Regarded as the 8th Wonder of the World, the Torres del Paine National Park is located in Chile’s region of Patagonia and is a masterpiece of huge mountain peaks, bright blue glacial lakes and glistening glaciers.
The dramatic scenery of Torres del Paine is simply breath-taking and has earned it a spot at the top of most hiking bucket lists.
As one of the few unspoiled corners of the world, hiking in Torres del Paine is one of the most thrilling adventures. While many seasoned hikers come to Torres del Paine to take on the challenging 4-day W-Circuit, there are a number of great and more accessible day hikes in the Torres del Paine National Park. Below are just a few of our favorite hiking trails that take you deep into the intact wilderness of the Torres del Paine National Park.
♦ The towering Horns of Torres del Paine
Approx. Length: 2.5miles / Estimated Time: 2-3hrs / Difficulty: Easy / Highlight: Horns of Torres del Paine & Salto Grande Waterfall
This short hike in the heart of the National Park takes you to see the famous Horns of Torres del Paine and is the perfect introduction to hiking in the Torres del Paine National Park. A scenic drive passing by the Sarmiento and Nordenskjöld viewpoints will take you to the starting point of this half-day hike. The terrain throughout the Horns Viewpoint trail is relatively flat and easy-going with only one section of the hike having a slight ascent.
Accompanying you for the duration of the hike will be the eye-catching view of the huge ‘cuernos’ (horns) of the Paine right in front of you.
Torres del Paine’s beauty is ever-present along this short hike where you will also be able to stop off at the Salto Grande Waterfall during the hike. The fairy-tale setting of the Salto Grande Waterfall is spell-binding as the water drops 50 feet through a narrow chute from the blue waters of Lake Nordenskjöld into what eventually turns into Lago Pehoé. From the Salto Grande Waterfall the trail continues along the shore of the picture-perfect Nordenskjöld Lake until you arrive at the Horns Viewpoint where you’ll be able to appreciate a unique, up-close view of the impressive massif.
♦ Admiring the Grey Glacier
Approx. Length: 7.5miles hiking / Estimated Time: 2hrs sailing & 4hrs hiking / Difficulty: Moderate / Highlight: The iconic Grey Glacier
With your feet firmly on dry-land having crossed the scenic Lake Pehoé from the Pudeto Dock, you’ll head out towards the western part of the Torres del Paine National Park. The trail winds its way through the charming Cañadon del Viento Valley before beginning to gain some altitude. Once reaching the highest part of the trail, you will be able to take in the scenery of Lake Grey and the Grey Glacier.
The Grey Glacier which covers an astounding area of 100 sq. miles is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, one of the largest continental stretches of ice.
You will also be able to see Cerro Paine Grande and the Cordón Olguin which is part of the westernmost range of Torres del Paine. Descending along the trail to the lake shore you’ll be able to enjoy great views of the glacier before embarking on an unforgettable boat journey across Grey Lake. While the view of Grey Glacier from the high viewpoint and from the shore of Grey Lake is nothing short of spectacular, sailing next to the glittering wall of ice is an unforgettable experience. From this unique vantage point you will be able to fully appreciate the puzzle of turquoise, blue, white and crystal clear ice that forms this awe-inspiring glacier and free floating icebergs that pass by.
♦ Hiking to the Base of the Towers
Approx. Length: 11.2miles / Estimated Time: 7-8hrs / Difficulty: High / Highlight: views of the 3 granite towers
Although one of the more challenging day hikes in Torres del Paine, the route to the base of the Torres is certainly one of the most rewarding. The hike sets off from the Laguna Amarga entrance in the National Park where you will begin to hike up a steep ascent next to the Ascencio River until reaching the Paso de los Vientos (Pass of the Winds).
After passing through dense forests, you reach the most challenging point of the trail as it winds up through a moraine section of loose rock and where you will often face the strong Patagonian winds of Torres del Paine.
Having ascended through this difficult terrain and battled against the winds you will arrive at the lookout where you will have the classic, breath-taking view of the Torres del Paine and which also makes for one of the most picturesque places to have your boxed lunch. Having soaked up the magnificence of the Torres del Pain, you will descend along the same trail to the starting point at Laguna Amarga.
♦ Exploring the French Valley
Approx. Length: 10.7miles / Estimated Time: 8hrs / Difficulty: High / Highlight: Pehoé Lake crossing & view of the French Glacier
Arriving at the Pudeto Dock you will board the catamaran for a spectacular 30 minute journey across the calm waters of Pehoé Lake. This is perhaps one of the most unforgettable boat journeys that you will have as the stunning turquoise waters reflect the magnificent mountainous landscapes around you. Having crossed Lake Pehoé you’ll set out along the trail that passes by the slopes of the Paine Grande and along the shores of Skottsberg Lake.
One of the remarkable features of this particular trail through the National Park is revealed once you arrive at the French Valley viewpoint that sits at the foot of the Monte Paine Grande.
Here you will be able to enjoy enchanting views of the French Glacier while listening to this incredible glacier rumbling as well as becoming a spectator of the avalanches that can often be seen here. The French Valley viewpoint is situated in a natural amphitheatre and is one of the best places in Torres del Paine to enjoy a panoramic vista of the surrounding mountain landscape. Returning along the same trail you will be treated to another Pehoé Lake crossing where you will once again be able to bask in the glory of the landscapes of Torres del Paine.