Choosing your hike

  • See the highlights or explore the wilderness? The classic Fitz Roy and Torres del Paine trails offer staggering peaks and huge glaciers, but can get crowded. For remote, pristine Patagonia, consider Tierra del Fuego or Aysen.
  • A comfy base or remote camp? Patagonia's accommodation is as varied as its scenery. It is possible to return each night to a soft bed, or have a more rustic refugio experience.
  • Short treks or week-long wilderness trails? This region is packed with trails for all abilities, so ask us about fitting the right hike into your itinerary.
  • Which landscapes? Dramatic granite pinnacles, rainforests, steppe, glaciers... Patagonia is vast and varied so decide in advance what sort of scenery you want to see.
  • How much do you want to spend? Some of the best day hiking is accessible from luxury lodges in the middle of nowhere. Adventurous souls on a budget can save their pennies doing some trails self-guided.

Day hiking in Patagonia

Los Glaciares - Fitz Roy Range

There are few towns in the world better located for day hiking than El Chalten. This trekker's paradise is right in the Fitz Roy range in Los Glaciares National Park, perched beneath the most famous mountains in the region.

Trails start in the town, so you can walk straight from your hotel onto day hike routes. Hikes range from 4-8 hours, and you can get to the best viewpoints of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, before returning to your hotel. Combine a few days exploring the trails in El Chalten with a day of ice-hiking, and a visit to the Perito Moreno glacier.

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine's W Trek is world famous, but many people don't know that most of this route can be done in three separate day hikes. Aside from these famous trails, the national park has an intricate network of lesser-known day hikes; some of them are real bushwhackers, whilst others are more gentle, remote routes to see flowers, guanacos and condors.

There are many hotels to base yourself in for your hikes, but we recommend checking the location to ensure that you won't be driving for hours to each trailhead. 

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia

Carretera Austral

The Carretera Austral winds its way down southern Chile connecting over 20 national parks. There's huge variety in the scenery en route, from the lakes and volcanoes of the Chilean Lake District, to the rainforests and glaciers of Aysen, and even the Northern Ice Cap.

To explore on day hikes, choose the area you'd like to explore and base yourself in a hotel in one of the many small towns, or remote luxury lodges with access to the vast surroundings. If you have a car, you can drive from trailhead to trailhead and stay in some beautiful, cosy rustic lodges along the way.

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia
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Multi-day hiking in Patagonia

Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego is known for being a pristine wilderness, but it's also wonderfully diverse, a side to the region that's best accessed on a multi-day hike. From boggy pampas to beech forest to rocky ridges above the tree line, it's a challenging but hugely rewarding area to explore. You're likely to be wild camping, and also to have the scenery all to yourself.

Our two favourite hikes are the Montes Martial Circuit, a short three-day trek that loops up behind Ushuaia, and the Sierra Valdivieso trek which takes you right into the heart of Isla Grande before finishing your trip by boat and vehicle.

Tierra del Fuego Sierra Valdivia Trek1

Torres del Paine

Patagonia's most famous multi-day treks are the W Trek and the Full Circuit Trek (also known as the 'O' Circuit). They are arguably the best ways to discover the glaciers and towering granite of the national park, but they do tend to get crowded. Campsites and refugios can fill up 6 months in advance. 

The W Trek takes 4-5 days and is ideal for fit active walkers who prefer to carry a small 40-litre pack and hike from hut to hut, either with a guide or without. The Full Circuit Trek is quieter but more challenging at 7-10 days, and camping is necessary in the northern sector. 

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia

Los Glaciares - Fitz Roy range

Camping in the heart of the Fitz Roy range allows you to see much more of the mountains,  and to catch the sunrise on Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre peaks.

A classic route lasts two or three days and links Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre into a circuit. Stronger hikers (and lovers of scree) can extend this classic trek by a day, to explore the Electrico Valley, or two days, to cross the Agachonas pass into the Tunel valley and up to the Paso del Viento on the Chalten Mountain Escape Route.

Piedra Negra, Los Glaciares

Aysen

Horse trails cut their way through the Aysen region, a legacy from when the pioneers would make their way between estancias. Our favourite long-distance routes in Aysen include the four-day Jeinimeini to Aviles trail in the new Patagonia Park, where you start in the vibrantly colourful Jeinimeini reserve and pass through beech forests before descending into the botanical Chacabuco valley.

Another is in the Cerro Castillo range, which towers above the Carretera Austral in the Ibanez valley. Experienced trekkers can hike between 3-6 days crossing passes, reaching crystal glacial lakes and marvelling at the rocky outcrops.

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia
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Our best trekking trips in Patagonia

Challenging treks

These routes are for people who not only have plenty of experience but also want to add a bit of an edge to their 'holiday'. Some people describe it as 'Type 2' fun - the kind of experience that might well be a little too challenging at the time, physically and mentally, but you know you'll look back on it with glee and satisfaction.

Our top 3 challenging treks

1. Patagonia Ice Cap: The Patagonian Ice Cap is the third largest mass of ice on the planet and, bordered by Cerro Fitz Roy and the Andes, the landscapes are truly unique.  The ascent is a long, challenging day and conditions on the ice cap itself can be very tough indeed, but when the skies are clear you'll have a view like no other.

2. Off-the-beaten-track-routes in Torres del Paine: The main trails have been on the map for decades, and they are well-marked. However, the park is full of mountain passes, valleys and glaciers that no one else knows about, and getting off-the-beaten-track will give you unique views of the Paine Massif. 

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia

3. Crossing Tierra del Fuego: Tierra del Fuego remains more wild and remote than many of the national parks to the north. Trails are not maintained and the terrain is tough whether on the lower ground or up through the mountain passes. The 7-day crossing of Tierra del Fuego is a real wilderness experience, the most remote trek in the region. 

Taking 7 days to complete 80km, this is a challenging hike. For a slightly different option, or if you have more time, Tierra del Fuego is a playground for experienced hikers. Hop across to Isla Navarino to tackle the Dientes de Navarino trek, so named because the jagged peaks resemble a huge set of spiky, imposing teeth.

Hiking & Trekking in Patagonia

FAQs about Hiking in Patagonia

  • When is best to hike?

    The main trekking season runs from November to March in most destinations. This is when most of the facilities are open, buses are running and the weather is at its best. If you want to see the spring flowers and more snow on the peaks then November is a beautiful time to go. For the Autumn colours then consider late March and early April. Snow and ice conditions for mountaineering and ice cap expeditions will be best from November to January.

    Patagonia is a popular destination, and especially so mid-December to mid-January, so if you want to hike the most famous routes then try to visit outside the busiest period, or consider the more off-the-beaten-track routes at this time of the year.

    It is possible to trek all year round? Winter in Patagonia (May - August) offers less daylight and colder temperatures. In the Chilean Lake District and Tierra del Fuego there's a lot of rain however in the south and east of Patagonia there's generally less rain and visibility can be better than the peak of summer.

    Head over to our when to visit page for more information.

  • Do I need a guide?

    The famous trails of Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares are well marked and well suited to independent hiking for those with experience. Guides can help you access the more remote and lesser known spots that in many cases are equally dramatic.

    Having spoken to over a thousand people who have visited the region, our view is that guides bring so much more than safety and navigation - a richer awareness of the region's wildlife, ecology, history, and cultural identity.

    For those on a tight budget, self-guided hikes on the main trails of Torres del Paine and Fitz Roy will be a tremendous experience. Those who are experienced and fiercely independent might do well to mix some guided days with some independent days.

    Visit our hiking page for more juicy details on the best hiking in Patagonia. 

  • Can I combine trekking with other activities?

    By leaping on a horse or into a kayak you can get truly off the beaten track.

    If you are really intrepid you might consider sailing through the Patagonian Fjords and using the boat to access some fantastic remote hiking.

  • Do I need to acclimatise to the altitude?

    The highest peak in Patagonia is 4058m (13,314ft) high and most of the trails don't go higher than 1,500m (4,920ft) so you don't need to acclimatise when you go hiking in Patagonia.

  • How much does hiking in Patagonia cost?

    Typically a guided, fully supported trek (with enough porter support that you just carry your own gear including sleeping bag and sleeping mat or hut accommodation) costs US$300-350 per person per day. Self guided treks will be cheaper and hiking from a luxury hotel will be 2 or 3 times more expensive. There are regional differences in costs so if you find Torres del Paine very expensive then have a look at Tierra del Fuego or Aysen.

The best places to go hiking in Patagonia

Hiking in Torres del Paine

Hiking in Torres del Paine

World famous trekking awaits in Torres del Paine National Park. Each valley, peak and pass hides its own treasures, be it hanging glaciers, vast pampas, twisted metamorphic rock or…

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Trekking in Los Glaciares

Trekking in Los Glaciares

Trek amongst jagged, snow-capped peaks and electric-blue lakes, venture out into open valleys and private reserves, or visit the icy glaciers that roll from the Southern …

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Hiking in Aysen

Hiking in Aysen

Dramatic snow-capped mountains, glistening glacial lakes and lush forested valleys make for superb trekking in this unsung region. Explore the fantastic hiking routes in Aysen's …

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Hiking in Tierra del Fuego

Trekking in Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego is a land of extremes. Swathes of isolated steppe are punctuated with windswept trees, endless peat bogs and craggy outcrops crowned with glaciers. Here is …

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Ready to plan your Patagonia adventure?

Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

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