Best Hikes and Views in Patagonia

Patagonia is a huge geographical region that spans both Argentina and Chile. I explored two main regions of Patagonia. Torres del Paine National Park and the Los Glaciares National Park area surrounding El Chalten, Argentina. Here are all the the incredible places I got to explore. I’ll start with Argentina and then go into Chile.

Exploring Argentina

To start the trip I flew into Buenos Aires. From Buenos Aires I flew into El Calafate where I rented a car and drove to El Chalten. That’s where most of my adventures in Argentina were based; the magical town of El Chalten, “the trekking capital of the world”. Here are my favorite hikes and places I visited:

1. Laguna de los Tres

The Laguna de los Tres hike is incredible. It’s also strenuous and long. I woke my friend up at midnight to start this hike super early so we could get there for sunrise. She wasn’t keen on the time but somehow I persuaded her to tag along for the sunrise mission.

We parked at the trailhead which is less than a mile from the end of town, turned on our headlights, shouldered our packs, and set off at 1230am in the drizzling rain in 40 degree Fahrenheit weather. Not the nicest weather to hike in but that’s Patagonia.

The hike starts off with a series of switchbacks. The trail is very well-marked but I still recommend downloading the offline map from Alltrails. The terrain goes from wooded forests, to rocky riverbeds, to rocky, alpine mountain switchbacks. We reached the end of the hike (at the above picture) at 530am. Just in time to get in some alpenglow. We were super lucky with clear skies.

HIke Distance: 13.7 miles / Elevation Gain: 3,444 ft

AllTrails link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/argentina/santa-cruz/laguna-de-los-tres-via-sendero-al-fitz-roy?search=true&u=i

2. Laguna Sucia

An often missed opportunity, Laguna Sucia (above), might be the coolest part of the Laguna de los Tres hike. Laguna Sucia is only about an 8 minute hike from the Laguna de los Tres lookout and it was one of my favorite places of the trip.

HIke Distance: Only 0.2 miles round trip from the Laguna de los Tres lookout

AllTrails link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/argentina/santa-cruz/chalten-laguna-de-los-tres-laguna-sucia?u=i

3. Laguna Torre

Laguna Torre is another long hike but it’s relatively flat when compared to the Laguna de los Tres hike. The trailhead is only about 0.5 miles from the center of El Chalten.

HIke Distance: 10.9 miles / Elevation Gain: 1,610 ft

AllTrails link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/argentina/santa-cruz/laguna-torre-desde-el-chalten?u=i

4. Loma del Pliegue Tumbado

Somehow this hike isn’t nearly as popular as the hikes mentioned above but it might be the most epic. Look at this insane view. I learned about the hike from an El Chalten local who claims to have learned English from listening to Nirvana.

The hike starts about a mile outside of town and climbs through high desert terrain before it winds through wooded forest and then pops you out onto these magnificent green meadows (iPhone pictures above). The meadows were studded with blooming wildflowers when I went and there are also cattle grazing in the meadows with Fitz Roy and accompanying mountains standing proud in the background.

The summit gives you stunning 360 degree views. You can see over Laguna Torre, Cerro Fitz Roy, and Viedma Lake. I only saw three people on the trail and there was no one at the summit. I did this for sunset and ended up hiking back 3 hours in the dark through puma territory. It was a little scary but if you want an epic adventure, this is it.

HIke distance: 12.0 miles round trip / Elevation gain: 3,704 ft

AllTrails link: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/argentina/santa-cruz/loma-del-pliegue-tumbado–3?mobileMap=false&ref=sidebar-static-map&u=i

6. Huemel Glacier

This hike was a lot cooler than I thought it would be. It does take a while to get there from El Chalten. It takes about an hour and 10 min by car on a gravel road from El Chalten. However, you pass some gorgeous lakes on the way and the end view is worth it.

The hike is relatively short coming in at 2 miles and the elevation gain isn’t too bad. The water color is absolutely gorgeous and might be the most beautiful aqua water I’ve ever seen. There’s also an insanely artsy and cute cafe at the trailhead. We did the hike on a rainy and cold day and the hot tea, sweet pastries, and cackling fireplace at the cafe were a perfect ending to the wet adventure.

Hike distance: 2 miles round trip / Elevation gain: 669 ft

AllTrails link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/argentina/santa-cruz/glaciar-huemul?u=i

7. Ruta Provincial 23 Entering El Chalten

About 4-5 miles outside of El Chalten, along Ruta Provincial 23, you’ll find a gorgeous view of the mountain range with Cerro Fitz Roy jutting into the sky.

I was super lucky and captured some amazing lenticular clouds catching fire during sunset. After you’ve done multiple arduous hikes it’s nice to just drive a few miles outside of town and catch a relaxing sunset. (iPhone pictures below)

Exporing Chile: Torres del Paine National Park

Disclaimer: If visiting Torres del Paine National park, you will need to purchase a park pass for entrance ahead of time online.

You can buy a pass to Torres del Paine here: http://www.aspticket.cl

8. Cuernos Lookout

Cuernos Lookout hike gives you a great vantage point of “the horns”. A mid-distance hike coming in at 4.0 miles round trip. It takes you through some really cool landscapes. You’ll get see Salto Grande waterfall just a few minutes into the hike, walk by the burnt nothofagus tree forests, and walk past stunning views of Lake Nordenskjold.

Alltrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/chile/magallanes/mirador-cuernos?search=true&u=i

9. Mirador Base Las Torres Hike

Pictured above is me watching a snow storm engulfing the towers at sunrise.

Pictured above is me at 4am looking out at Lago Torres.

This is the most popular hike in Torres del Paine and this hike makes the eastern arm of the famous W TREK. It is possible to do Mirador Las Torres as a day hike and people do it all the time but it is quite an undertaking.

The hike starts at the Torres del Paine Welcome Center. From here it’s just shy of a 13 mile round trip with over 3,000 ft of elevation gain. You’ll see the official Torres del Paine trailhead sign just after passing Hotel Las Torresl. If you stay at Hotel Las Torres you’ll be able to park at the hotel. This will save you about 0.5 miles one way. (Below on the left you can see Hotel Las Torres). (Below on the right you can see the river you hike along to reach Refugio Chileno.

If you’re doing this as a day hike you’ll want to start early because this will take at the very least, 7-8 hours if you’re an incredibly fast hiker and don’t spend much time at the top. Below is a video of the trail about 1.5 miles in.

There is a much easier and more relaxing option if you have more time. You can split up the hike and stay at Refugio Chileno which is on the way. Refugio Chileno is a 2.5 hr hike from the Welcome Center and a 2 hour hike from Hotel Las Torres. Mirador Base Las Torres is around a 2 hr hike from Refugio Chileno. It would be ideal to hike to Refugio Chileno to spend the night and then wake up early for a sunrise hike. This is what I did. You can see the peaks from the Refugio. (You can see the inside and outside view of the Refugio in the below videos.

Refugio Chileno has a few different sleeping options. They have actual beds inside the hostel, pre-pitched tents on platforms with sleeping bags, and they also have bare sites to put up your own tent. They have bathrooms and showers you can pay to use. I reserved a tent and sleeping bag so I wouldn’t have to carry either. It was incredibly comfortable and I highly recommend it. Below is the tent I stayed in.

The Refugio is very cozy. They have a big common room open to all hikers. It’s outfitted with a kitchen you can purchase food and drinks from. They also have a wifi machine but you have to pay around $10 USD to use it. (Below on the left is one of the showers with my toiletries inside)

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/chile/magallanes/mirador-torres-del-paine-via-sendero-las-torres-a-chileno?u=i

10. Grey Glacier

A very popular thing to do is to take the ferry to see Grey Glacier. The ferry departs from Hotel Lago Grey (kind of). (In the picture above you can see me drinking the cruise’s signature drink; a pisco sour with ancient glacier ice to chill it.) (Below is a video of the last part of the short hike to get to the boat

So on the website it says that the ferry departs from Hotel Lago Grey but it actually departs from another location. The Hotel provides transportation to the drop off site which is less than a 2 minute drive. From there, it’s a leisurely half mile hike to get to the ferry.

I used this website to book my tour: https://www.denomades.com/en/puerto-natales/grey-glacier-navigation-id391?gclid=CjwKCAjwge2iBhBBEiwAfXDBRzMy4LZKSluFyXCRRr7aI5iF1OGX9KeoXg4wPPP7CnRfzICzKr8bnRoCIUMQAvD_BwE

(In the video below you can see the inside of the cabin where you’ll be for the majority of the time if the lake is too rough to stand outside.)

(In the video below you can see the view from outside of the ferry cabin)

11. Rio Serrano: A Luxury Hotel in Patagonia

If you are tired of “roughing it” in the Patagonian back country and need some creature comforts, the Rio Serrano is THE place to go. Situated in one of the most picturesque valleys in Patagonia, this hotel has all the luxurious amenities you’re craving. (Below is a video of the gorgeous room)

The prices are steep. I decided to treat myself and spent around $500 for one night but it was totally worth it. The gorgeous views of the sprawling green meadow giving way to the majestic backdrop of the Chilean Andes are unbelievable. (Below is a video of the pool. I think this is the best part of the whole hotel)

The restaurant here is top notch and the hotel also comes with a full luxury spa, small gym, and a complimentary breakfast buffet which actually sports quite a large spread. (Below is a video of the elaborate dining area)

Hotel Website: https://rioserrano.com

12. The View from the Explora Hotel in Torres Del Paine and Salto Chico Waterfall

Right between the Explora Hotel and the peaks of Torres del Paine is this picturesque boardwalk in the video above. You can access this without staying in the hotel. Another great view just outside the hotel but behind is a beautiful waterfall. called Salto Chico (See the video below)

Hotel Link: https://www.explora.com/?gclid=CjwKCAjw9pGjBhB-EiwAa5jl3A0Hf6s5kAVqvC8HlTrsd4lwITDkoTmgtqMzuOJXnnRNRfqP5mpXYRoCdK8QAvD_BwE