Patagonia hiking: tips for the the best hikes in Patagonia

the best hikes in patagonia patagonia hiking

All the best in Patagonia hiking – my tips for the best hikes in Patagonia

Patagonia is on many people’s bucket list and that’s with good reason. Argentina and Chile’s most southern region is quite often mentioned by the media as must visit destination. If you ask me, a three time Patagonia traveler and hiking fan, I think that is all right. Patagonia is quite amazing. I figured I’d gather all my Patagonia hiking information for you in this blog with the best hikes in Patagonia.
 
Let me start by saying that up and until today I have not found what Patagonia exactly is. Some say it’s anything down south of the Bariloche – Puerto Montt region. However I’ve also heard people speak of Patagonia north of this. So for this blog, I’m using Patagonia the largest way: from Pucón in Chile to Ushuaia in Argentina. In total this is about one third of Argentina and Chile, so quite a bit region. Whatever the official Patagonia borders may be, it’s time to start sharing my favorite hikes in Patagonia with you. Enjoy!
 

1. Laguna de los Tres, El Chaltén

The best Patagonia hiking can definitely be found around El Chaltén in Argentina. This small town is located in the northern parts of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. You can hike here for days without ever walking the same trail twice and it’s a true hiker’s paradise. My number one hike in El Chaltén is the one to Laguna de los Tres. This hike will take you more or less four hours one way and takes you from the village to the base of mighty Fitz Roy Mountain. The first three hours of the trek are generally easy but after an hour you will reach an almost vertical wall. I hiked to Laguna de los Tres in December and the lake was still frozen back then, making it even more special.
 
The trail back to El Chaltén is along the same way, thus making it easy to shorten the trail in case necessary as you can turn around at any point. At the half way point you will reach the Mirador from where you already have stunning views of Fitz Roy Mountain. In case the views are zero and it doesn’t look like it’s clearing up in any way, then make this your final destination and wait for a sunnier day to try again.
 
Further reading: A hiking trail tail: hiking to Laguna de los Tres in Patagonia
Recommended accommodation for El Chaltén: Hotel Kalenshen
 
wandelingen in patagoniê best hikes in patagonia hiking in patagonia

wandelingen in patagoniê
 

2. W-trek, Torres del Paine

The best multi-day hike in Patagonia is without a doubt the W-trek in Torres del Paine National Park. This national park in southern Chile is by far one of the most beautiful national parks in South America and is visited by many travelers each year. The W-trek is part of the longer O-trek and you can walk it in five days. Along the way you can sleep in Refugio’s (mountain huts) or you can camp is designated areas. Make sure you book both the Refugio’s and the campsites well ahead as they always book out early in the season and it’s illegal to camp outside of the official camp sites.
 
Further reading: A full guide on hiking the W-trek, one of the best multiday hikes in Patagonia
Recommended accommodation for Torres del Paine: Hosteria Las Torres
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking

best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

3. Cerro Tronador, Pampa Linda

Even though you could technically do the Cerro Tronador hike in one day, I advise you to not to so but plan two days for this amazing hike to Refugio Otto Meiling. This mountain hut is located right in between glaciers. Trust me when I say that waking up between various ice fields with the sun rising is one of the most amazing moments you will ever experience in your life. Pampa Linda is located 90 kms south of the city of Bariloche and can only be reached by shuttlebus or a 4DW car. The road to Pampa Linda is quite horrible in some places and I would not recommend you driving it with a regular 2WD car. Depending on how much time you need, the hike from Pampa Linda to Refugio Otto Meiling will take you four to five hours and is pretty strenuous as it’s all up. You cannot book your spot ahead but they have plenty of space on the attic.
 
Further reading: Hiking to Refugio Otto Meiling and Roadtrip from Bariloche to Pampa Linda
Accommodation suggestion for Bariloche: Design Suites Bariloche
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking

best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

4. Los Lagos, Pucón

A very special trip that you can make in northern Chilean Patagonia is Los Lagos in Parque Nacional Huerquehue. This national park is relatively unknown yet quite stunning. It receives far less tourists than other national parks in Patagonia. It’s located some 35 kms northeast of the tourist town of Pucón and can be reached by car or shuttle bus. The Los Lagos Trail will take you to some really beautiful mountain lakes. If you just want to see the first couple of lakes this hike will take you some four hours. If you decide to hike the entire loop, you will be hiking in Patagonia for some six to seven hours. Along the way and only if the weather is good, you may have some stunning views of the Villarrica volcano in the distance.
 
Further reading: Chile’s magic Huerquehue National Park
Accommodation suggestion: Hotel Malalhue
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

5. Las Torres, Torres del Paine

In case you are not hiking the entire W-trek but are looking for a sturdy day hike in Torres del Paine National Park, the Las Torres hike is a good choice for you. Las Torres (‘the towers’) are the three towers of Paine that you can see all over the internet, just google it an your will know what I mean. The walk is long and not too easy yet truly worth the effort. The first three hours will take you into the valley. The trail is not too difficult and the views are good. Only the last hour is hard, it’s an almost vertical climb up to the base of the towers.
 
Further reading: hiking the W-trek in Torres del Paine and travel tips for Torres del Paine in Chile
Recommended accommodation for Torres del Paine: Hosteria Las Torres
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

6. Cochamó, Chili

Cochamó is also called the Yosemite of Chile. Deep in the Cochamó valley there are granite rocks that look like those in Yosemite National Park, but in fact look better. In order to be able to see them you will have to work a little as the hike into the valley is long and not that gorgeous. While I was hiking there (March) it was very wet and I it was incredibly muddy on the trail. The hike to Refugio Cochamó takes something between four to six hours, depending on your walking pace. You can overnight here and spend a couple of nights exploring the area on foot or rock climbing. Unfortunately as I said, the weather was bad an so I only had a few short moments to enjoy the rock formations, but they were stunning nonetheless.
 
Further reading: hiking to Cochamó in Chile
Recommended accommodation for Cochamó: Patagonia Nativa
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

7. Costera Trail, Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego (land of fire) is the most southern island in Argentina as well as a national park located west of Ushuaia: the southernmost city in the world. You can easily catch a bus and hike various trails here. I really enjoyed the 8 kilometer long Costera Trail. It’s not hard but yet very muddy and offers great views over the area as well as the snowcapped mountains of the Chilean and Argentinean Andes mountains. Another nice walk here is the Pampa Alta Trail that is 5 kms. You can easily combine the both of them for a fine day hike in Tierra del Fuego.
 
Further reading: Things to do in Ushuaia and Things to do in Ushuaia on a rainy day
Recommended accommodation for Ushuaia: Hosteria Sloggett
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

8. Wulaia Bay, Isla Navarino

You cannot easily get to Wulaia Bay yet I still wanted to mention this hike because it was almost too beautiful to be true. Wulaia Bay can only be reached by 4 or 5 day luxury cruise trips with Australis Cruises from Ushuaia or Punta Arenas. Lucky me got to experience this trip one day and I was super excited to visit one of the places where Charles Darwin arrived some day. Since you can only make this hike with a guide I will not explain much about it. Instead, just view the picture below and decide for yourself how gorgeous it is:
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking
 

9. Muelle de Alma, Isla de Chiloé

Whether Isla de Chiloé is officially a part of Patagonia I cannot promise, however I’d like to count it in. Located on the western shores of this island is Parque Nacional de Chiloé and just south of this, you can find the Muelle de Alma hike. This hike offers you splendid views of the Pacific Ocean. You have to know about it as it’s not very easy to find and also make sure to have a 4WD car as the road to the hike is a bit of a challenge. At the end of the hike you will get to a really nice viewpoint as shown below on the picture. This truly is one of the best hikes in Patagonia I’ve done so far!
 
Further reading: my most embarrassing moments while solo traveling in South America
Recommended accommodation for Chiloé: Hosteria Palifito Cucao
 
muelle de alma
 

10. Laguna Torre, El Chaltén

After the Laguna de los Tres hike, this is my second favorite walk in El Chaltén. It’s a bit easier and shorter but also not as stunning yet it still deserves a spot on this list with the best hikes in Patagonia. Make sure to do this hike however as it’s well worth the walk, which will lead you to the base of Cerro Torre. Here you will find another glacial lake as well as a glacier an in case the weather is good: views of Cerro Torre. In my case it was too clouded and the mountain was covered. The hike will take you some six hours return and it’s a great alternative to Laguna de los Tres when the weather is poor.
 
Further reading: A hiking trail tail: hiking to Laguna de los Tres in Patagonia
Recommended accommodation for El Chaltén: Hotel Kalenshen
 
best hikes in patagonia hiking

best hikes in patagonia hiking
 
This concludes my list with all the best of Patagionia hiking. Of course I haven’t been everywhere and this list with best hikes in Patagonia is nowhere near complete. However I hope to have given you plenty of ideas for hiking whilst visiting Patagonia and an overview of the must-do hikes in this part of the world. Do not forget to order your copy of Trekking in the Patagonian Andes before you go. All above recommended accommodations have been tried by myself while I was hiking in Patagonia over the past decade.
 
Want to read more? You may also enjoy the following posts:
The best mountain hikes in the world
Why a trip to Argentina should be on your bucket list
Patagonia road trip: Ruta de los Siete Lagos and Parque Nacional Lanín
 
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