Did you ever want to visit Torres del Paine but feared that you didn’t have enough stamina to attempt Patagonia’s difficult hikes? The good news is that hiking in Torres del Paine doesn’t necessarily mean doing multi-day treks around the mountains. There are plenty of day hikes in Torres del Paine that don’t require any hiking experience. They are easy enough, so almost anybody can do them.
Best Day Hikes in Torres del Paine
The hikes in Torres del Paine range from easy to very difficult, so there is a trail for every level of experience. The only thing you really need is the right equipment and a Patagonia state of mind! But in this post I’ll discuss only the easy and moderate ones.
• Mirador Cuernos/Salto Grande
This trail makes hiking Torres del Paine look literally like a walk in the park. Mirador de Cuernos trail (about two hours round trip) is not only easy, but also very beautiful.
The starting point is right above Lago Pehoé where you can find a big parking lot. Just a short walk from the parking lot, the path passes by the Salto Grande, a powerful and spectacular waterfall.
This waterfall is quite dangerous in windy weather and has claimed a few lives over the years (some just before our arrival in the park, in a very unfortunate accident).
From Salto Grande the walk continues slightly uphill. You’ll pass through an area that was impacted by a great fire back in 2012. Soon you’ll begin to see the Horns (Los Cuernos) sticking out of the green meadows dotted with rugged rocks.
After an hour of hiking you’ll arrive at the Mirador Cuernos. From this outlook you can see the majestic Mount Paine Grande rising straight up from the other side of Lake Nordenskjöld. The image is simply stunning.
Should you ever make it to Torres del Paine, don’t miss this walk. It’s pretty easy, short and offers the most dramatic views of Los Cuernos. One of my favorite easy hikes in the park!
• Fauna Trail (“Porteria-Porteria”)
“Fauna Trail” is not listed on any maps of Torres del Paine National Park. This easy 8km hike is officially known as Porteria-Porteria, but most people call it “Fauna Trail” due to the constant flow of animals that can be seen here.
The trail starts at Porteria Lago Sarmiento (one of park entrances) and ends at Porteria Laguna Amarga (another park entrance).
Along the way you’ll encounter herds of guanacos and may even spot a puma, if you hike at dusk or at dawn. The pumas are attracted here by large number of guanacos, so you’ll see quite a few guanaco remains on the ground as you hike.
You’ll also see lots of condors and some other birds of pray in this area. They won’t miss the opportunity to feed from the pumas’ left overs.
If you can take a small detour, you can also visit a cave with some prehistoric paintings, estimated to be between 3000 and 6000 years old. Not many people know about this secret trail, so chances are you’ll be there by yourself.
• Lago Grey (with a bonus boat trip to Glacier Grey)
This is a short and easy walk to reach Lago Grey and get a glimpse of Glacier Grey from afar. From the Hotel Lago Grey entrance you will cross the Pingo River on a wooden suspension bridge. Continue through a Lenga forest until you arrive at the dark sand beach.
From the beach you will see the massive glacier in the distance. Walk to the end of the beach for about 20 minutes until you see a sign to the lookout point for a beautiful view of the glacier.
If you have more time, take a catamaran trip to the Glacier from Hotel Lago Grey. This boat trip is quite popular, so make sure you book at least a day in advance. Glacier Grey which covers an astounding area of 100 sq. miles is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, one of the largest continental stretches of ice.
We were very lucky with the weather. The day before it rained so bad, that all three boat trips had been canceled. But when we arrived at Lago Gray the sun was shining in all its splendor and there was no wind (quite a miracle in Patagonia!) It was such a gorgeous day, that even the crew was taking pictures of the glacier from the deck.
• Laguna Azul
Located in the eastern part of the park, Laguna Azul is one of the most beautiful day hikes in Torres del Paine. If you enter the park using the Laguna Amarga entrance, you will drive approximately 45 minutes Y-160. You will pass ranger station on the way, so if you have any question you can stop there and ask. There are some buildings and a parking place at the head of the trail.
This hike is really easy, following the edge of the water through tall grass and beautiful forests. It is ideal for families with children, or for those who want to explore the park at a more relaxed pace.
In this area you will see a lot of birds and some guanacos grazing by the lake. You will also get great views of Las Torres reflected in the dark blue waters of Laguna Azul. In fact, this is the only place in the park from where you see the three towers without having to do a strenuous hike.
Laguna Azul is outside the tour busses area. We haven’t seen anybody on these two trails, so let’s keep it a secret!
Moderate Day Hikes
• Laguna Cebolla
From Laguna Azul the path cuts across the hills to get to Laguna Cebolla. A much smaller lake, Laguna Cebolla itself is not something that will blow your mind. However, the hike there is quite beautiful.
The path goes through a dense Lenga forest and passes another small lake whose name I can’t remember. You get to enjoy fantastic views of Las Torres all along the way.
The hike is very long, considering that it can only be done in conjunction with the one at Laguna Azul. We measured 17 miles from the head of the trail of Laguna Azul to Laguna Cebolla. There are no signs on the way, but the path is easy to follow, so no chance of getting lost. You can even continue a bit further if you want to.
• Lago Nordenskjöld
This beautiful lake bears the name of Otto Nordenskjöld, a Finish-Swedish explorer who traveled extensively in Patagonia at the beginning of the 20th century. The trail, which is actually part of the famous “W” circuit, starts at hotel Las Torres and stretches between the lake’s north shore and Monte Almirante Nieto.
The first hour is relatively easy, going through a beautiful valley at the foot of the Paine Massif. The scenery is not particularly great in the beginning, compared to other sites in the park. Soon the the hike transition to a more interesting but also a more difficult part, going uphill for a while and crossing several streams.
The views keep on changing, different perspectives open up and in the end you arrive at a high point where you can see Lake Nordenskjöld in all its splendor. Its blue waters add a refreshing colour to what is in many respects a rather bleak landscape.
From here, the trail continues down to the lake shore and back on totally flat terrain. This area is great for condor viewing and some very interesting rock formations.
We took the equestrian version of this excursion, courtesy of Hotel Las Torres Patagonia. We also learned some interesting facts about Patagonian baqueanos and their horses, during that trip. The trail is 7 km long. On horseback the trip took about 3 hours.
• Cerro Paine
This is a more difficult hike that goes constantly uphill for about 6.5 km, on a relatively steep trail. The trailhead starts behind the stables of Hotel Las Torres, ascending though a beautiful Lenga forest. At some point the forest becomes very dense, hiding everything else from the view.
As you make your way up the mountain, you can spot many birds and enjoy the variety of vegetation around. After about an hour, the landscape starts to open up. It culminates at the Mirador D’Agostini with panoramic views of the granite towers across the valley.
This is one of the best day hikes in Torres del Paine that allows you to see the grandiose Las Torres in just half a day. We took this trip on horseback, courtesy of Hotel Las Torres.
There are many other beautiful day hikes in Torres del Paine or even outside the park, like Cueva del Milodon, which should not be missed if visiting the area.
For those who want to test their endurance, there are quite a few challenging full day hikes as well. I think you could easily spend a couple of months in this park and still not be able to see it all.
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Hello, Excellent write up and pictures !! We are planning a trip later on this month. Your post was extremely helpful in planning some of the excursions in TdP. Was wondering if we can do Cerro Paine hike on our own without having to take trekking excursion offered by the hotel Las Torres ? How much time it takes for the hike ?
Hi Prasad, I’m glad the information I provide was helpful for you. We did the Cerro Paine track on horseback, but if you want to do it on foot I don’t believe you need to book the excursion through the hotel. However, considering that part of this track is on the hotel’s land, it may be a good idea to ask them first. They are extremely helpful and will not try to sell you the excursion if you want do it yourself.
Beautiful photos! I’m planning a trip for Dec. and will definitely take a few of these days hikes. Any tips on where to stay as a base for the day hikes? Everything I read suggests Puerto Natales but this seems quite far (2h by car)!
Lodging in the park is quite expensive, unless you plan to use the campsites. We stayed at Las Torres Hotel and accessing all these trails was fairly easy. I don’t know what your budget is, but if you can afford it I would suggest to stay in one of the hotels in the park. Driving from Puerto Natales is very inconvenient and will not allow you enough time to do some of these hikes. I hope this helps.
What stunning scenery! Ann and I have been saying we need to take more hikes in our travels, and Torres del Paine would be a great place to do it! I love the horseback riding too, though I’m not sure I could get Ann on a horse. Who knows – for those views? Just maybe. 🙂
Patagonia is a must-see, Rob. I can’t recommend it any stronger. You don’t need to be a great hiker to be able to enjoy its beauty. People of all ages and fitness levels visit the iconic Torres del Paine.
Your photos left me speechless! What a natural beauty and so many great hikes! Torres del Paine was not on my travel bucket list, but it definitely is now! Thanks so much for sharing! Pinned and tweeted!
Looks like a very beautiful place to hike! I also like that you can spend some time exploring this area in different ways, such as by boat tour or horseback.
This place is truly amazing! I am not sure I would sign in for a multi-day hike so it is good to know there are many day hikes available. One of my husband’s best friend is from Chile (they attended college together). He moved to the US about a year ago but told my husband he is returning to Chile soon. He bought land in the southern part of the country and it is opening a B&B.
You are lucky if you have someone to stay with in Chile. Lodging is quite expensive in this part of Chile.
Wow the scenery is stunning. All the hikes sound great, so nice they are not too challenging. To me it sounds like the boat ride is a must though. That glacier is just amazing, hard to believe how big it is! #TheWeeklyPostcard
I didn’t realize there were so many day hikes available in Torres del Paine. The short hike to see Salto Grande would be my first hike although the Fauna Trail sounds interesting. I would also take the catamaran trip to the glacier. The views look stunning.
The good news is that there are many easy to moderate hikes that you can take in the park, while still enjoying the gorgeous scenery.
So glad to read that some of the hikes which are the most beautiful and pretty easy! Although if I were to go on such a trip, we would have to start prepping by hiking more often to get used to it again! This would be a dream visit! Pinned!
All of these hikes look amazing! I’m not a ” I can hike Mount Everest” type of hiker, but I love challenging myself and would probably choose a more difficult one.
Looks and sounds like great hikes, Anda! They are more my pace, I’m not much for multiple-day treks, and this looks like you can see and experience a lot being on these shorter hikes. Sounds like you guys had a great time. I’m glad weather was on your side. Your photos are gorgeous!
The weather was pretty mixed. We had everything from snow, to rain, wind and sunshine, but overall we had more sun.
Mary (The World Is A Book)
Such spectacular landscape and those views are incredible. These are my type of hikes when we make it down to Torres del Paine. Time is always an issue for us so these easy and short hikes would be our go to ones. Great info and tips!
This has been on my bucket list for years! How beautiful is this place! The scenery and the landscapes are just out of this world. When is the best time to go here? I want it to be sunny like this!
This was actually in March-April, which in the Southern Hemisphere is fall time.
All of these hikes look amazing. I’m not a pro hiker, so I’d definitely have to go for the easier one. The photo of the glaciers at Lago Gray is simply incredible and so lucky you got a beautiful clear day!
Oh my gosh! This place is stunningly beautiful! I don’t think I can skip one of the trails you suggested here. How many days do you think needed to do all these trails?
We stayed in Torres del Paine for a week. Depending on the weather, you may need less time, but I wouldn’t recommend less than 4.
The views on all these hikes are just breathtaking! I’m slowly getting into hiking so will have to start with the easier ones at Mirador de Cuernos and Lago Grey. And the boat ride after sounds fantastic too! I might need to borrow your luck with weather hahaa.
Wow all of these hikes look beautiful but I’d probably opt for the easy one because of my fibromyalgia. That waterfall looks really pretty too but I’ll make sure to stay clear of it, especially when there’s bad weather! Can’t mess with the power of water.
These photos are stunning! They have me just about ready to book a flight, I have to remind myself I’m already booked for the next few months. I had a trip to Chile fall through, so I’ve still never been, but I absolutely need to go sometime soon. I’m glad to know I can get some hiking in that’s a little bit challenging and has great views without needing to be a hardcore outdoorsman.
I really want to go to Patagonia, it was too cold last time I was in South America but hope to go back next year! The scenery there is incredible, I like to hike a bit, but doing it on horseback would definitely be my preferred option!
Torres del paine has jumped to the top of my wish travel list! I’m in awe of all the place you’ve written about here. I especially like Laguna Azul, as it’s beautiful and an easy hike too! A stunning region.