Travel Guide

10 Unbelievable long-distance treks in Patagonia

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Patagonia is a wild area within the southern tip of South America with among the greatest long-distance trekking routes on the continent. From the favored routes in Torres del Paine Nationwide Park to off-the-beaten-track trails within the Patagonia Nationwide Park. One can spend a few months mountaineering within the area. The surroundings on the treks is unimaginable; large glaciers, turquoise lagoons, snowy peaks, hidden valleys, and breathtaking lookout factors. We put collectively a listing of the 10 greatest long-distance hikes in Patagonia.

Two lakes (grey and turquoise colors) in the Patagonian wild
Spectacular surroundings on one of many long-distance treks in Patagonia

In the event you want staying within the consolation of a resort room to tenting within the wild there are many superb day hikes in Patagonia that change from simple routes appropriate for hikers with kids to tougher trails for skilled trekkers.

Refugio Otto Meiling trek, Bariloche, Argentina

  • Distance – 30 km/18,6 miles, return
  • Required time – 2 days
  • Issue stage – medium
  • Beginning/ending level – Pampa Linda
  • Accessibility –  by automotive or by bus, 2-hour drive from Bariloche
  • Admission payment – ARS 350/US$3,5, tenting ARS 300/US$3, dorm mattress – ARS 900/US$9.
  • Lodging choices – dorm beds (mattreses on the ground) or tenting with your personal gear.

The Otto Mering trek is mainly one steep and lengthy ascent to the Refugio Otto Mering (an in a single day hut) and a subsequent steep descent on the following day. The entire altitude acquire is 1000m. Some components of the trek are on rocky terrain however total it’s not a technical route and doesn’t require a excessive stage of health. The view from the Refugio over the world is beautiful. The path takes hikers by means of totally different landscapes; fields, rivers, indigenous forest, and rocky mountains.

The Refugio is about 15 min. stroll to get to the beautiful Tronador Glacier. The glacier is kind of spectacular; it’s hanging from the highest of the mountain with a number of waterfalls falling down a few hundred meters. You may go to the world and see the glacier with a day tour from Bariloche.

Locations to remain in Bariloche

Bariloche is a captivating city with many lodges, hostels, eating places, and memento retailers. It’s an amazing place to begin your Patagonia journey.

Otto Meiling overnight hut for the trekkers
Refugio Otto Meiling, the tip of the long-distance trek in Bariloche, Patagonia

Cerro Castillo Circuit, Carretera Austral, Chile

  • Distance – 53 km/33 miles
  • Required time – Four days, will be accomplished in Three days
  • Issue stage – reasonable, two steep ascents and descents.
  • Place to begin – Las Horquetas/Villa Cerro Castillo
  • Ending level – Las Horquetas/Villa Cerro Castillo
  • Accessibility –  by automotive/bus from Coyhaique or Villa Cerro Castillo
  • Admission payment+tenting within the park – CLP 23 5000/US$28
  • Lodging choices – tenting

The Cerro Castillo Circuit is one in every of our favourite long-distance treks in Patagonia. The route goes by means of the Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park. The trek presents an amazing range of landscapes; hanging glaciers, indigenous pine forest, snowy peaks, turquoise lakes, mountain rivers, inexperienced meadows, and rocky passes with snow even in summer time. Some components of the path contain steep ascents or descents and are fairly difficult however the views are 100% rewarding. The spotlight of the trek is the Cerro Castillo Glacier, an enormous hanging glacier dropping down right into a small turquoise lagoon. The circuit will be finished both means beginning at Villa Cerro Castillo or at Las Horquetas.

Typically the Cerro Castillo Nationwide Park is described because the second Torres del Paine. Some hikers want it over the well-known nationwide park primarily as a result of Cerro Castillo is much less business and much much less crowded. The infrastructure within the park is sweet sufficient, the route is marked, there are designated campsites with very fundamental amenities. We actually loved the circuit however to be trustworthy the surroundings on one of many longer routes in Torres del Paine is extra spectacular.

Locations to remain in Coihaique

Coihaique is the closest large city with many lodging choices, eating places, gear rental locations, and retailers. You may keep in Villa Cerro Castillo however it’s a extremely small place with a few campsites, lodges, and a small store or two.

Alya on the Cerro Castillo trek in Patagonia
Alya on the highest of the cross overlooking the Cerro Castillo Glacier and Lake in Patagonia

Journey insurance coverage. In the event you’re planning a mountaineering journey in Patagonia it’s extremely really helpful to have journey insurance coverage that may cowl you in case one thing goes mistaken. Trekking is likely to be not probably the most harmful outside exercise however if you’re going to spend days within the remoted components of Patagonia with its harsh climate situations and difficult routes it’s higher to be insured. In the event you haven’t chosen an insurance coverage firm but we will suggest our companions World Nomads. It’s a dependable firm that covers vacationers all around the world. Their insurance coverage coverage may be very versatile it may well cowl all the journey or only a mountaineering a part of it. It takes a few minutes to buy it on-line. Get your on the spot quote now!

Jeinemeni Áviles Valley trek, Patagonia Nationwide Park, Chile

  • Distance – 95 km/59 miles
  • Required time – 4-5 days
  • Issue stage – tough, very remoted space, a number of river crossing
  • Beginning/ending level – Jeinimeni lake or Stone Home campsite, will be walked both means
  • Accessibility – by automotive. In the event you don’t have your personal automobile it’s higher to rearrange a shuttle that may drop you off and choose you up, only a few vehicles going that means.
  • Admission payment – free
  • Lodging choices – tenting

The Áviles to Jeinmeni trek within the Patagonia Nationwide Park is for actual adventurers. It’s in all probability one of many wildest long-distance treks in Patagonia. Earlier than trying this route be sure you have the proper gear and sufficient experience to wander within the wild alone. It’s a must to carry tenting gear and meals sufficient at some stage in the trek. It’s necessary to pack the proper gear for mountaineering in Patagonia.

The route begins or finishes (relying on which means you go) on the lovely Jeinimeni Lake adopted by much more spectacular Lago Verde – a turquoise lake surrounded by mountains and forest. For the next 4-5 days the surroundings within the Patagonia Nationwide Park will proceed shocking you; an remoted and untouched space with ice-cold rivers that you just’ll need to cross, lovely valleys surrounded by excessive mountains, pampa, and forest – right here you possibly can see all the variety of the Patagonian panorama.

O’Higgins Glacier trek, Carretera Austral, Chile

  • Distance – 82 km/51 miles, return
  • Required time – Four days
  • Issue stage – reasonable/tough, very remoted space
  • Beginning/ending level – Candelario Mancilla
  • Accessibility – by boat from Villa O’Higgins, on foot from Laguna del Desierto
  • Admission payment – pay for return boat crossing and tenting on the island (non-public land) CLP 20 000/US$30.
  • Lodging choices – tenting

Villa O’Higgins the place you begin the trek is a small village on the finish of the Carretera Austral. Any hike you do round Villa O’Higgins is an off-the-grid journey and the O’Higgins Glacier trek will not be an exclusion. The path takes you thru the Patagonian forest to the attractive O’Higgins lake. There you need to take a ship to cross it, on the alternative aspect there’s a longtime campsite that belongs to a household that lives there. From the campsite, it’s a day stroll (return) to the perspective from the place you possibly can see the huge O’Higgins glacier. You stroll again the identical means. The surroundings on the trek is actually spectacular: the O’Higgins and El Chico Glaciers, the turquoise O’Higgins Lake, a number of waterfalls, indigenous forest, and untouched nature. All these you possibly can take pleasure in with out crowds in whole solitude.

Earlier than coming to Patagonia we’ve finished a number of hikes in Peru however the O’Higgins Glacier trek was extra distant than any routes we’ve finished there. It’s obligatory to register at Chilean Carabineros for the hike and point out a day you’re planning to return. This trek will be mixed with the stroll Villa O’Higgins to El Chaltén.

Locations to remain in Villa O’Higgins

Villa O’Higgins is a extremely small place with a store, a few lodges and one or two campsites, and a few eating places.

Scenery on the Glacier O'Higgins trek in Patagonia
View of O’Higgins Lake from the O’Higgins Glacier trek, some of the distant long-distance treks in Patagonia

Villa O’Higgins to El Chaltén trek, Chile/Argentina

  • Distance – 34 km/21 miles
  • Required time – 2 days
  • Issue stage – reasonable, relying on how a lot baggage you carry with and if you happen to stroll the entire means or take a second ferry
  • Place to begin – Candelario Mancilla, Chile/Laguna de Desierto, Argentina
  • Ending level – Laguna de Desierto, Argentina/Candelario Mancilla, Chile
  • Accessibility – by automotive/bus from El Chaltén, by ferry from Villa O’Higgins
  • Admission payment – free
  • Lodging choices – tenting

The trek will be finished both means from Argentina to Chile or one other means round. The stroll from Villa O’Higgins to El Chaltén is getting increasingly common yearly. The mix of strolling and a ferry is the one means of crossing the border from Villa O’Higgins to El Chaltén. The entire traverse is a mixture of 1 or two ferry rides, strolling, and a bus or hitchhiking. It’s necessary to do not forget that you’ll stroll with all of your baggage so be sure that it’s not too heavy.

Your complete route ranging from the ferry journey to the bus journey is completely beautiful. In two days on the trek, you possibly can see unimaginable turquoise lakes, indigenous Patagonian forest, snowy mountain peaks, and even some wildlife. The trek begins with a gorgeous ferry journey throughout O’Higgins Lake from Villa O’Higgins to Candelario Mancilla. The final stretch of the path is alongside the turquoise Laguna del Desierto. As an possibility as a substitute of strolling, you possibly can cross it by ferry. It’s necessary to remember the fact that the climate on this a part of Patagonia may be very unpredictable. It’s a must to be ready for rain, sturdy wind, and heil so be sure that your tenting gear is sweet sufficient.

Laguna del Desierto, Argentina, Patagonia
The beautiful Laguna del Desierto, one of many highlights of the O’Higgins to El Chalten trek in Patagonia

Huemul Circuit, El Chaltén, Argentina

  • Distance – 70 km/43 miles, circuit
  • Required time – 3-Four days
  • Issue stage – tough, some technical components  
  • Beginning/ending level – El Chaltén
  • Accessibility – on foot from El Chaltén
  • Admission payment – free
  • Lodging choices – tenting

The Huemul Circuit boasts among the most spectacular surroundings on this a part of Patagonia: an enormous glacier that is part of the Southern Patagonia Glacier discipline; lovely turquoise lakes; lookouts with beautiful views over the world. This long-distance trek is an experience properly price of effort. The Huemul Circuit is a troublesome hike that we wouldn’t suggest trying if you happen to’re an inexperienced hiker in addition to mountaineering it alone will not be an amazing concept. There are a number of difficult ascents and descents on the route over the passes with excellent views. Some components of the path contain river crossings, strolling on the sting of the cliff, bouldering, and many others. For this route strolling poles will are available in very helpful. If this trek sounds too powerful there are numerous different unimaginable and fewer demanding hikes in El Chaltén appropriate for anyone.

Registration on the ranger’s workplace is obligatory for this trek. It’s free and finished to your personal security. In the event you’re not again within the predicted time rangers can begin on the lookout for you. In case you are caught mountaineering with out a allow you will get a high quality.

Locations to remain in El Chaltén

El Chaltén is usually referred to as the journey capital of Argentina. This small city has all hikers want: loads of lodging choices for various budgets; eating places, cafes, tour businesses, and kit retailers. It’s an amazing place to remain for a few days to calm down and relaxation in between mountaineering.

The O Circuit in Torres del Paine, Chile

  • Distance – 120 km/74 miles, circuit
  • Required time – 6-Eight days
  • Issue stage – reasonable with a few difficult ascents
  • Beginning/ending level – Lodge Las Torres
  • Accessibility –  by automotive, by bus, on foot
  • Admission payment – CLP 25 600/US$32
  • Lodging choices – tenting, refugios, lodges

The O circuit in Torres del Paine might be some of the well-known hikes on the planet. You probably have time and like mountaineering we’d positively suggest finishing the O trek. The surroundings alongside the route is actually spectacular: aquamarine lakes, crystal-clear rivers, an enormous glacier, breathtaking lookouts, lovely valleys, and numerous wildlife. Mountain climbing in Torres del Paine you get an opportunity of recognizing guanacos, foxes, condors, armadillos, and in much less explored components of the park even a puma.

The route takes hikers by means of each off-the-beaten-path components of the park and must-see vacationer sights. Among the highlights of the trek are the Gray Glacier, John Garner Cross, Gray Lake, Pehoé Lake, Skottsberg Lake, Vally Francés, and Mirador Las Torres. For inexperienced hikers, it may be fairly a troublesome stroll particularly the a part of conquering the John Garner cross, however the views from the highest are greater than rewarding. The path is properly marked. There are campsites, hostels, and refugios on the trek. 

Grey Glacier from the top of the pass on the O trek
The Gray Glacier from John Garner Cross on the O Circuit in Patagonia

The W trek in Torres del Paine, Chile

  • Distance – 100 km/62 miles
  • Required time – 4-5 days
  • Issue stage – reasonable
  • Place to begin – Refugio Paine Grande
  • Ending level – Lodge Las Torres
  • Accessibility –  by boat from Pudeto
  • Admission payment – CLP 21 000/US$32
  • Lodging choices – tenting, refugios, lodges

The W trek in Torres del Paine goes by means of the preferred a part of the park. It offers hikers an opportunity to admire the highlights of the park resembling Mirador Las Torres, Gray Glacier, Pehoé Lake, Vally Francés, Los Cuernos, Nordenskjold Lake, and many others. This trek is a neater and shorter various to the O circuit. The surroundings on this trek gained’t cease shocking you each dayñ an enormous glacier, colourful lakes, inexperienced valleys, waterfalls and creeks, bizarrely formed mountains, and indigenous forest.

The infrastructure of this a part of the park is kind of developed. the path is marked very properly, there are numerous campsites, hostels, and lodges with eating places. Hikers don’t have to hold tenting gear or meals for the trek although staying at lodges and consuming at eating places contained in the park is kind of expensive. There are some powerful components on the route such because the ascent to the Mirador Las Torres, however total, it’s not a really demanding pleasing trek.

You are able to do the W trek with a tour from Puerto Natales. The tour contains transportation, lodging, and meals.

Locations to remain in Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is the closest to Torres del Paine park. It has good infrastructure, many hostels, lodges, gear rental retailers, eating places, supermarkets, and many others. It’s a very good place to remain earlier than or after trekking.

Mirador Las Torres at the sunrise on the W trek in Patagonia
Dawn on the Mirador Las Torres on the W trek, some of the common long-distance treks in Patagonia

Cabo Froward trek, Punta Arenas, Chile

  • Distance – 75 km/46,7 miles, return
  • Required time – 4-5 days
  • Issue stage – very tough, many river crossings, need to plan the route based on tides
  • Beginning/ending level – south of Punta Arenas, the place the street ends
  • Accessibility – by automotive
  • Admission payment – free
  • Lodging choices – tenting

The Cabo Froward trek is the last word journey in Patagonia for individuals who survived weeks of difficult mountaineering and tenting within the area. This long-distance trek may be very difficult, primarily due to its isolation and several other tough river crossings. Typically you’ve gotten mainly to swim along with your backpack so it’s necessary to plan the trek based on the tides. This trek will be finished solely between December and March  – the warmest time of the yr. As a result of a number of river crossings, the trek may take longer than you propose it’s higher to have meals provides for an additional day.

The surroundings right here is kind of totally different from the remainder of Chilean Patagonia. In the event you come right here after trekking in Torres del Paine you’ll positively discover it; no extra snowy mountain peaks, glaciers, or ache forests. The panorama is predominantly open areas of grass-covered plains with many rivers and lakes. The trek ends at Cruz de Los Mares – a metallic cross that marks the southernmost level of the continent.

Lodging in Punta Arenas

Sierra Valdivieso Circuit, Ushuaia, Argentina

  • Distance – 48 km/30 miles, circuit
  • Required time – Four days
  • Issue stage – tough
  • Beginning/ending level – Tierra Mayor Valley
  • Accessibility – by automotive
  • Admission payment – no
  • Lodging choices – tenting

Simply the concept of mountaineering someplace on the finish of the world is already fairly thrilling. The surroundings on the Sierra Valdivieso Circuit is unbelievable; snowy mountain peaks, forests, inexperienced valleys, blue lakes. Add to this peace and tranquility which you can solely experience in remoted locations like this. Nature right here is totally unspoiled; there are only a few hikers venturing this manner, consequently, you possibly can simply spot some wild animals e.g. foxes, beavers, many birds.

The trek is kind of difficult ascending up over the mountain passes and descending again to the valleys. The route will not be marked however often, the route is kind of apparent however it’s really helpful to make use of GPS for navigation. There are not any established campsites on this route – wild tenting in an appropriate place is the way in which to go. Simply bear in mind, don’t depart any garbage behind and don’t make wildfires.

Locations to remain in Ushuaia

A scenery on a trek in Patagonia; turquoise lake, mountains, and guanacos
Lovely Patagonian surroundings on one of many long-distance treks

Learn how to put together for long-distance treks in Patagonia?

Patagonian climate is unpredictable; it is likely to be a pleasant sunny day and in an hour it modifications to stormy wind, hail, and rain. Hikers need to be ready to experience a number of seasons in in the future.

As a result of tough climate situations it’s extremely really helpful to have dependable gear for mountaineering and tenting particularly if you happen to’re planning on doing among the long-distance treks in Patagonia.

In the event you’re going to hike one of many less-popular treks within the remoted space of Patagonia (particularly if you happen to’re mountaineering alone) at all times let anyone know the place you’re heading and if you’re planning to return.

For some routes it’s extremely really helpful to make use of GPS navigation.

In the event you’re an inexperienced hiker fairly select treks in one of many common areas e.g. Torres del Paine, El Chalten, Bariloche the place there can be different hikers on the path.

Having journey insurance coverage is extremely really helpful for trekking in Patagonia.

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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