What should I expect?
Tierra del Fuego's rugged and extreme terrain presents a dream for hikers looking to challenge themselves and experience some true wilderness. 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. There are three main access points for hiking in Tierra del Fuego: Ushuaia, Puerto Williams and by boat.
- Most day hikers base themselves in Ushuaia and climb the summits of the cordillera, from where you climb through lenga forest to craggy summits for views of the Beagle Channel and Cordillera Darwin.
- Multi-day hiking in Tierra del Fuego is not easy, but if you are comfortable on a scree slope and with a small amount of scrambling then the Montes Martial Circuit, which circles behind Ushuaia for three days, is a great trek to get a taste of Tierra del Fuego's wilderness.
- For experienced trekkers there are more challenging treks where you'll get deep into Tierra del Fuego, spending days away from civilisation, bushwhacking through bogs, across unexplored ranges and testing yourself in the extreme weather at the end of the earth.
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
On Isla Grande
For a taste of wilderness, use Ushuaia as a base and day hike in the Tierra del Fuego National Park or the Tierra Mayor valley; climbing summits above or skirting along the Beagle Channel. There are gentler hikes along the coast and to glacial lakes amongst lenga forests. Nature lovers can dive into the undergrowth and seek out the invasive beavers or track down a Magellanic woodpecker.
On Isla Navarino
The Lakutaia Lodge on Isla Navarino is wedged between the Beagle Channel and the Dientes de Navarino range. 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.
Day Hiking Trips
Multi Day Hiking
The Montes Martial Circuit and Sierra Valdivieso Trek will give you a great sense of wilderness; camping wild, climbing deep into the mountains close to Ushuaia, crossing peat bogs and sheltering in lenga forests.
The Sierra Valdivieso Hike is wilder and more remote. You'll cross from the Beagle Channel over the mountains to Lake Fagnano in the heart of Tierra del Fuego and truly get away from any other trekkers for three days, before taking a day to travel back to Ushuaia by boat and vehicle.
Multi Day Hiking Trips
The Dientes de Navarino Trek is a Patagonian classic, and one not to be underestimated. There is no obvious trail, no waymarks and the weather can be brutal. Having said that, hiking the toothy ridge of Navarino Island provides an opportunity to explore, to discover and to get to know an area where few have been. You will be struck by the pristine yet wild landscape from craggy, snowcapped ridges to enchanted, mossy forests and hidden lakes.
Less well known - and therefore perhaps more appealing to those keen to get into the unknown - is the Tierra del Fuego Crossing. You'll trek through the varying landscapes of the region, away from civilisation, for an entire week; from the north of Isla Grande across to Lago Fagnano, across two ranges, to the Beagle Channel.
If you are an explorer, then the Cordillera Darwin Range, with unclimbed peaks to scale, boat-only access and low visitor numbers (only a handful per year), is ripe for adventure. Yendegaia National Park is another barely visited area of Tierra del Fuego, which would make for an epic adventure. Just ask and the Swoop Team will come too!
Challenging Trekking Trips
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
We laid down and pretended to be dead, and this condor circled closer and closer, so big it cast a shadow over all of us and so near that I could hear the rush of the air across its wings.
Luke Errington Founder, Swoop Patagonia
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.
We recommend that you don't do any multi-day hikes without a guide. The trails are often unclear, poorly marked and hard to follow, so for peace of mind, always hike with a local guide. 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 no refugios in Tierra del Fuego, so you'll need to camp on all multi-day hikes. If camping isn't for you, then you could opt for several day hikes instead.
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.
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