While it’s fair to say that Torres del Paine National Park receives all the attention in trekking circuits, Patagonia is actually traversed by hundreds of miles of hiking trails – many of which are even wilder than the region’s more famous paths. So if you’re looking into Patagonia hiking trips that pass through spectacular landscapes of steppe, mountains and virgin forest, read on for trails that you really shouldn’t miss in the region.
Easy: Hike to Laguna Torre, Los Glaciares National Park
The glorious views at the halfway point of Laguna Torres are what have turned this relatively flat trek into one of the most iconic of all in Argentine Patagonia. Starting from Argentina’s self-proclaimed “hiking capital”, El Chaltén, the path follows Rio FitzRoy all the way to Laguna Torre. This glacial lake – spectacularly peppered with floating icebergs from the shoreside Grande Glacier – makes an excellent spot for lunch and shots of its picture-perfect backdrop of the looming Cerro Torre.
Distance: 7 miles (11km), nine hours
- Pitch your tent at De Agostini campground – just 15 minutes walk away – to appreciate the lake at sunrise.
- Be aware that during the winter months, this trek can become impassable due to the accumulation of snow.
- Check at the visitor’s centre in the park before starting hiking.
Moderate: Hike to Refugio Frey, Nahuel Huapi National Park
Bariloche might be better known as a top Argentine ski resort, but its wealth of trekking routes make it a favourite location for Patagonia hiking trips during the summer. The trek from Villa Catedral to Refugio Frey has only 700m of ascent over a gentle 10km, but still manages to pack in breathtaking views of Lago Gutierrez and the splendid reflection of Cerro Catedral’s rocky spires in the lake at Refugio Frey.
Distance: 15 miles (24 km), four to six hours
- The trekking season in Bariloche is between December and March.
- Snow on high passes even during the normal hiking season can make this trail only suitable for those with extensive trekking experience.
Difficult: Lagunas Altas Trail, Patagonia Park
Patagonia Park is one of the region’s newest parks and is currently developing a whole range of hiking paths. Lagunas Altas trek is one of the first official trails, and with stunning views of the Aviles Valley, it merits becoming part of your hiking itinerary in Patagonia.
Starting at the West Winds Campground, the path loops up almost to Tamangito Peak, before passing through a spectacular scenery of lakes as it returns to the park’s headquarters.
Distance: 14 miles (23 km), seven to nine hours
- A range of layers to respond to the changeable climate, including sun protection and a hat, are essential.
- Bring a swimsuit for opportunities to dip into the refreshing water of the lakes en route.
Expert: Diente de Navarino, Tierra del Fuego
For those seeking unforgettable Patagonia hiking trips, the Dientes de Navarino route is just the ticket. Regarded as one of South America’s most challenging, this five-day trek passes through untamed wilderness and skirts silent lakes, and has panoramic views of the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn thrown in for good measure.
Distance: 34 miles (54km), five-days
- The trail is poorly marked and with no infrastructure, so only trekkers with GPS and experience of hiking in difficult conditions should attempt this route.
- Avoid drinking the water from streams here as it iw infected with giardia from the resident beaver population.
- Learn about the experiencie at the Dientes Circuit by Michael Lanza.