Let me start by saying Patagonia is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been and I have the photos to prove it! Here are 10 panoramas from my amazing hiking trips in Patagonia.
1. Rio Paine: Located in the Magallanes Region of Chile this was one of my favorite view points in Patagonia, the electric turquoise water of the Rio Paine flowing into Lago del Toro. Paine means "blue" in the native Tehuelche language and the water gets its color from glacial runoff. I started this hike from EcoCamp Patagonia, which is an amazing place to stay, and this was the ending view point of our 10 mile hike. Obviously, the view is well worth the hike.
2. Mirador Las Torres: These three granite peaks of the Paine Massif is where Torres del Paine got its name. They extend up to 2,500 meters above sea level and are joined by the Cuernos del Paine. This is not only one of my favorite view points in the park but my favorite hike as well. Starting from EcoCamp Patagonia, it's a solid five mile hike to the base but the entire hike is gorgeous. I would say is a MUST DO if you're in Patagonia. 3. Grey Glacier: Located at the tip of the Patagonia Ice Field, Grey Glacier stretches almost four miles wide and is over 100 feet tall. This panorama was taken from a boat which brought us right up to the glacier to marvel at it's vibrant colors and intricate ice sculptures.
4. Lago Pehoé: Sitting at the base of Torres del Paine, Lake Pehoé is one of the quintessential views inside the park and a great place to stop and take photos when heading up to Las Torres.
5. Cuernos del Paine: A geological work of art, the Paine Massif consists of Cretaceous-era sedimentary rocks that have been intruded by a Miocene-aged laccolith, add some glacial erosion and you have a masterpiece tens of thousands year in the making. A clear example of this process is the central bands of exposed granite that contrast strongly with the dark aspect of their tops, which are remnants of a heavily eroded sedimentary stratum. Can you spot the horns?
6. Lago Skottsberg: Right in the middle of the famous Torres del Paine W Trek you'll find Lago Skottsberg sitting at the bottom of the French Valley. This is a great place to take a break before making your way up the valley and you also get a nice profile of Cuernos del Paine.
7. Lago del Toro: Sitting on the edge of Torres del Paine, its etymology comes from the lake's ability to generate 12 foot swells due to high winds that can align with the long axis of the lake. Despite its bull-ish name, watching sunrises and sunsets light up Cuernos del Paine from the lake will truly enlighten you. Lago del Toro is also a great place to kayak with several islands to paddle around.
8. Cascades Paine: A large rock protruding from the Rio Paine creates a small group of waterfalls that set the stage for this beautiful view point. This is also a great place to see roaming guanacos and condors soaring above.
9. Lago Sarmiento: Named after Spanish explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, this lake stands out for its extensive calcium deposits that surround its shores, possibly from hydrothermal activity in the lake. 10. Lago Grey: Getting its name from its grey color this magnificent lake is glacially fed by the Grey Glacier. With a bounty of icebergs floating through its icy waters this view is definitely a highlight and concludes the W Trek for most hikers. Can you spot our group?
Ready to plan your trip to Patagonia? Let me introduce you to Wildland's Epic Chile Expedition: Atacama and Patagonia. This incredible 12-day adventure combines the best of the Atacama Desert in the north, and includes the entire W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in the south. Contact Gretchen, our South America program director to learn more.
Your friendly adventure photographer,