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16 Amazing day hikes in Torres del Paine

16 Amazing day hikes in Torres del Paine

16 Amazing day hikes in Torres del Paine

There are many incredible day hikes in Torres del Paine National Park of different lengths and difficulty levels. From short and easy trails suitable for hikers with children to challenging routes for experienced hikers. Hiking in Torres del Paine you can enjoy the fantastic Patagonian scenery, impressive landscapes, and diverse wildlife. Here it’s possible to combine comfort and adventure. You can stay in a nice hotel/cabin inside the park and visit the main attractions by doing day hikes.

If you’re planning to stay for a couple of days in Torres del Paine and do several day hikes I’d suggest deciding on the routes you want to walk before booking your accommodation inside the park.

If you don’t have much time for hiking around the park but still want to visit the park you can do a full-day tour from Puerto Natales. you’ll be able to see many park attractions in one day and do a short 1-hour hike. This tour might be a good option if you visit Torres del Paine in the winter.

You can buy your Torres del Paine ticket online. It’s valid for several days. If you stay outside the park you can enter it without paying the fee again.

A beautiful bizarre shaped mountains and its reflection on the water
The scenery on the Lago Nordenskjold hike, one of the easier day hikes in Torres del Paine

Travel insurance. Even if you’re planning to do only a couple of day hikes in Torres del Paine it’s still an outdoor activity having travel insurance is a good idea. It’s important to choose a reliable company that won’t let you down when you need help. We can recommend our partners World Nomads, an insurance company that covers travelers from all over the world. They focus on outdoor activities like hiking. A great thing about their insurance policy is that you can buy it online at any time even if you’re already on the road. It’ll take just a couple of minutes. You can buy insurance to cover the entire trip or just a period of the hike, even if it’s only one day. Get an instant quote here. Note! Always read carefully the Terms and Conditions of the policy.

For easier navigation, we decided to divide Torres del Paine into three zones; east, south, and west.

Torres del Paine map with marked east, south, and west sides
A map of Torres del Paine National Park divided into three zones: east, south, and west

Day hikes in the east side of Torres del Paine

This part of the park has both; off-the-beaten-path trails and some of the most popular routes that are parts of the W trek and the O Circuit, two multi-day routes in Torres del Paine. You get a great chance to see some of the highlights and hidden gems of Torres del Paine.

A map pf the east side of Torres del Paine with day hikes, park entrances, and hotels/campsites
A map of the east side of Torres del Paine with 4 day hiking trails. A – Lago Sarmiento entrance; B – Laguna Amarga entrance; C – Laguna Azul entrance; 1 – Hotel Las Torres/Central campsite; 2 – Refugio/campsite Chileno

The Fauna Trail (Portería – Portería)

An off-the-beaten trekking route in Torres del Paine where you can see many guanacos, condors gliding in the skies, and even spot a puma at sunrise or sunset. The trail starts and finishes at different Porterías (entrances). The trail can be walked only in one direction from Portería Lago Sarmiento to Laguna Amarga. Along the route, you can spot some wild animals such as guanacos, huemuls (deer), porcupines, condors, etc.

It’s possible to do this hike as a day tour from Puerto Natales (transport, guide, and lunch included).

  • Distance – 8 km
  • Required time – 2-3 hours
  • Closest hotel/campsite – Hotel Las Torres/Central campsite
  • Starting point – Portería Lago Sarmiento
  • Finishing point – Portería Laguna Amarga
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – easy

Laguna Azul/Cebolla

Trails in this part of the park are quite off the beaten path compared to the trails on the multi-day hiking routes. You’ll see a few people and many guanacos, birds, and if you’re very lucky in the early morning even a puma. The hike is short and easy, a good option for families with children. The scenery on the way is not really special, but the view over the lake with the Towers in the background is stunning.

From Laguna Azul, you can continue walking for another 6 km till you reach Laguna Cebolla’s lookout. It’s an easy walk that can be done with children. The only thing to consider is the distance it’s better to start waking in the morning to have enough time to complete the route. Laguna Cebolla is much smaller than Laguna Azul. The trail is not really marked but it’s clear and easy to follow.

  • Distance – Laguna Azul – 8 km, return; Laguna cebolla – 20 km, return
  • Required time – 2-3 hours to Laguna Azul; 4-5 hours to Laguna Cebolla
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Las Torres/Central campsite
  • Starting/finishing point – Porteria Laguna Azul
  • Accessibility – by car, 45 min. drive from Laguna Amarga entrance, on the way you can stop at the Paine Waterfall
  • Difficulty – easy

Mirador Las Torres

Mirador Las Torres is the most famous attraction of Torres del Paine. The hike to the viewpoint is one of the best hikes in Patagonia and one of the most difficult day hikes in the park. The way to the Mirador is one long and steep ascend to Laguna and Las Torres, the last couple of kilometers it gets very steep. After that a descent all the way back to the hotel/campsite. Walking sticks are highly recommended for this route. Take water and snacks with you you’ll spend most part of the day hiking. You can stop at a restaurant/shop at the Chileno campsite for lunch or coffee. 

  • Distance – 19 km, return
  • Required time – 6-7 hours
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Las Torres/Central campsite
  • Starting/finishing point – Hotel Las Torres
  • Accessibility – by bus/car
  • Difficulty – challenging
Las Torres viewpoint the end of  the best day hike in Torres del Paine
Mirador Las Torres is one of the most iconic landmarks in Torres del Paine

Lago Nordenskjold

It’s a nice day hike with beautiful views over Nordenskjold lake. This trail is a part of multi-day hiking routes so expect to see quite a lot of people. This hike can be done either way from Hotel Las Torres or Refugio Cuernos. It’s possible to complete this route on horses from Hotel Las Torres if you want to experience Torres del Paine in a different way. Take food or snacks with you there are no shops or restaurants along the way.

  • Distance – depending on where you start and how far you go. From Hotel Las Torres to Refugio Los Cuernos – 11,6 km one way. You don’t have to go all the way to Los Cuernos, you can walk 5 km one way, enjoy the beautiful lake scenery, turn around and walk back to the hotel. In this case it’ll be about 10km.
  • Required time – 4-5 hours.
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Las Torres or Refugio Los Cuernos
  • Starting point – Hotel Las Torres or Refugio Los Cuernos
  • Finishing point – Hotel Las Torres or Refugio Los Cuernos
  • Accessibility – Hotel Las Torres by car/bus; Los Cuernos accessible only on foot
  • Difficulty – moderate, several ascents and descents on the way

If you’re planning to explore more of the Chilean Patagonia consider doing a day hike to the Mirador Cerro Castillo in Cerro Castillo National Park on the Carretera Austral.

Day hikes in the south side of Torres del Paine

A map of the south side of Torres del Paine with day hikes, park entrances, hotels and campsites
A map of the south side of Torres del Paine with 4 day hiking trails. A – Administration entrance; B – Pudeto entrance; 1 – Refugio/campsite Francés; 2 – Refugio/campsite Los Cuernos; 3 – Hotel Pehoé; 4 – Hotel Explora

Mirador Francés/Británico

The hike along the turquoise Nordenskjold lake to the viewpoint from where you can appreciate the stunning beauty of the area. To walk all the way to the Británico viewpoint makes sense only in good weather. If it’s overcast and rainy you won’t see much up there. This trail is one of the most difficult day hikes in Torres del Paine. The views from the top are incredible and well worth the effort.

We’d recommend attempting this trek only if you’re in good hiking shape and used to walking a lot. You can always turn around at the Mirador Francés if you run out of time or feel too tired to continue. The views from the Francés viewpoint are just as beautiful.

Many trekkers walk this trail as a part of the W-trek or the O-circuit from the Italiano campsite which is right at the beginning of the climb.

Take water and snacks with there will be no places to buy food. You’ll be able to get water on the way from streams and small rivers.

This route can be done with a tour as a day hiking trip from Puerto Natales.

  • Distance – Mirador Francés – 7 km, return; Mirador Británico – 11 km, return
  • Required time – 2 hours Mirador Francés; 4-5 hours Mirador Británico
  • Closest hotel/campsite – Refugio/campsite Los Cuernos or refugio/campsite Francés
  • Starting/finishing point – Italiano ranger station
  • Accessibility – on foot
  • Difficulty – challenging, a very steep ascent from the Italiano campsite to the viewpoints
View over the lake on the way to Britanico viewpoint
Stunning view on the way to the Mirador Británico one of the toughest day hikes in Torres del Paine

Mirador Cóndor

An easy and short walk to the viewpoint from where you can see Laguna Negra and Pehoé lake.

  • Distance – 4 km
  • Required time – 1h30min.
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Explora Salto Chico
  • Starting/finishing point – Pehoe campsite
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – easy

Mirador Lago Toro/Laguna Verde

A short and easy day hike to the Mirador Lago Toro in Torres del Paine from where you can enjoy the view over the Laguna Toro, a big turquoise lake surrounded by greenish hills and plains. If you continue walking further from the Mirador Lago Toro for about 2 hours you’ll reach Laguna Verde, the trail finishes at Guardería Laguna Verde but we´d recommend turning around earlier as you still have to walk all the way back.

  • Distance – Lago Toro – 4 km, return; Laguna Verde 20 km, return
  • Required time – 1h30min. Lago Toro; 5 hours Laguna Verde
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Explora Salto Chico
  • Starting/finishing point – 15 minutes drive from the Administration entrance
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – easy-moderate

Mirador Cuernos

A beautiful route that starts at beautiful turquoise Pehoé lake and impressive waterfall Salto Grande and after an hour finishes at Nordenskjold lake – one of the most beautiful easy to access viewpoints in the park.

  • Distance – 5 km
  • Required time – 2 hours
  • Closest hotel – Hosteria Pehoe
  • Starting/finishing point – Salto Grande
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – easy
Mountainous scenery with snowy peaks and clouds on a hike in Torres del Paine
The scenery on the Mirador Cuernos day hike in Torres del Paine

If you have time and would like to explore more of Patagonia you can join one of the adventurous tours e.g. End of the Earth or Discover Patagonia in-depth both tours include a visit to Torres del Paine in their itinerary.

Day hikes in the west side of Torres del Paine

A map of the day hikes in the south part of Torres del Paine
A map of the south side of Torres del Paine with 7 short hikes and hotels/campsites: 1 – Hotel Lago Grey; Refugio/campsite Paine Grande; 3 – Refugio/campsite Grey

Mirador Ferrier

A tough hike-climb to the viewpoint with stunning panoramic views over the lake, the glacier, and the valley, and pretty much all the lakes and rivers of this part of Torres del Paine. Good hiking shoes and rain jackets are highly recommended for this route. Don’t forget to take water there is no water on the route. Before you start you must register at the Guardería.

  • Distance – 3 km, return.
  • Required time – 3 hours
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Lago Grey
  • Starting/finishing point – Guardería Grey
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – difficult, very steep long ascend to the Mirador – 700m/2300 feet with the subsequent descent back to the road.

Cascada Pingo/Mirador Zapata

Another big waterfall but this time with fewer people compare to Salto Grande. To get here is quite a walk but well worth the effort as you get a chance to explore the waterfall and enjoy the tranquility of this part of the park. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow. In the beginning, you’ll walk past an abandoned campsite check out the view on Cerro Paine Grande from there.

If you continue walking further from Pingo waterfall in 2,5 km you will get to Zapata campsite – an abandoned campsite at the river bank. The walk is relatively flat and easy. From the campsite, it’s another 3 km to Mirador Zapata – a viewpoint from where you can see Pingo lake and the glacier. The part of the trail between the waterfall and the viewpoint is not the most spectacular. It’s worth continuing walking only if you’re planning to go all the way to the Mirador otherwise turn around at the waterfall and go back.

  • Distance – cascada Pingo – 20 km, return; Mirador Zapata – 30 km return
  • Required time – 5 hours to Cascada Pingo; 7-8 hours to Mirador Zapata
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Lago Grey
  • Starting/finishing point – Guardería Grey
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – moderate (Cascada Pingo); challenging (Mirador Zapata)
Cascada Pingo trail, Torres del Paine
Stunning scenery in Torres del Paine that you can enjoy on any hiking route in the park

Lago Grey hike

An easy walk that will lead you to Lago Grey and the ferry (catamaran) that goes to Grey glacier and Refugio Grey so you can combine it with the boat trip.

  • Distance – 5 km
  • Required time – 2 hours, return.
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Lago Grey
  • Starting/finishing point – Guardería Grey
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – easy

Mirador Lago Skottsberg

Another viewpoint not far from the hotel, first through the burnt forest and then along Skottsberg lake, when walking next to the lake check from time to time reflections of the mountains in the water. This hike can be completed as a part of a longer hike to Mirador Francés.

  • Distance – 5 km, return
  • Required time – 1h30min.
  • Closest hotel – Refugio/campsite Paine Grande
  • Starting/finishing point – Paine Grande
  • Accessibility – by boat
  • Difficulty – easy
Lago Pehoe trail, Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Stunning Pehoé lake on a day hike in Torres del Paine

Mirador Pehoé

Easy walk from the hotel towards the Administration entrance along Pehoé lake to the second Mirador (the first one is on the other side of the lake, at Hosteria Pehoé). You can walk as far as you wish there is a viewpoint about 3 km away from the hotel.

  • Distance – 5-6 km, return
  • Required time – 1h30min.
  • Closest hotel – Refugio/campsite Paine Grande
  • Starting/finishing point – Paine Grande
  • Accessibility – by boat
  • Difficulty – easy

Mirador Grey

The Mirador Grey viewpoint is located right in the middle between the Refugio Grey and Refugio Paine Grande. From this viewpoint, you’ll be able to see Lago Grey and Grey glacier in the distance. If you walk from Paine Grande you’ll walk past small and beautiful Laguna Los Patos (a nice spot to stop for rest and snack) and a waterfall just before the lake on the right-hand side.

You can do a day hiking tour (transportation included) from Puerto Natales to the viewpoint of Grey Glacier.

  • Distance – 11 km, return
  • Required time – 3 hours
  • Closest hotel – Refugio/campsite Paine Grande
  • Starting/finishing point – Refugio/campsite Paine Grande
  • Accessibility – by boat
  • Difficulty – moderate
The view of Lago Grey from a hiking trail
The scenery on the Lago Grey day hike in Torres del Paine

You can combine a trip to Torres del Paine with a visit to Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. It’s possible to get to El Calafate (the nearest to the glacier town) by bus from Puerto Natales.

Suspention bridges (Glacier Grey viewpoints)

Glacier Grey is one of the main highlights of Torres del Paine and is definitely worth visiting. The walk starts at Refugio Grey towards Campamento Paso, up to the hill. This route is part of the O circuit and it gives you a chance to admire the immense Grey Glacier. Walk across the suspension bridge from there you can see the glacier and the lake surrounded by mountains with snow peaks. Here you can turn around and walk back to the Refugio or keep walking till the next suspension bridge.

From the first bridge, you can continue walking towards Paso campsite till you reach the second suspension bridge, after the bridge, there is a viewpoint from where you’ll get a  stunning view over Grey glacier. The distance is not long but it’s quite a steep ascend all the way to the bridge and descend on the way back. Take a snack with there is no place to get food on the route.

  • Distance – Suspention bridge 1 – 5 km, return; suspention bridge 2 – 10 km, return
  • Required time – 2 hours to the first bridge; 4 hours to the second bridge
  • Closest hotel – Refugio/campsite Grey
  • Starting/finishing point – Refugio/campsite Grey
  • Accessibility – by boat
  • Difficulty – moderate (the first bridge); challenging (the second bridge)

Grey Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world that you can reach with a short boat trip. If you don’t have time to walk all the way to the Refugio Grey from Paine Grande you can do a return trip including getting off at the Refugio and spending a couple of hours there. If you want you can stay at the Refugio Grey and take a catamaran back the next day.

The ferry leaves from Hotel Lago Grey. Confirm the ferry timetable here. In the high season (1st October – 30th April) catamarans leave every 3 hours. Price one way – adults – CLP 70 000/US$105, children – CLP 35 000/US$52; return – adults – CLP 80 000/US$120 , children – CLP 40 000/US$60. 

If you want to sail up close to the massive wall of ice of the Grey Glacier you can join a cruise on the Grey Lake and the Pingo River. The total duration of the cruise is 3 hours.

  • Required time – 3 hours return boat trip
  • Closest hotel – Hotel Lago Grey
  • Starting/finishing point – Rio Pingo
  • Accessibility – by car
  • Difficulty – easy; relaxing and enjoyable boat trip
An amazing view of Grey Glacier on a day hike in Torres del Paine
The view of Glacier Grey from the suspension bridge. It’s one of the day hikes in Torres with the best view

Glacier Grey ice hiking

It’s an unforgettable experience and a real adventure, especially if you have never walked on ice in crampons and with an ice ax. It’s not a budget activity – CLP 125 000/US$200, it includes; boat transfer, guide, ice ax, crampons, harness. Tours depart three times a day at 8.30am, 10.00am and 14.30pm from October to April.

It’s possible to visit the glacier as a day tour from Puerto Natales (no glacier hiking).

  • Distance – about 10 km, return (ice hike + walking to the glacier)
  • Required time – 5 hours in total; 2h30min. ice hiking itself, 2 hours to walk to the glacier and back, 1-hour return boat trip.
  • Closest hotel – Refugio Grey
  • Starting/finishing point – Refugio Grey
  • Accessibility – by boat
  • Difficulty – moderate

To get the ultimate Patagonia experience you can combine hiking in Torres del Paine with trekking in El Chalten, the adventurous capital of Argentina. El Chalten like Torres del Paine offers a great variety of day hikes and multi-day trekking routes.

Where to stay before hiking in Torres del Paine?

You can choose to stay in Puerto Natales, the closest to Torres del Paine town, to stay just outside the park at one of the few hotels/refugios, or to be based in the park. The last option is the best if you want to spend a couple of days in Torres del Paine and do several day hikes.

Staying inside Torres del Paine

Pros

  • You save a lot of time driving to the park and back every day, especially if you stay in Puerto Natales.
  • You have incredible scenery around you 24 hours.
  • There are several campsites in Torres del Paine suitable for day-hikers (not far from the park entrances) which means your accommodation won’t be expensive if you’re willing to camp.

Cons

  • If you don’t want to camp, staying in the park (hotels or refugios) is quite a bit more expensive compared to staying outside the park.
  • As well as eating in the park is quite pricey.

Hotels and campsites inside Torres del Paine

Hotels and campsites inside Torres del Paine accessible for day hikers
The view of Hotel Las Torres and the mountain range
Hotel Las Torres is one of the hotels inside Torres del Paine from where you can do day hikes

Staying outside the park

If you don’t want to pay a lot and at the same time stay close to the park check some hotels and hostels just outside Torres del Paine. It’ll save you a lot of driving time that you can rather spend on hiking and will be cheaper than staying inside the park.

Accommodation outside Torres del Paine

To make it easier we decided to divide the park into three areas; east, west, and south. You can decide if you want to base in one part of the park and do day hikes accessible from there or move around more and visit different areas of the park.

Staying in Puerto Natales

Pros

  • In Puerto Natales, you can find budget and middle price range accommodation.
  • There are several shops and restaurants in Puerto Natales food is not a big expense here.

Cons

  • Puerto Natales is 112 km away, it takes between 2-3 hours to get to Torres del Paine from there and then 2-3 hours back.
  • You might save on accommodation but spend quite a bit on petrol if you drive a couple of times.

Hotels and hostels in Puerto Natales

How to get to Torres del Paine? 

If you’re planning to visit different parts of the park and move around quite a bit the best option is renting a car in Puerto Natales. If you’re a couple of people sharing a car it might be even cheaper than using a bus/taxi combination. Not many trails in the park are accessible by public buses to get to some of them you’ll need a car or a taxi.

There is a public bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine that stops at three main entrances; Administration, Pudeto, and Laguna Amarga. In high season buses leave twice a day, in low season only in the morning. The journey takes between 2h30min. and 3 hours. Price CLP 10 000/US$12 one way.

Bus Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine Morning Afternoon
Puerto Natales 7.30am 2.30pm
Laguna Amarga 9.45am 4.45pm
Pudeto (catamaran) 10.30am 5.15pm
Administration 11.45am 6pm
Bus timetable from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine

To get to Hotel Las Torres from Laguna Amarga take a shuttle bus. Its departure time is linked to the arrival time of buses from Puerto Natales, the journey takes 10 min. Price CLP 4000/US$5 one way. 

You can get back from Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales the same way.

Bus Torres del Paine – Puerto Natales Afternoon Evening
Administration 1pm 18.30pm
Pudeto (catamaran) 1.30pm 7pm
Laguna Amarga 2.30pm 7.45pm
Puerto Natales 5pm 10pm
Bus timetable Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales

To get from Pudeto to Refugio Paine Grande take a catamaran (ferry). It takes 30 min. to get to Paine Grande. Price CLP 20 000/US$26 one way, CLP 30 000/US$39 return. Note! First, you have to get off at Laguna Amarga (the first bus stop) to pay the entrance fee and then get back to the same bus (it’ll be waiting there) and go to Pudeto (the second stop). You can’t pay the entrance and register at Pudeto.

Catamaran Pudeto – Paine Grande Paine Grande – Pudeto
Departure 1 9am 9.35am
Departure 2 11am 11.35am
Departure 3 2pm 2.35pm
Departure 4 4.15pm 5pm
Departure 5 6pm 6.35pm
Catamaran departures Pudeto – Paine Grande – Pudeto

Entrance fees and transport expences

Entrance fee – CLP 25 600/US$32 in the season, off-season (May – September) – CLP 11 000/US$17. The ticket is valid for 3 days during which you can enter and exit the park several times. There is no extra charge for a car.

Transport. Bus Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine (return) – CLP 20 000/US$25. Bus Laguna Amarga – Hotel Las Torres (one way) – CLP 4000/US$5, free for the guest of Hotel Las Torres. Catamaran Pudeto – Refugio Paine Grande – CLP 20 000/US$26 one way, CLP 30 000/US$39 return.

Renting a car. At the airport in Punta Arenas from US$30 per day, depending on the car and rental period.

Tours in Torres del Paine. A boat trip Hotel Lago Grey to Grey glacier – from CLP 70 000/US$107 pp.; ice hike on Grey glacier – CLP 125 000/US$200 pp.; kayaking to Grey glacier – CLP 85 000/US$128 pp. for a 2,5-hour tour. Horse riding tour – CLP 50 000/US$75 pp. for a 3-hour tour.  

Practical information

The entrance ticket for Torres del Paine is valid for 3 consecutive days. Remember every time you exit the park ask at the gate to stamp your ticket. After 3 days you have to pay the entrance fee again and buy a new ticket.

Park entrance fees can be paid only in local currency (Chilean Peso) and only cash.

In the high season – December – February it’s recommended to book hotels a long time beforehand as they might be often fully booked.

If you’re planning to stay for several days in the park, print your booking confirmation and take your passport with you to show them at the entrance.  

If you’re planning to visit different parts of the park – the best way to move around is to rent a car. There is a public bus that goes to Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales but it stops only at three main park entrances, to get to some hotels and hiking trails you’ll need another transportation.

Drinking water can be found throughout the park; in several creeks, rivers, and waterfalls, it’s said to be good quality but if you have a sensitive stomach rather bring a UV filter or A LifeStraw bottle.  

In December and January, it can get very windy in the park make sure you have the right clothing; a windproof jacket, beanie, sunglasses, etc.

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