Hiking in Patagonia is a must-do experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. From challenging day hikes to hut to hut adventures, this article has all the information you need to plan your perfect vacation!
Patagonia offers great hiking year-round, but the best season to go is between October and April. Summers can get very crowded in this region while weather conditions may change unexpectedly.
Nahuel Huapi National Park
Nahuel Huapi National Park is an extraordinary natural marvel of Patagonia, boasting majestic glaciers, crystal clear rivers and lakes, as well as towering mountain peaks. Situated near Chile’s border, this fully protected area makes for a thrilling destination for adventurers from around the world.
Nahuel Huapi National Park offers an abundance of trails, from easy to difficult. Trekkers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy the stunning nature that Nahuel Huapi National Park has to offer; with hundreds of kilometers worth of trails available, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.
Hiking in Patagonia is an amazing opportunity to take in the breathtaking natural landscapes that you’ll encounter throughout your trip. From steep hikes through forested valleys and beside sparkling lakes to more challenging excursions leading you to high mountain peaks or through snow-covered forests, there’s something here for everyone.
For those seeking a more challenging hiking experience, the Refugio Frey via Cerro Catedral path is highly recommended. This 18km trail winds its way through forest to a summit with spectacular views of Nahuel Huapi Lake and its surrounding mountains, and can be completed in one day or as part of an extended multiday trek.
For those interested in exploring the park, a guided tour is an ideal option. This tour is ideal for families and those who want to combine adventure with sightseeing, as it includes transportation from Bariloche and lunch at a local restaurant.
If you’re searching for an adventure that’s less hectic, consider taking a half-day kayaking tour around Lake Moreno or Lake Gutierrez in the national park. This tour is suitable for both beginner and intermediate kayakers; your guide will explain the history of the area as you paddle.
For those seeking a more strenuous hike, Nahuel Huapi National Park offers several routes that can be done independently or as part of a guided tour. Refugio Otto Meiling is an ideal starting point; from here you can also walk the glaciers that encircle Tronador’s peaks.
Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park has become one of the most beloved destinations in Patagonia, boasting stunning trails and luxurious accommodations. It’s no wonder why this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve has become such a must-visit.
Pehoe Lake State Park’s most iconic sight are the granite spires that rise above its turquoise lagoon. However, there is much more to explore in this wild landscape beyond just majestic sights like pumas, guanacos and various types of eagles that call this region home.
To maximize your hiking experience in Torres del Paine, it’s wise to book a guide ahead of time. Fortunately, there are numerous excellent companies nearby that can arrange everything for you; Cascada Expediciones offers tours throughout Torres del Paine and Patagonia that guarantee an amazing trail experience.
EcoCamp is another great option, featuring clusters of geodesic domes that make for a cozy base while exploring the park. Each dome comes equipped with its own wood-burning stove, real bed and plenty of blankets to keep you warm.
There are also a few lodges and hotels that provide more luxury options than tents, offering a tranquil spot to rest after a day of hiking or exploring the park’s natural wonders. Hosteria Pehoe, for instance, sits atop an island just off Lake Pehoe with breathtaking views of both Cuernos del Paine and Paine Grande from its communal restaurant.
Torres del Paine National Park is best visited during shoulder season, from September to November and March to April. At these times, the weather is dry and crowds are smaller – giving you the chance to appreciate stunning sights without too many other tourists around you.
The towering peaks of the Paine Massif, providing the park its name, are a must-see for any visitor. Surrounded by lakes and glaciers, they add an even more captivating element to this breathtaking landscape.
Torres del Paine Circuit
The Torres del Paine Circuit is an iconic route that’s becoming increasingly popular with adventurous travelers. It provides a great opportunity to see the park without committing to an extended multi-day hike.
The circuit, which can be done clockwise or in the opposite direction to the W Trek (front side of trail), takes you on an incredible trail that skirts along the southern edge of the park with numerous breathtaking lookouts along the way. It offers breathtaking views of some of its most iconic landmarks such as Towers of Paine, Lakes of Paine and Grey Glacier.
Along the main trail, there are a few campsites and refugios you can stop at during your trek. Unfortunately, all require reservations so be sure to plan ahead for these stops.
Camping Lago Pehoe offers an all-inclusive experience with round-the-clock electricity, hot showers, picnic sites and even a restaurant. Plus it boasts several geodesic domes which provide stronger protection from wind than your average tent can offer.
EcoCamp Patagonia offers the ultimate comfort and style during your hike. Situated on the fringes of the park, it has been designed with sustainability in mind and features a variety of eco-friendly features.
Hotel Rio Serrano, situated a short drive away from the park entrance, is one of Patagonia’s iconic luxury hotels. With neutral shades and wooden panels set against vibrant local textiles, it provides guests with a comfortable and homely space to stay with stunning views across the river and towards the Paine Massif.
The hotel, open October to April, offers a variety of room types such as suites and private cabins with views over the river and Paine Massif. Plus it features an indoor pool and tour desk with various excursions available.
For beginners, Cascada Expediciones offers guided tours in Torres del Paine for 25 years. Their day and multi-day hiking excursions feature experienced guides with years of expertise.
Patagonia boasts some of the world’s most stunning hiking trails and multi-day treks. This sparsely populated region, located along Argentina and Chile’s southern tip, is known for its towering Andean peaks, windswept steppes, and distinctive gaucho culture.
The five-day W trek in Torres del Paine National Park is the most popular trek, but there are plenty of lesser known options as well. For a less strenuous option, Cerro Castillo Circuit, at 43 kilometers, provides stunning views without as many people and without the same difficulties.
Solo travelers will love this trail, as it provides a sense of belonging among fellow hikers. Since it’s double track, you can take breaks outdoors and connect with others along the way.
Another excellent option is Nahuel Huapi National Park, situated around the four-seasons resort town of Bariloche in northern Argentina. A four-day hike here follows mountain ridges and lake-carved valleys on the Andean frontier between Chile and Argentina. The trail has been meticulously planned with overnight stays at three well-equipped mountain huts shared rooms (with mattresses).
Futaleufu is a charming mountain town situated on the edge of Lake Nahuel Huapi in Argentina Patagonia. For an easy day hike up to Sendero Piedra del Aguila – a jutting lump of granite offering stunning views across the river basin to two picturesque Alpine lakes – is definitely worth trying!
On this hike, you’ll witness some of Patagonia’s highlights – from icebergs and glaciers to red and black Magellanic woodpeckers – all within a short distance. Plus, visit Lago Viedma, formed from melting ice from Argentina’s largest glacier.
Our itineraries in Patagonia combine wildlife, glaciers, hiking and cruising with fine dining and luxurious accommodations. Additionally, we offer private custom itineraries tailored to your interests and preferences; so if you have something unique planned for your adventure, get in touch with us to create a trip just for you.