The region of Patagonia is shared between Argentina and Chile, and covers a territory longer than 2500 km. Naturally, there are hundreds of hidden trails that lead to landscapes with different characteristics. The most popular area for trekking is the one that surrounds the Continental Ice Cap, particularly El Chalten (Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre) and Torres del Paine. Both places have an immense variety of landscapes, which allow you to see, in many cases, rivers, forests, lakes, lagoons, mountains, glaciers and steppe, all in one day. Even though you can do trekking all year long, the best season to do it is from October to March. On the other hand, there are other areas in Patagonia that are incredible for trekking as well, such as the Lakes District, the Carretera Austral, Tierra del Fuego, and the Chilean Fjords. If you want to learn more about the best hikes in Patagonia, please click here, and if you want to learn more about Patagonia trekking tours, keep on this page.
The most popular hiking trail in Torres del Paine is known as the “W trek”. It takes around 4-5 days, in which you visit the main three valleys of the National Park: River Ascensio Valley (leads to the Base of the Towers), French Valley (leads to different views on the Horns and other spots), and the Valley of the Grey Lake (leads to different views on the Grey Glacier and other spots). Also, you can complement the W trek with the “O” trek, which is a circle that allows you to go behind the Horns and Towers. This last one takes around 9-10 days. El Chalten (home to Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy Mount), on the other hand, has also plenty of trails that lead to impressive, out of the world views. There are many trails that you can do from the village through half or full days, for example “Laguna de los 3”, “Lago Torre”, and “Loma del Pliegue Tumbado”. You can also connect the trails without having to return to the village, doing multi-day treks through the mountains, reaching places that you wouldn’t be able to reach if you go from a full day trek from the village. For instance, “Paso del Cuadrado” and “Ruta del Huemul”. From El Chalten you can also access to the Continental Ice Field, and walk on top of it, which represents one of the most incredible experiences you can ever get. Another nice trek is to cross to Chile through “Lago del Desierto”, combining navigations with trekking, and staying in refuges.
We offer personalized tours in Argentina and Chile. The following ones are some inspiring ideas for hiking tours in Patagonia. Let us know your preferences and we will customize the trip to match your goals and wishes.
Below you will find a list of the suggested gear to bring for a trekking tour. This is for inspiration and we hope it helps. Note: in our tours, for the camping options you don’t need to bring sleeping bags neither tents nor sleeping mattresses from home (unless we specifically indicate the opposite). Here we go: Backpack, 50 lts. or so (this changes according to the circuit) – Thermal underwear – Trekking shoes or boots – Trekking pants – Fleece – Softshell jacket – Parka and over pants – Gaiters – Gloves -Thermal socks -the necessary spare cloth – Wool hat – Sun hat – Sunglasses – Sunscreen (UV is very strong during the southern spring, from September thru December) – Personal ítems – Lamp – Trekking poles (recommended, if you are used to them) – Personal medication – Personal documents to cross the border between Argentina and Chile. There is also something useful that you can bring along to increase the temperature inside the sleeping bag: a sleeping bag liner.
The weather in Southern Patagonia (El Calafate, El Chalten, Torres del Paine, Punta Arenas, and Tierra del Fuego) can be unpredictable, due to the strong winds that come from Antarctica and the Patagonian Ice Field. It means that you can get the four seasons all in one day. Nevertheless, there are some patterns about the climate that are useful to know:
From the ends of September till November (spring), temperatures in this area are between 5° C and 15° C (can get warmer). Nice during the day, even though it can get chilly. In September increases the chances of rain and snow. You have between 12 and 17 hours of daylight depending on the month. From December to the beginnings of March, the temperature raises to 7-18° C (it can get warmer). Nice during the day, cool but not cold in the night (usually), stronger winds than in other seasons. Between 13 and 17 hours of daylight depending on the month.
From the end of March till May. Similar to spring, but a few degrees less. In May increases the chances of snow. Daylight: 8-11 hours depending on the month. Winter has lower temperatures, but milder winds as well. It snows, naturally, and the average temperature is between -1° C and 6° C (even though this can change). The weather in the rest of Patagonia changes depending on where you are, but we can say the in north Patagonia it’s way warmer (Bariloche and Lakes District, Puerto Madryn, etc.), in a way that you can get over 30° C during summertime.
This depends on the circuit you want to do. The traditional trails of Southern Patagonia don’t require specific training, but the ability to being able to walk several hours per day (6-10). The terrains, altitude, and difficulty depend on the trail you’re walking through, but is important to highlight that the Andes Range is not very high in that area (except some specific points). If you take the traditional trails you will be walking somewhere around 300-1200 meters over the sea level, with an immense variety of incredible landscapes.