What should I expect?
The largest of South America's islands, Tierra del Fuego is a rugged and extreme land which presents a dream for hikers looking to challenge themselves and experience some true wilderness. The northern area of the island is made up of sparse steppeland whilst in the south the dramatic mountains of the Cordillera Darwin and those around Ushuaia rise abruptly from the deep forested valley. The lowlands are dominated by peat bogs and countless lagoons whilst the upper passes harness glaciers and snow year round.
The islands that make up the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego are largely unexplored, and even on the more well known treks you won't find trails - route finding can be challenging. Isla Navarino on the other side of the Beagle Channel is home to the breathtaking Dientes de Navarino trek which is quickly gaining recognition as the "southernmost trek in the world".
There are three main access points for hiking in Tierra del Fuego: Ushuaia on the main island, Puerto Williams on Isla Navarino and the Chilean fjords by boat.
If you are in Ushuaia, pull on your boots and get out into Patagonia's wildest corner; let the wind scream through your hair and the rain drench you. You'll feel alive! And you'll wonder how people have survived in this land of extremes since 8000 BC.
Types of Hiking
For a taste of wilderness, use Ushuaia as a base and day hike into the Tierra del Fuego National Park or the Tierra Mayor valley; climbing summits above or skirting along the Beagle Channel. There are gentler hikes to Glacier Martial or along the coast. The trails are well marked and trailheads easily accessible by road out of Ushuaia.
On Isla Navarino
The Lakutaia Lodge on Isla Navarino is peacefully set on the shores of the Beagle Channel. From here you can day hike into the Navarino range and explore Wulaia Bay along the coast. This is a great way to experience the Tierra del Fuego wilderness from a comfy base.
On a Boat or Cruise
Explore the magnificent Chilean Fjords by sailboat or on an expeditionary cruise. Head out each day on Zodiac boats and hike along the shoreline and up to remote glaciers.
Day Hiking Trips
Multi Day Hiking in Ushuaia
The Montes Martial Circuit is a remarkably remote hike given it's proximity to Ushuaia. The trail circles around Montes Martial and Glacier Martial through idyllic valleys and the mountain pass of Paso de le Oveja. It is 26km and takes 3 days to complete so although being a shorter hike, it is quite physically demanding.
The Sierra Valdivieso Trek will give you a great sense of wilderness; camping wild and climbing deep into the mountain range bordering the mighty Lago Fagnano - Tierra del Fuego's largest lake. The trail is 51km in total and takes 4 days to complete but it's largely off trail hiking through wet and rocky country.
The Tierra del Fuego Crossing is the most remote trek in the region. You'll cross the baron steppe to the north of Lago Fagnano, all the way through to the Beagle Channel via the Beban Pass and Five Lagoon Pass. This is an expedition which involves mental toughness and significant backcountry hiking experience. The trail is 80km in total and takes 7 days to complete.
Yendegaia National Park is another barely visited area of Tierra del Fuego, which would make for an epic adventure. The Chilean government are a few years away from completing a road that will open up this mysterious corner of Tierra del Fuego.
Multi Day Hiking in Ushuaia Trips
Dientes de Navarino
The Dientes de Navarino Trek is a Patagonian classic, and one not to be underestimated. This 53km trail can be completed in 4 days but our itineraries allow for 5 days as the weather conditions can be extremely challenging. The mountain passes are often covered in snow, even during the summer months.
The trail is slowly becoming more established but it still demands your full concentration as you tiptoe over boulder fields, cling to precarious scree slopes and scramble over thick roots and felled tree trunks. Hiking the toothy ridge of Navarino Island feels somewhat like a moonscape; a terrain dominated by scorched rock and forests stripped bare by beavers.
The route was first established in the early 1990's by Australian climber and author, Clem Lindemayer. In addition to founding the trek, the mountains Cerro Clem and Mount Lindenmayer also bear his name.
What our customers think
In Tierra del Fuego we walked through beautiful forest in sunshine. Fallen trees often blocked the path and there were rivers to cross - rock hopping or balancing across on a log. There was a definite path but we couldn't always stick to it.
Kim April 2016
I loved trekking in Tierra del Fuego, it was so different from Los Glaciares. We saw a bunch of animals and it was nice how remote everything was, it felt rugged.
Carrie January 2017
With the peat bog valley floor, lakes and surrounding mountains, I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever about going down to Tierra del Fuego. It's all so different to Torres del Paine and El Chalten, it was worth every penny.
Michael November 2016
As I peacefully dozed off to sleep, I could hear the thwacking of a beaver tail playing in the lagoon next to my tent.
Tom Ludwig Swoop Expert
FAQs about Hiking in Tierra del Fuego
There are a few day hikes that you can do self-guided - get in touch and we'd be pleased to talk you through the options.
You cannot camp overnight within Tierra del Fuego National Park without a guide. Outside of the National Park, we highly recommend that you use a guide as the trails are often unclear, poorly marked and hard to follow. If anything were to go wrong, you wouldn't want to find yourself miles from civilisation with no way of asking for help.
There are small, basic mountain huts dotted around Tierra del Fuego which offer refuge when the weather turns against you. They do not having any running water, heating or other facilities so are really just a dry place to rest up. You'll always need to carry a sturdy, 4-season tent with you.
On multi-day hikes you will need to carry your own sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothing and personal belongings, which will weigh around 10-12kg. Your food and group camping equipment are provided and carried by a porter unless you specifically ask to carry them yourself.
On challenging treks you will need to be able to carry a fully-loaded pack of 18-20kg, with your own camping equipment, clothes, personal belongings and a share of your group's food and camping equipment.
There is a new boat service that operates daily between Puerto Williams and Ushuaia. The journey takes just over 1 hour and costs around US $120. If the weather is bad, the boat will disembark at Puerto Navarino further west along the island and closer to Ushuaia - this shortens the journey to 20 minutes.
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