If you want to take on some Torres Del Paine hikes, there is a multitude of options to choose from. Some trails you can complete in under two hours, others are multi-day epics. There is something for everyone wanting to do some trekking in Torres Del Paine.
Day hikes in Torres Del Paine were a highlight of my time backpacking Patagonia. I snuck in as many trails as possible. Even so, I barely scratched the surface of routes in this magnificent park.
In this article, I’ve included all of my favorite Torres Del Paine hiking trails. I have no doubt that you, like me, will need more than one trip to get through them all!
Top 10 Day Hikes In Torres Del Paine
Torres del Paine has some of the best day hikes in Patagonia. As cliché as it sounds, you do need to pinch yourself to believe the scenery!
This stretch of the South American mountain ranges also gives wildlife lovers a good chance of spotting elusive animals like foxes, armadillos and even pumas.
Another thing I really love about the hiking trails in Torres Del Paine is that you can do them independently. Similar to Fitz Roy, the most popular routes in Torres get crowded, especially over the summer months. Luckily, there are a lot of trails that are off the beaten track.
In no particular order, these are my top 10 recommendations in terms of day hiking trails in Torres Del Paine.
1. Base Torres (6 - 8 hrs)
The Base Torres hike is a shorter, day hike that takes you to the base of the iconic Torres del Paine towers. It is a moderately difficult, 18 km/11-mile out-and-back hike.
On the way to the viewpoint, you will be hiking upslope through a beautiful valley. The final stretch is a steep gravel climb, it’s a good idea to bring trekking poles for this section.
2. Cerro Paine ( 5 - 6 hrs)
This is a stunning alternative to the Base Torres hike. The best thing is that almost no one seems to know about it. This long and challenging route covers 16km/ 9 miles with an elevation gain of 1600m.
You start the ascent through the beautiful Lenga forest up the Almirante Nieto mountain. You will need to brave strong winds and a rocky climb to reach the viewpoint at the top.
3. Grey Glacier (6-8 hrs)
This is one of the sections of the famous W Trek and can be completed as a day hike in Torres Del Paine.
The Grey Glacier hike is one of the longer day treks in Torres Del Paine. The entire route is 23 km / 14 miles and is considered moderately difficult. Along the way, you will have beautiful views of Lago Grey.
You will have the best view of Glacier Grey from its viewpoint at the base. T his is right at the end of the trail.
You will need to catch a ferry from Cafeteria Pudeto across Pehoe lake to the Paine Grande Refugio. This is where the trail really begins.
4. Mirador Frances / French Valley Hike (6 - 8 Hrs)
The French Valley is usually hiked as part of the W-Trek. The trail is one of the best hikes in Torres Del Paine and takes you through a stunning valley surrounded by glaciers. You also pass the Skottsburg and Nordenskjold Lagunas. For a lot of the way, you will be looking directly at the park’s famous horned peaks.
To start this trail, you need to cross Lake Pehoe by ferry to get to Refugio Paine Grande. From here you follow the trail in the direction of Camp Italiano. The hike is approximately 18 km/ 11 miles round trip and is considered to be of moderate difficulty.
Mirador Britanico is further on from Mirador Frances. If the weather is good and you’re feeling fit, you can continue the extra 7km.
Note: You need to be at Mirador Frances no later than 1 pm in order to continue to Britanico. If you start hiking to Britanico viewpoint too late, you won’t make it back in time for the last ferry
5. Lago Nordenskjold (4 - 5 hrs)
This trail takes you around the beautiful Nordenskjold lake. You start at Hotel Los Torres and walk to Refugio Los Cuernos, 11km away. The trail is on a section of the multi-day treks so you will see many other hikers.
You don’t need to walk the entire way to Los Cuernos. Depending on how you feel, you can turn back at any time.
6. Lazo - Weber Trail ( 5 hrs)
The Lazo Weber trail starts at the beautiful Lago Verde. It ends at Weber bridge, on the northern edge of Lago Toro. The first part of the trail is very exposed, brace for the howling Patagonia winds! Luckily, you soon enter the forest which offers some protection.
This Torres del Pain hiking route is 12 km/ 7.5 miles long and is only moderately challenging. Take care as some muddy sections become slippery after rain.
Although it is fairly easy to hike in Patagonia unguided, this trek is one of the few for which I’d recommend a guided tour. Without a tour, you would need to either have two vehicles (and drop one and the end of the trail) or trek all the way back.
7. Laguna Azul (2 - 3 hours) & Laguna Cebolla (4 -5 hours)
The Laguna Azul trail is more off-the-beaten-track. To be honest, Laguna Azul is not the most exciting trail in Patagonia. You do however have a continuous view of the mountains which is always a win. The trail would be a good pick for hiking with children.
Laguna Azul is 8km from the start. If you want a longer hike, the trail from Laguna Azul continues another 6 km to Laguna Cebolla (A total of 20 km/ 12.5 miles there and back)
8. Pingo Valley (3 - 4 hours)
You start this hike at the Glacier Grey parking lot. This is one of the busiest areas of the park. Don’t worry, you will be going in a different direction from the crowds.
The trail is 8km/ 5 miles each way, parallel to the Pingo river. You can extend it into a much longer hike to the Pingo Glacier. The Pingo valley trail is ideal if you like solitude. Look out for the Huemul deer, they are often spotted along this trail.
9. Condor Lookout (2 hrs)
You can start this short trail at the Pehoe lake lookout or Pehoe campsite. From there you hike up the hill for just over 1 hr/ 2 km to reach the lookout point. This is a quiet trail that is good for birdwatching. At the top, you get a great Panoramic view of the lake and most of the park
10. Portería - Portería / Fauna Trail (2-3 hours)
This is a short and easy 8 km/5-mile hike. The trail begins at Portería Lago Sarmiento to Laguna Amarga.
The trail gets its name because it is one of the best Torres Del Paine National Park hikes to see animals. You are sure to see some guanacos and there are often condors soaring above.
For the best wildlife sightings, walk this trail at sunrise or dusk. This is a good opportunity to see look for puma in Patagonia!
Multi-Day Torres Del Paine Hikes
The most famous of Torres del Paine Hiking routes are the multi-day treks. Below is a quick overview of these hikes. I suggest you also read our detailed articles on the W Trek and Full Circuit Trek in Torres Del Paine. These have much more information for planning your hiking trip in Patagonia.
W Trek (4 - 5 days)
The W Trek is probably the most popular hike in Torres del Paine. It covers approximately 80 km/ 50 miles of trail through some of the park's most scenic areas, including the Grey Glacier, the French Valley, and the base of the Torres del Paine towers.
The trek is very popular and it is important you reserve accommodation early. This is particularly true over summer which is often seen as the best time to hike Torres Del Paine.
O Circuit (7 - 9 days)
The O Circuit covers approximately 130 km/ 80 miles. The extra distance makes it a bit more challenging than the W Trek. This is the classic Torres Del Paine trek that takes you around the entire park. The trail is the best option if you have time and want the full experience of trekking in Torres Del Paine.
References: Torres del Paine national park