Last updated: August, 2019Hiking in Patagonia is breathtakingly beautiful and exciting! This vast, wild region at the tip of South America is a place like no other, and once you see it you’ll understand why. Massive glaciers, jagged granite peaks, azure lakes, roaring waterfalls, and sublime flower fields. Tall mountain peaks and huge swatches of scrubland, dotted with roaming guanacos, lamas and ñandús. There are not many places in the world where you will fill a deeper connection with nature and witness its tremendous power. There is a reason why hikers from all around the world consider hiking in Patagonia an experience of a lifetime. But the land of massive glaciers and azure lake is as wild as it is beautiful. Therefore, in order to have a great time here, there are a few things that you should know BEFORE planning your hiking trip to Patagonia.
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Where to Hike in PatagoniaPatagonia straddles two countries, divided by the Andes Mountains: Chile and Argentina. The Chilean side of Patagonia brags about the famous Torres del Paine National Park, while the Argentinean side boasts the stunning Mount Fitz Roy and Perito Moreno Glacier.
Hiking in Torres del PaineSome of the best hikes in Patagonia are in Chille’s Torres del Paine National Park, which is acknowledged as one the most spectacular places to see in South America.
Hiking in Argentinean PatagoniaBut Argentinean Patagonia is also home to unbelievably beautiful trails and tracks, like the hike to Laguna de Los Tres and Mount Fitz Roy. There are several world famous treks that start in El Chalten. Some of these hikes are quite easy and can be attempted even by families with small children. Others are longer and more difficult and present a challenge even for the more seasoned hikers.
Best Time to Hike in PatagoniaClimate in Patagonia is pretty strange. The weather may go from one extreme to the other in less than a couple of hours. You can pretty much count on very strong winds, rain, mud, and sometimes snow at any time of year. Deciding what would be the best time for you depends on your preferences, expectations and budget.
- Spring (from early September to mid November) is a wonderful time for hiking in Patagonia. The weather may not be as stable as in summer, but it’s still nice and the park is not yet full. This is one of the two shoulder seasons when you may get better prices and still have a pretty good chance for good weather.
- Summer (mid November to early March) is considered the best tie for hiking in Patagonia. You can enjoy warmer nights in the campgrounds and have less rain. The winds are quite strong in summer, but the temperatures are in the mid 50sF to low 60sF, so they may not feel so bad. Summer the busiest season of the year and most places in Patagonia are full to capacity. If you choose to visit Patagonia in summer you should plan to make reservations at least 6 months in advance. Prices are also higher than in any other season.
- Fall(late March to early June) is considered a shoulder season and is a fair alternative to the summer season. The temperatures are cooler, but there is generally less wind. The weather is still great for hiking. You may experience more rain and possibly even snow, but many prefer to hike Patagonia during fall because the great colors. Patagonia is absolutely spectacular in fall, when shades of red, orange and yellow complement the blue sky and the azure lakes. In fall you’ll also have less crowds and lower prices.
- Winter (late June to August). The weather is cold and very unstable. Refugios and campgrounds close down for the winter and so do most of the hotels in Torres del Paine and El Chalten. Many of the trails are closed also because of the harsh conditions. They say Patagonia is particularly picturesque in winter, but for hiking and trekking this is definitely not a good season. The only good reason for visiting Patagonia in winter would be the occurrence of the Southern Lights. With almost 17 hours of darkness, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for viewing them.