the renowned engineer Emilio Frey, who left an important legacy in Bariloche. A great connoisseur of the mountains, he was one of the founding members of the Club Andino de Bariloche and was also a member of the Nahuel Huapi National Park administration.
Located on the shores of the imposing Toncek lagoon and with spectacular views of the surroundings, here we tell you how to get there, how long it takes and all the information you need to know before starting the ascent.
🔎 Take a look at our article on things to do in Bariloche.
Table of Contents
How to get to the Frey refuge and how long it takes
There are three possible trails for trekking to Grey refuge.
The best known and least physically demanding. To start the trail you have to get to the Cerro Catedral car park (bus number 55 drops you off). From here, and indicated on a large sign, the four-hour hike begins, passing through the valley of the Van Titter stream and the Piedritas refuge, a recommended place to stop and contemplate the landscape.
At the beginning, the path is almost flat, but after Piedritas the ascent begins until you reach the refuge.
Slovenian Picada Trail
It requires a medium level of physical effort. You have to get to the camping site and the Villa Cohiue park ranger office (bus 50 drops you off at the entrance to the neighbourhood and you have to walk about three kilometres). It takes about five hours to reach the Grey refuge, passing the Duendes waterfall and the Lago Gutiérrez viewpoint until you reach a detour.
At the turn-off, turn right. The path to the left takes you to Playa Muñoz, a beautiful sandy beach on the shore of Lake Gutierrez.
In the last three hours and after taking the turn-off to the right, the way to Grey Hut is the same as the traditional trail.
Filo Catedral Trail
Only recommended for experienced mountaineers, being accessible only in summer. You start from Punta Princesa or the Lynch refuge, where the lifts end. The walk takes about three hours over a very rocky terrain, where you have to walk carefully.
To follow the path you have to follow the stones painted with red paint.
📷 Do you want to do the trekking with transfers and guide? Book the Frey refuge excursion from Bariloche here.
Is it possible to sleep in the Frey refuge?
The refuge is open all year round, although in many months of the year the surrounding area is completely covered with snow, as it is at an altitude of 1,700 metres above sea level.
The refuge is made of granite, clad in wood and with a tiled roof. Inside there is a kitchen, dining room with electric heaters, fireplace and bedrooms for up to 40 people.
You can spend the night either indoors or in the outdoor camping area, but it is always advisable to make a reservation in both cases to guarantee a place. The reservation is made from the official website of the Frey Refuge, where it will show the available places by date.
In case you want to stay overnight in the dormitories, the refuge provides mattresses, blankets and pillows.
Prices for sleeping in the Frey refuge
Camping is free of charge, but overnight stays in the refuge’s dormitories are not. You can also choose to book full board, half board, breakfast only or dinner only. You can see the prices of the different alternatives here.
In case you are only trekking there and back during the day, you can have some food and drinks at the refuge. Fast food such as hamburgers and pizzas are often available. Prices are a little higher than eating in the centre of Bariloche, which is obvious because of having to transport the food to the refuge.
📷 Do you like water sports? This kayak tour on Lake Gutierrez is ideal for you.
Mandatory trekking registration
To trek to the Frey refuge it is necessary to register at least 48 hours before the trek. Registration can be done on the Nahuel Huapi National Park website and is free of charge.
As for exceptions, you do not need to register if you only walk the Picada Eslovena trail to the Duendes waterfall or the Gutierrez Lake viewpoint. If you want to get to the Frey refuge, you have to register.
Tips for trekking to the Frey refuge
Being in the middle of the mountains, there are several recommendations regarding clothing and items to bring:
- Wear comfortable trekking shoes
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. The reflection of the snow burns the skin.
- Carry at least one litre of water for drinking and hydration along the way. The refuge sells drinks and food, so once you get there you can have something to eat.
- Have warm clothes. The wind and weather where the shelter is located is changeable. In winter, consider also poles and crampons for the snow.
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