Top Day Hikes in Torres del Paine
Wondering what the best day hikes in Torres del Paine are? There are many to choose from, particularly since the national park is a huge 598,593 acres in size. But we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best, ideal for those who aren’t looking to embark on the multi-day hikes such as the W and O Circuits – although we highly recommend these for anyone who has the physical ability and time to take these on. Otherwise, you can still certainly enjoy some of the best hiking in Torres del Paine on exciting day trips. Keep reading to see our top picks for day hikes in Torres del Paine.
Grey Glacier Trek
This is a fantastic hike in Torres del Paine, not only affording you with a scenic backdrop of the wilderness of Torres del Paine, but also an exciting boat trip to reach the icy wall of the Grey Glacier. The day begins with a catamaran ride, traversing Lake Pehoé towards the Paine Grande Lodge, the start of the hiking trail. The journey across the water rewards you with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, characterised by the Andes Mountain Range and Campo de Hielo Sur – the Southern Ice Field.
During the hike itself, you’ll walk past icebergs floating on the glistening lake, hiking along a ruggedly beautiful trail before stopping for lunch at a spectacularly scenic spot. You then board the ‘Grey II’ vessel for a two-hour journey and the chance to gaze up at this icy giant. An impressive natural spectacle in Patagonia, the Grey Glacier will leave you awe-inspired as you view it from multiple angles. You might even catch sight of an ice block crashing from the glacier into the water below. Afterwards, make the journey back to dry land and return along the same pathway to Paine Grande Lodge.
Total day trip duration: 8 hours
French Valley Trek
The French Valley is one of the national park’s most popular attractions. Anyone hiking the famous ‘W circuit’ will walk through this gorgeous area; but for a much shorter experience, you can enjoy a day hike through the French Valley. This starts with a boat ride across Lake Pehoe, heading towards Lodge Paine Grande where the hiking adventure begins. You may get to enjoy the soundtrack of glaciers calving while journeying through this incredible landscape, soaking up a superlative view of the valley, lake and ‘Cuernos del Paine’ from an elevated lookout point.
Afterwards, the hike continues to the ‘Italian camp’ and through French Valley, venturing ever deeper into the remarkable scenery and accompanied by the sight of Torres del Paine’s unmistakable granite peaks, or ‘towers’. Then, you’ll arrive at a viewpoint overlooking sparkling lakes, craggy mountains and the hanging glaciers of Paine Grande. Keep an eye out to see huge chunks of ice falling and crashing below. While you’re tucking into your lunch, look up to the sky to see if you can spy any Condors. After lunch, make the return journey to the Italian Camp, and your onward journey home.
Total day trip duration: 8
Hike to the Tres Torres
Many of the Torres del Paine multi-day hikes conclude at the Tres Torres (‘Three Towers’), the dramatic granite peaks that graze the sky above this Chilean national park. But you can see them in a day if you’re short on time, although be prepared for a full day of challenging hiking. Trust us though – the torres are well worth all the effort!
The hike to the Tres Torres begins with an incline tracing the shores of Rio Ascencio towards Paso de los Vientos. Gradually, as you make your way uphill, you are rewarded with ever more impressive vistas until the peaks emerge into view. A break from the uphill hike follows, as the trail levels out before you reach the Chileno refuge. From here, you’ll walk over the river and into a woodland, then tackle another steep slope that requires concentration and steady footing (there are large rock boulders here). Once you reach the summit, prepare to be taken aback by the sheer majesty of the Three Towers; one of Torres del Paine’s most iconic, breathaking sights.
Once you’ve taken it all in, return along the same route.
Total hiking time: 6-8 hours
Laguna Azul Walks
Laguna Azul is true to its name – a gorgeous sapphire-hued lake sprawling in the northern side of Torres del Paine National Park. What makes this area so fantastic for hiking is that there’s an array of trails to choose from, ranging from short 45-minute jaunts to longer hikes of up to 3 hours. This makes it an excellent option for families or those who aren’t able to take on the longer, intrepid treks in Torres del Paine. Choose from any of the fantastic hikes and you’ll get to enjoy the sight of the Three Towers in the background, plus the opportunity to see wildlife including Guanacos. Laguna Azul proves that hiking in Torres del Paine isn’t all about challenging treks!
Total hiking time: 45 minutes to 3 hours (depending on trail choice)
Ready to travel to Chile and Torres del Paine? Handpick the hotels and activities you want, adjust the durations depending on how long you want to stay in each place, and have fun in the process! Surtrek is always at hand to help out. Call us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!