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5 Hikes in Patagonia That Will Leave You Speechless

5 Hikes in Patagonia That Will Leave You Speechless

Hiking is one of the main reasons to visit Patagonia and it is home to some of the most iconic hikes in the world. You can find everything from fairly easy hikes that will take you to some of the most beautiful views you've ever seen to hardcore treks to places few will ever see. While this blog is only going to focus on 5 hikes in Los Glaciares and Torres del Paine National Park they are all hikes that are attainable by most adventure travelers and will leave you speechless. Wildland Adventures offers a collection of hiking trips in Patagonia that we can tailor to each traveler's needs, style, and budget. I've created a gallery for each hike to give you a real look at the beauty waiting for you in Patagonia.

Los Glaciares National Park 

Perito Moreno Glacier Trek 

The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park and is 97 sq mi in size. It is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and despite that most glaciers worldwide are retreating as a result of global warming and climate change, this is one of the few unusual glaciers that maintain a state of equilibrium. It continues to advance along its 3-mile-front with columns of ice over 20 stories high that frequently peel off the face and crash into Lago Argentino creating massive icebergs. To get to the glacier cross Lago Argentino by boat along the front wall of the glacier to the edge of the Patagonian Ice Cap and hike through the beech forest up onto the ice pack. From there you'll don crampons and walk for 2 hours across the ice field, exploring blue caves and hidden tunnels. Watch for Andean condor and Buff-necked Ibis while you listen to the glacier crack and see giant icebergs calving into the lake. If you're interested in this hike check out our Best of Patagonia and Active Hikers' Patagonia.

Participants in the glacier walk must be between the ages of 10-65 due to the park's rigidly
enforced age restrictions. There is also a 6-hour trek on the glacier if you'd like something longer for those between the ages of 18 to 50.

Distance: (Varies)
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

Fitz Roy/Laguna de los Tres
There are a few hikes around Fitz Roy but one you can't miss is the hike up to Laguna de los Tres, also known as the Fitz Roy Trek. The original name of the Cerro Fitz Roy is Chalten, which in the Aoniken language means "smoking mountain." The name referred to the clouds that typically form around the peak. Mount Fitz Roy was a sacred mountain to the Mapuche indigenous people that used to live in the region.

The hike starts just north of El Chalten at Hosteria El Pilar, you can start from El Chalten but starting from El Pilar will save you some time and an easier start. The first viewpoint is at Mirador Piedras Blancas, which offers a dramatic view of the Piedras Blancas Glacier across the valley. From there you'll continue along the Rio Blanco to Campamento Poincenot, a small campground in the forest. From here you'll cross the Río Blanco and make the steep 1.3 mi ascent gaining 1,300 ft. When the weather is clear you will have views of Fitz Roy all along the trail, so if the weather changes or you can't seem to make that last 1,300 ft ascent you can loop back to El Chalten no problem. I have to say the climb is worth it! Once you reach Laguna de Los Tres you'll be treated to a breathtaking view of Fitz Roy (11,171 ft). Definitely, scroll through the galleries in this blog to see just how amazing the views are.

This hike is probably my favorite in Patagonia, it's hard to choose, but I feel that this hike is quintessential example of hiking Patagonia with a rolling trail through a beautifully quiet Lenga forest, the turquoise and white Rio Blanco, a short, well-worth it steep climb, glacial-fed lakes that change color with the light from vivid green to steely grey, and of course the epic spire of Fitz Roy. If ready for this hike check out our Active Hikers' Patagonia.

Distance: 11.7 miles with about 3,000 ft of gain.
Time: 9-10 hours
Difficulty: Difficult
Cerro Torre/Laguna Torre/Mirador Maestri 
Bursting up from the Andes Cerro Torre is the tallest (10,262 ft) of the 12 peaks that make up the Cerro Torre Group. It's dramatic granite peaks are like something out of a dream and one can only imagine what the first explorers thought when they came across these mighty peaks. The wonderful thing about nature is you'll still have that same feeling of exploration the first time you see Cerro Torre regardless of who saw it first. 

This hike can have a few different routes and endpoints depending on how far you'd like to hike but for the most part, you are hiking to Laguna Torre to get views of Cerro Torre and if you'd like a little extra you can continue past the laguna to Mirador Maestri to get a better vantage point of Glacier Torre and the laguna. This hike does not go to the base of Cerro Torre.

Our marketing director, who is an avid hiker, says this was his all-time favorite hike. Located in Los Glaciares National Park just outside the town of El Chalten this is one of the most dramatic and alluring hikes in Patagonia and is definitely attainable for most hikers. Starting from El Chalten this hike will take you through beech tree forests, past stunning waterfalls and the spectacular Fitz Roy Rio Canyon. Within the first thirty minutes of the hiking, you should reach the first viewpoint located at the gorge of the Fitz Roy river which has a panoramic view of the Cerro Solo, Adela range, Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy. This is one of those hikes that at almost every moment you're looking at a pretty incredible view. Continuing through the valley you'll reach De Agostini camp after about four miles and then make your way up the moraine for another mile to reach Laguna Torre. From here you get an outstanding view of Cerro Torre and since the lake is fed from Glacier Torre you'll find plenty of floating ice in the lake, you can even take a tip in the lake if you're up for an ice bath… To make it to Mirador Maestri it is a bit steeper of a hike and you add 1.25 miles each way but it is worth the little extra to get a view looking down on Glacier Torre. Wildland offers two trips that include this hike, our Active Hikers' Patagonia & Southern Crossing: Aysen to Fitz Roy.

Distance: 11 miles El Chalten to Laguna Torre and back and 13.6 miles El Chalten to Mirador Maestri and back. 1,400 ft of elevation gain from El Chalten to Mirador Maestri.
Time: 7-8 hours (add 1-2 hours for Mirador Maestri)

Difficulty: Moderate (distance is probably the biggest factor for most hikers) 

Torres del Paine National Park 

Las Torres
Many like to think of Torres del Paine as the "8th Wonder of the World" and this hike to Las Torres is probably what helped get it on that list. The three distinctive granite peaks of the Paine mountain range or Paine Massif are what helped give the park its name. From left to right they are Torres d'Agostini, Torres Central and Torres Monzino. They extend up to 8,200 ft above sea level and are joined by the Cuernos del Paine.

Starting from Hotel Las Torres the first mile is pretty flat and it takes you across a few small bridges before it starts to get steeper as you make your way up the mountain. At about halfway through the hike, you'll come across Refugio Chileno where if they are open you can grab a snack, drink or coffee. After the Refugio, you will enter what can only be described as an enchanted forest that will gradually work it's way up the valley. After about 1.5 miles you will exit the forest and begin the steepest part and final push up to Mirador Las Torres. The last section can be tough and should take you between 45-60 mins, then you get your breath taken away again with an unbelievable view of Las Torres. Being that this is such an incredible hike we offer it on five of our trips to Patagonia: Epic Chile ExpeditionBest of PatagoniaBest of ChileIn the Wake of Magellan: Patagonia by Land & Sea, and Southern Crossing: Aysen to Fitz Roy

Distance: 11.2 miles round trip with 3,000 ft of elevation gain.
Time: 8-9 hours

Difficulty: Difficult (the trail is good but the distance and elevation gain are something to consider.) 

Fauna Trail
This hike is a bit gentler than the ones mentioned above but what it lacks in difficulty it makes up in sheer beauty. Starting along Lago Sarmiento this trail gives you the chance to see one of the park's most extensive areas of bioclimatic diversity. Here it is possible to enjoy the wild fauna such as guanacos, ñandues, condors and grey foxes interacting naturally; the ideal spot to take amazing pictures of fauna in their natural environment. This area is also one of the favorite places for the puma to hunt and during my recent trip there I was lucky enough to see one. She was lounging about having just eaten. I never would have seen her if it wasn't for my guide, her buff-cream coloring blends in so well with the pampas grasses.

The history buffs will have the chance to visit local caves with prehistoric paintings dating back over 6,000 years. The hike finishes at the Laguna Azul, one of the best spots to view of the majestic Las Torres.

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2.5-3 hours

Difficulty: Easy 

I hope this list sparked your interest in traveling to Patagonia! We can help you design a custom trip to Patagonia and include as many hikes as you like. If you need any help please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Your friendly Patagonia expert,

Laura Cahill 
South America Director

Finding Focus in South America
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