man looking at glacier

The Best Day Hikes in Torres del Paine

For the avid hikers among us, exploring Torres del Paine is probably already at the top of your list for world-class hiking destinations. After all, this stunning national park in Chile’s Patagonia region is famous for its sheer collection of diversity, both in wildlife and landscapes.

From ancient sprawling forests to spectacular mountain ranges, this park is often considered the ultimate goldmine for natural beauty and adventure and therefore, a must-visit for any hiker worth their weight in trail mix.

So the question isn’t if you should hike in Torres del Paine, but rather which are the best day hikes for lucky travellers like you?

Torres del Paine routes

Torres del Paine is massive, covering over 598,593 acres of wilderness, making it one of the largest parks in Chile. While the two most famous routes are the W and the O Circuit, these hikes take days to complete and can be difficult for even the most experienced hiker. Thankfully, there are dozens of day hikes available within the park, all equally as beautiful and unique in their own ways.

If you’re looking to hike in Patagonia but don’t want to commit to days of trekking, here is our list of the best day hikes in Torres del Paine:

1. The Fauna Trail

This trail is a great hiking option for beginner hikers or anyone looking for a quick day trip. While it may be short in distance, it doesn’t fall short on beautiful landscapes and neverending wildlife. On this somewhat secret trail, you’ll spot herds of guanacos grazing, condors flying through the sky, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a puma.

This trail also boasts views of the Paine Massif, making a perfect backdrop for nature photography. It’s not the most popular trail in the park, so there’s a good chance you’ll get to experience the wildlife in solitude, something many hikers have come to appreciate.

best day hikes torres del paine
Views from Torres del Paine National Park, Chile | © Parsing Eye/Unsplash
  • Start/End: Porteria Lago Sarmiento to Porteria Laguna Amarga
  • Hiking Time: 2 to 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

2. Laguna Azul

Laguna Azul, which literally translates to blue lagoon, is just that – a picturesque blue lake surrounded by massive mountains with jagged snow-covered peaks. Pictures don’t do it justice, making it one place you have to see to believe. While the lake is accessible by car, the trails surrounding the lake can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours to complete, making it ideal for anyone travelling with young children or older parents.

This lake and its surrounding trails are also relatively quiet, as most of the multi-day tours and busses don’t pay it a visit, so pack a picnic and spend the afternoon enjoying its beauty.

  • Start/End: Porteria Laguna Azul
  • Hiking Time: 45 minutes to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Want to read more on hiking and trekking?

3. Mirador Las Torres

The sight of Mirador Las Torres is one of the most iconic in all of Torres del Paine. This landmark is often the climax of the multi-day hikes within the park, however, it can also be accessed in just a day. That being said, it’s a very difficult day hike. The way there is a long and steep ascent, with the last few kilometres becoming increasingly difficult. On the way back, you’ll go through it again as a descent.

Because the payoff is so amazing, this day hike is still one of the most rewarding, so be sure to pack lots of water, snacks, and walking sticks, and you’ll enjoy a strenous but managable climb.

  • Start/End: Hotel Las Torres
  • Hiking Time: 6 to 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Very hard
torres del paine
Explore secluded trails on your hike | © Thomas Fields/Unsplash

4. Mirador Ferrier

Another difficult hike with a big payoff, the hike (more like the climb) to Mirador Ferrier is quite challenging, but beautiful nonetheless. After registering at the Guarderia, you’ll begin your ascent to the viewpoint, tackling steep and rough terrain on the way up.

Once at the top, you’ll understand why this day-hike is so popular. From this viewpoint, you’re greeted with a breathtaking panoramic view of Torres del Paine. The lakes, rivers, valleys and glaciers can all be seen from here, making the arduous uphill hike totally worth it.

  • Start/End: Guarderia Grey
  • Hiking Time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Challenging

5. Mirador Lago Skottsberg

If you’re interested in reaching a beautiful viewpoint without a challenging hike, Mirador Lago Skottsberg is perfect for you. This day-hike is short and sweet, leading you through forest trails and along the shores of Skottsberg Lake. As you hike, take a moment to appreciate the dream-like reflections of the mountains and scenery within the water – it’s an amazing photo opportunity and an experience you won’t forget.

If you don’t want the hike to end, you can opt for the longer version that encompasses Mirador Frances.

  • Start/End: Paine Grande
  • Hiking Time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium (depending on Mirador Frances)

6. Glacier Grey Viewpoint (suspension bridge one or two)

The route to the Glacier Grey suspension bridges is a part of the O Circuit, making it a popular hiking path within the park. You’ll start at Refugio Grey and head uphill towards Campamento Paso. As you walk across the first bridge, you’ll be able to admire the beautiful blue and grey hues of Glacier Grey and the surrounding lake and mountains. It’s really one of the most picturesque spots in the park. From here, you can continue onward to the Paso campsite, or turn around.

If you continue, the trail becomes steep and a bit harder to hike, however, the views from the second suspension bridge are as equally impressive.

  • Start/End: Refugio Grey
  • Hiking Time: 2 to 7 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium/difficult (depending on if you visit both bridges)
man in blue jacket hiking along a trail with snowcapped mountains in the background
A tough hike offers the most rewarding views | © Jens Johnsson/Unsplash

7. Mirador Cuernos

Calling all water signs! If you’re a fan of stunning water landscapes, whether it be a lake, river, or waterfall, this is the day-hike for you. There are three major stops during this hike: Pehoe Lake, Salto Grande, and Nodenskjold Lake. All within a relatively close area, this hike can be accessed by car and is a steadily simple walk suited for all types of hikers.

It will take about two hours to complete the trail, however, many hikers find themselves taking more time to enjoy the landscapes, pushing the total hike time to anywhere between two to five hours.

This trail can become busy due to its vast mountain views, flower-filled valleys, and endless photo spots, so early in the morning is often considered the best time to start hiking.

  • Start/End: Salto Grande
  • Hiking Time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

8. Cascada Pingo

If you’re interested in seeing a stunning Patagonian waterfall, but would rather avoid larger groups of hikers around Salto Grande, Cascada Pingo is just what you’re looking for. While it’s a bit more difficult to hike, this beautiful walk will give you the chance to explore the waterfall in complete, uninterrupted bliss. This part of the park is very tranquil, allowing hikers to chase serenity and connect with nature.

The trail is well marked, but the hike is long and isolated, so make sure to pack a lunch and extra water.

  • Start/End: Guarderia Grey
  • Hiking Time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate  

Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is an oasis of wildlife and landscapes that are so beautiful, words almost can’t describe it. The only way to truly experience its wonders is to book a trip and explore it yourself. Hikers, get your bags ready! Because a trip to Patagonia is exactly what you need to add to your bucket list.

Jesse is a blogger and content creator who loves travel, the outdoors, and her dog, Molly. When she isn't planning her next trip, she can be found watching Netflix documentaries, enjoying time by the water, or eating soft-serve ice cream. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or check out her blog.

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