Hiking

12 beautiful day hikes in Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

You don't need to hike the W to see the best of Torres Del Paine. This selection of day hikes includes options for trekkers of all abilities.

Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile features the most iconic scenery of the Patagonia region. The park is famous for its multi-day hiking trails, but there are plenty of shorter routes that enable you to see its lakes, mountains and glaciers. In this article we compile the very best Torres Del Paine day hikes for experiencing the park’s highlights.

Check out our comprehensive guide to trekking in Patagonia for more trails around the region.

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Where to stay for hiking in Torres Del Paine

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the hiking routes, let’s talk accommodation. Whatever your travel style, there are a range of places to stay in Torres Del Paine National Park and the nearby town Puerto Natales.

Our guide to hostels in Puerto Natales details the best budget accommodation in the town for trekkers. Accommodation inside the park comes at a higher price, but if you’re willing to part with some extra cash, you can bunk down with those incredible landscapes right outside your window. See our compilation of stunning places to stay in Torres Del Paine for ideas.

You will also find various campsites and refugios scattered all around the park along the hiking trails. Our ultimate guide to hiking the W Trek details the spots on the main route, and you can see their locations in relation to the hiking routes on this park map.

Torres Del Paine day hikes: east side

1.  Base Las Torres

Base Las Torres
We were unlucky with the weather on our hike to Base Las Torres and couldn’t see the towers
  • Distance / time: 18 kilometres return, 8 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate–hard (steep climb on uneven terrain to reach the towers)
  • Starts and ends: Hotel Las Torres
  • Nearby accommodation: Hotel Las Torres, EcoCamp Patagonia

The image of three granite towers rising above the shimmering green lagoon at Base Las Torres is among the most famous in Patagonia. The mirador at Las Torres is the east ‘prong’ of the W Trek, and can also be reached in a long day hike from the park’s eastern entrance.

The trail begins at Hotel Las Torres, which you can reach in a shuttle bus ride from the CONAF park office on the east side of the park. The first section of the hike rises gently into a valley with a river gurgling below. After a couple of hours you will arrive at Camping El Chileno. From here, the path follows the river before meandering through dense forest for 3 kilometres or so. Finally, a steep ascent of around 400 metres elevation gain leads up to the Torres lookout point.

The route is manageable in a day hike, but it would be challenging to make it back to Puerto Natales. If going self-guided it may help to book an overnight stay on the east side of the park. Alternatively, you can take a full guided day trek from Puerto Natales, which includes transport, lunch and park entrance fees.

Tip: keep an eye on the weather in the days before your hike. If you have flexibility and the weather is overcast, wait for a clear day for the best views.

2.  Lago Nordernskjöld

Lago Nordenskjöld Torres Del Paine
The green and shimmering Lago Nordenskjöld stretches along the middle of the park from east to west
  • Distance / time: 12/22 kilometres, anything from 4 to 8 hours return
  • Difficulty: easy–moderate
  • Starts and ends: Hotel Las Torres
  • Nearby accommodation: Hotel Las Torres, EcoCamp Patagonia

The calming waters of Lago Nordernskjöld stretch from east to west through the centre of the park, with its northern shore making up the middle section of the W Trek. A hike along this shore from Hotel Las Torres culminates in views of the famous ‘horns’ of Los Cuernos.

This is one of the easier sections of hiking in the park, with the path climbing and falling gently alongside the lake. You can choose to hike all the way from the trailhead to Refugio Los Cuernos and back, a long day’s hike of around 22 kilometres return, or just walk part-way to see some gorgeous lake views for a less strenuous option.

Bring a lunch pack-up and stop for a picnic at one of the many stunning lake lookout spots.

3.  Laguna Azul and Laguna Cebolla

Torres Del Paine view across Laguna Azul
Laguna Azul is the only spot where the towers of Las Torres can be seen fully from outside the massif
  • Distance / time: 16 kilometres return, 5–6 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Starts and ends: Portería Laguna Azul
  • Nearby accommodation: Hotel Las Torres, EcoCamp Patagonia

This scenic hike in the easternmost section of the park is a secluded trail away from the beaten path, and gives a stunning alternative perspective of the massif. The three towers of Las Torres are fully visible from the trail, and on clear days they can be seen reflecting in the sapphire waters of Laguna Azul.

The return hike begins and ends at Portería Laguna Azul, on the eastern side of the lake. It’s not on the bus route so you need to drive to the trailhead if going self-guided (see RentalCars to compare hire prices in Puerto Natales). Some tour agencies in Puerto Natales offer guided hikes with transfers included.

The trail follows the northern shore of Laguna Azul before diverting across a hilly section to the Laguna Cebolla lookout point. Stop here to enjoy a picnic lunch with a view before turning back for the return leg.

4.  The Fauna Trail

Fauna Trail guanacos
Guanacos and other native wildlife can be seen along the Fauna Trail
  • Distance / time: 8 kilometres, 2–3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Starts: Portería Lago Sarmiento
  • Ends: Portería Laguna Amarga
  • Nearby accommodation: Hotel Las Torres, EcoCamp Patagonia

Torres Del Paine is full of interesting wildlife, but on the popular trails the park’s resident animals don’t usually show up in abundance. The Fauna Trail is a gentle, less-trodden path that is rife with creatures such as guanacos, red foxes, condors, pygmy owls, and even the occasional puma.

The trail is one of the shortest in the park, running from Lago Sarmiento up to the smaller Laguna Amarga. Midway through the trail you have an option to take a slight detour (45 mins to an hour) to see some ancient cave paintings originating from thousands of years ago.

You can book a guided trek from Lago Sarmiento that includes transport to the starting point and from the finishing point. To access the trail independently you will need a car. You can begin from either side (Amarga or Sarmiento) and hike it as a return trail.

Torres Del Paine day hikes: west side

5.  Grey Glacier

The return route from Paine Grande to Grey Glacier is one of the classic Torres Del Paine day hikes
The return route from Paine Grande to Grey Glacier is one of the classic Torres Del Paine day hikes
  • Distance / time: 24 kilometres return / 8-9 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Starts and ends: Refugio Paine Grande
  • Nearby accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande, Refugio Grey

Grey Glacier is another of the iconic sights of Torres Del Paine, located at the western end of the W Trek. This remarkable ice mass is part of the South Patagonian Ice Field, and is 6 kilometres wide and 30 metres high at its face.

it is possible to reach Grey Glacier in a single day return hike from Refugio Paine Grande, following the path that clings to the eastern edge of Lago Grey. The lake and mountain views are spectacular throughout the trail as the glacier approaches in the distance.

If you take the morning ferry from Pudeto you can make the return in time for the last departure of the day, although you may want to book a night at Paine Grande (via Vertice Patagonia) to take the pressure off. Another option is to book a guided full-day trek to Grey Glacier from Puerto Natales, which includes transport and lunch.

6.  The suspension bridges

Suspension bridge in Torres Del Paine National Park
Views of the ice field from the suspension bridge. Photo by Juan Rojas Farias, distributed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • Distance / time: dependent on starting point
  • Difficulty: moderate–hard
  • Starts and ends: Refugio Paine Grande (very long day hike) / Refugio Grey (half-day hike)
  • Nearby accommodation: Refugio Grey, Campamento Paso

If you continue hiking north from Mirador Glacier Grey, you will soon reach one of the most beautiful sections of the O Circuit. The path climbs sharply up to the east of the ice field offering spectacular views of the glacier from above.

About 30–45 minutes’ hiking north from Refugio Grey you will reach the first of two suspension bridges. Continue on for about the same distance up the steep path and you will arrive at the second suspension bridge, where one of the most spectacular views in the park awaits.

A full-day return hike from Refugio Paine Grande to the second suspension bridge is a 30-kilometre slog that requires a high level of fitness. Another option is to book a night at Refugio Grey (via Vertice Patagonia) and split it into a more relaxed two-day hike, or continue north of the bridges to stay at Campamento Paso (10 kilometres north of Refugio Grey).

7.  French Valley (Mirador Francés and Mirador Británico)

Mirador Británico Torres Del Paine
Mirador Británico is the middle prong of the W Trek, and can also be reached in a day hike from Paine Grande
  • Distance / time: 20 or 26 kilometres return, 8–10 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate–hard
  • Starts and ends: Refugio Paine Grande
  • Nearby accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande, Campamento Italiano

The French Valley forms the middle section of the W Trek. The path through the valley culminates at Mirador Británico, the highest point of this section, with a panoramic view of the park’s mountains and granite towers from the middle of the massif.

Similar to the Grey Glacier route, Mirador Británico can be reached in a return day hike from Refugio Paine Grande. It’s a tough, long hike with a very steep section towards the end. For the first few kilometres you will pass through grassy plains and around the edge of Lago Skottsberg, followed by a section of moody dead forestland. When you reach Campamento Italiano, the ascent begins – and you can leave your bags here with the ranger if you want to shed some weight.

Midway up you will reach Mirador Francés, with a lovely view around the valley and down towards Lago Nordernskjöld. If you’re struggling you can opt to turn back here, which cuts out about 6 kilometres of hiking (and the steepest part).

The return hike from Refugio Paine Grande to Mirador Francés is also available to book as a guided trek.

8.  Lago Skottsberg

The famous horns of Los Cuernos can be seen from the west across Lago Skottsberg
The famous horns of Los Cuernos can be seen from the west across Lago Skottsberg
  • Distance / time: 5 kilometres return, 1–2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Starts and ends: Refugio Paine Grande
  • Nearby accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande

This shorter, lighter alternative to the French Valley return hike follows the first section of the same trail to the shores of Lago Skottsberg. It’s a relaxing walk for people of all abilities, and ends with a gorgeous view of the horns of Los Cuernos across the blue water.

The Lago Skottsberg trail can easily fit into a round day trip from Puerto Natales, taking a morning bus and ferry before returning in the afternoon/evening.

9.  Mirador Ferrier

  • Distance / time: 3 kilometres return (with 650 metres elevation gain), 3–4 hours
  • Difficulty: hard
  • Starts and ends: Guardería Grey (about a 15-minute walk from Hotel Lago Grey)
  • Nearby accommodation: Hotel Lago Grey

A quiet trail off the beaten path, this features one of the most impressive viewpoints in Torres Del Paine National Park. The hike to Mirador Ferrier is a tough ascent that climbs 650 metres at an average gradient of nearly 40°, but the effort is rewarded with a panoramic vista of the park’s lakes and massif.

The trailhead for the hike to Mirador Ferrier is not a park bus route, so you will need to make your own way there by road. One option is to stay at the nearby Hotel Lago Grey, and the staff there will help arrange your transfers.

The trail begins at Guardería Grey, a ranger station not far away from the hotel. From there the path climbs steeply up to the viewpoint. One of the park’s most secluded trails, there are usually few hikers around and you will most likely have the view at the top to yourself.

Torres Del Paine day hikes: south side

10.  Mirador Cuernos and Salto Grande waterfall

Mirador Los Cuernos
The short, flat hike to Mirador Los Cuernos is easy to reach and ends with a great view of the massif
  • Distance / time: 8 kilometres return, 2–3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Starts and ends: Pudeto
  • Nearby accommodation: Hostería Pehoé

This short trail is the easiest to reach in the park and features some of its scenic highlights. After passing the Salto Grande waterfall, the path leads to a view of the Los Cuernos horns and Paine massif across the emerald waters of Lago Nordernskjöld. If you have just a single day to spare in Puerto Natales, this route is a great way to see some of the famous scenery at the heart of the park without too much effort.

You can begin the trail at the Pudeto ferry port (where buses from Puerto Natales drop off), or at Salto Grande about 1.5 kilometres up. An easy and clearly marked trail then leads up to Mirador Cuernos. Bring some lunch to enjoy at the viewpoint.

11.  Laguna Verde and Mirador Lago Toro

In the southernmost section of Torres Del Paine, this full-day trail is situated close to the park entrance. The trail begins about a mile north of the CONAF administration centre on Ruta Y-150, where a path leads up to Mirador Lago Toro after about 45 minutes of walking.

After appreciating the elevated view across the lake, you can continue on the path to reach Laguna Verde, which should take another 3–4 hours. The path follows the laguna’s southern shore before finishing at Guardería Laguna Verde. It’s also possible to start the trail here and hike it in the opposite direction.

Estancia Lazo is a nice place to stay right next to Laguna Verde if you want to break the hike up with an overnight lodging.

12.  Mirador Condor

Mirador Condor Torres Del Paine
The view across Lake Pehoé from Mirador Condor. Photo by Marie Jose Varela, distributed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • Distance / time: 3 kilometres return (with 200 metres elevation gain), 1–2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy–moderate
  • Starts and ends: Camping Lake Pehoé
  • Nearby accommodation: Explora Patagonia Hotel Salto Chico

A simple up-and-down hike to a panoramic viewpoint, the trail to Mirador Condor begins at the Lago Pehoé campsite. It should take about 45 minutes to ascend to the top, where you are greeted with views of the Paine massif across Lago Pehoé, and the smaller lake of Laguna Negra.

Although the buses from Puerto Natales pass the trailhead they do not stop, so this route is best accessed by car. You can park at Camping Lago Pehoé. If you happen to be staying at the idyllic Explora Patagonia Hotel, the trailhead is a 15-minute walk away.

Accessing the park and entrance fees

Buses run at least twice daily throughout the trekking season (September to April) from Puerto Natales into the park. You can buy tickets at the station or in advance online – check Busbud to find a service. A return journey should cost around 16,000 Chilean pesos / $22.50 US dollars.

The final bus drop-off is the CONAF park administration office. From there you can take a shuttle bus up to Hotel Las Torres for the eastern side hiking trails for 3,000 Chilean pesos / $4.50 US dollars.

To access the west side of the park by public transport, you need to get off the bus at Pudeto and take a ferry across Lago Pehoé to Refugio Paine Grande. A return ferry ticket is 28,000 Chilean pesos / $39 US dollars.

In the 2019/20 season, the Torres Del Paine park entrance fee is 21,000 Chilean pesos / $29.50 US dollars in October–April and 11,000 Chilean pesos / $15.50 US dollars in May–September.

For car hire, see RentalCars to find the best prices in Puerto Natales.

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The very best Torres Del Paine day hikes for people of all abilities, including information on distance, time, difficulty, location and where to stay. #torresdelpaine #lastorres #patagoniahikes #greyglacier #patagoniahiking

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