The Best Hikes in Patagonia

Over the course of our In Patagonia adventure, we’ll take ten hikes, ranging from a leisurely afternoon observing penguins in Tierra del Fuego to a challenging and iconic 12-miler to the base of Paine’s massive towers.

Best Hikes in Patagonia
This was a trip of a lifetime. I loved, loved, loved the hiking, the views, the corners turned to find a spectacular glacial lake, towering rocks, a glacier swooping down, a waterfall. What more could a person want?
Lee W., Riverside, RI

To give you a sense of the variety and activity level, here are descriptions of three of the trip’s best hiking days (download the itinerary for a complete day-by-day description).

Hike to Cerro Torre

12 miles, 8-9 hours (Shorter option: 9 miles)

We set out for one of the most renowned hikes in Los Glaciares National Park: the Laguna Torre trail. It’s a long but not steep hike right to a glacial lake below the incredible trio of granite spikes: Cerro Torre (10,280'), which soars over a vertical mile out of an ice sheet, stunning Torre Egger (9,350'), and Cerro Stanhardt (8,956'), all capped by infamous “ice mushrooms” that make reaching the summit treacherous. Torre Egger is considered by some mountaineers to be the most difficult climb in the Western Hemisphere. Together they form one of the most iconic mountain panoramas in the world. We start our hike in El Chaltén, with a gradual ascent into a fairytale woodland of southern beech trees, where we’ll keep an eye out for noisy red-crested Magellanic woodpeckers. The tumbling Rio Fitz Roy parallels our path in a canyon below as we reach the viewpoint of Mirador Laguna Torre. We then hike up through glacial terrain to milky-blue Laguna Torre for vistas across the lake of the three towers. We’ll have lunch at the lake, watching floating icebergs calved from the Torre Glacier, before descending via the same route.

Laguna Azul—Our “Private” Hike

9 miles, 6-7 hours

As the only guests at Estancia Helsingfors, we’ll be the only hikers on the beautiful trail to Laguna Azul, a sublime turquoise glacial lagoon that truly earns its name. Right from the lodge, we walk up a beautiful grassy trail with easy footing as we ascend through alpine terrain brightened with wildflowers, into the Rio Alfredo valley and make our way higher into beautiful forests. The real highlight of this hike is the calm solitude, broken only by the sound of the calving ice from the hanging glacier above the lake. We’ll bring a pack lunch to enjoy at the lake. We also offer the option to ride the estancia’s horses most of the way up, then hop off and hike just the top portion of the trail to the lake. We descend by the same route.

Valle Ascencio Hike

12 miles, 8 hours (shorter option: 8 miles)

Departing directly from our lodge in Torres del Paine National Park, we get an early start for our grand finale hike, a classic that leads through the Valle Ascencio (Ascencio River Valley) directly to the base of the three massive Paine towers that form the central Paine massif. This is one of Paine’s iconic hikes, and it is a steep and challenging one—but we’ll be in good hiking shape by now! We hike up through beech forests, then ascend steeply to the glacial moraine just below Paine, where we’ll have breathtaking views of the iconic Paine Towers in all their glory, rising above a beautiful gray-green lake. Our descent follows the same path.

Best Hikes in Patagonia

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In Patagonia 2018 itinerary

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