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.
Where can I hike in Patagonia?
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.
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.
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.
So many people travel to Patagonia to hike the W trek. It is a fantastic trek, but delve a little deeper and you'll discover so many other truly extraordinary trails.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What our customers think
To anyone who feels a quickening of interest at the word “adventure”, a little visceral sense of excitement, and who is willing to take things as they come, we would say “go to Patagonia, go”.
Mark UK March 2017
I'm not sure I could have booked all this without you guys; it was a wonderful trip - challenging, adventurous and fun! Each of my three treks was quite different, but all with interesting and well informed guides and outstanding landscapes.
Louise February 2016
Many thanks for supervising a terrific and memorable trek. The highlight to me was the hike to the Towers and view there, though the entire 5 day trek was awesome.
Ted November 2015
The trek was unbelievable!!! The best hike I've done. We had a world class guide who was very informative and took care to make sure everyone was OK and spent time to really answer people’s questions.
Sarah November 2015
The W Trek was the highlight of my 2-week trip - the scenery was beautiful and my guide, Paz, really made the experience incredible. She was so knowledgeable and that made the experience very special and unique.
Liz New York March 2017
Each day brought a different hike and ever changing views to be in awe of. Thanks again for all of your help, Our family had an absolutely outstanding trip!
Mitch & Family June 2013
Our hike was both fantastic and challenging; undoubtedly the best part of our trip - so remote and beautiful.
Sarah & Greg January 2016
Our hike was great and our guide was the highlight; he did so many little things beyond just guiding us. I also thought the timeline of our itinerary was perfect.
Heather October 2015
I very much so appreciated the progression of hikes and thought the order in which we encountered them was perfect. I think if things had gone in any different order, it would not have been nearly as good.
Jim Nagy United States Of America November 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
Overall El Chalten was my favourite place! I hiked every day and it was very easy to find the routes and they all led to stunning viewpoints.
Hannah UK February 2017
The trek to see the condors was amazing, we saw so many of the beautiful birds up close and were lucky enough to see dozens of other birds, including owls.
Jana and Ben November 2016
I will tell my Grandchildren about the beauty of the land and how me and my 62 year old knees climbed a mountain!
Wilma November 2016
Our best trekking trips in Patagonia
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.
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.
FAQs about Hiking in Patagonia
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
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 …
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 …
Hiking 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 …
Hiking in the Chilean Lake District
This area of Chile offers trekking for all levels from easy day hikes to more challenging multi-day hikes. Hike up smoking volcanoes, climb granite peaks, trek past cascading …
Hiking in the Argentine Lake District
From the ice capped peak of the staggering Lanin Volcano to the challenging slopes of the Cathedral mountain or the gentle trails around glistening lakes, the Argentinian Lake …