Hikes in Chile – 13 Amazing Hikes & Treks For Your Bucket List

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Chile is a beautiful country full of diverse landscapes, stretching from the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia in the south. With everything from dramatic peaks, huge glaciers and cascading waterfalls to arid deserts, active volcanos and rugged coastlines, you won’t struggle to find plenty of amazing hikes in Chile.

But with so much of the country to explore, it can be difficult to choose which hikes to do. So, to help make this easier, I have put together a list of the top hiking routes in Chile, which should be at the top of your bucket list.

How do I know these are the best? I’m an avid hiker and backpacker, and I recently spent half a year exploring and hiking in South America. So read on for the top 13 hikes and treks in Chile!

About Hiking in Chile

Chile is a hiker’s paradise. With the Andes mountain range stretching the full length of the country, there are spectacular trails almost everywhere in Chile.

But mountain hiking is not all you will find here. As the longest country in the world, Chile has a wide variety of climates and landscapes.

In the north, you will find the arid Atacama desert, offering alien-like landscapes, hidden petroglyphs, salt flats, Andean flamingos, and the best stargazing in the world. In the south, Chilean Patagonia has glacial fjords, temperate rainforests, jagged granite peaks and some of the largest ice fields in the world.

Two two-toned granite mountain peaks surrounded by green shrubs at the base.

Throughout the rest of the country you will find picturesque snow-capped volcanoes, the stunning lake district, top wine regions and the world’s longest coastline.

Given Chile’s incredibly varied geography, it is one of the best destinations for hiking and backpacking. And there are hikes to suit every level of difficulty and itinerary. From short day hikes to breathtaking viewpoints, to challenging multi-day treks through some of the country’s most remote landscapes.

13 Best Hikes in Chile

1. W Trek, Torres del Paine National Park

Distance: 80 kilometres (50 miles)
Type of Hike: Multi-day, point to point
Elevation Gain: 2,950 meters (9,678 feet)
Hike Time: 4-5 days
Difficulty: Moderate

The most notable hiking destination in Chile is Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. There are several popular hiking routes here, but none more so than the iconic W Trek.

Shaped like a “W” (and named after its shape), this trek typically takes about 4 to 5 days to complete, covering approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles). The trek takes you past the park’s most famous sites, including to the base of the towering granite peaks, known as the Torres del Paine, which is the highlight of the park.

Other spectacular sites include the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoé, the stunning French valley, and the impressive Grey Glacier where you can sometimes see huge icebergs breaking away into the water.

Several jagged granite peaks with green shrubs at the base, on the W Trek in Chile

Another reason why the W Trek is so popular is because it’s very accessible. There is the option of staying at fully equipped campsites or in ‘refugios’ (shelters) with meals included, rather than having to carry all your own camping equipment and food, making the trek easier. Therefore, it’s possible for hikers of varying experience to explore the captivating landscapes of Torres del Paine.

Of course, you do need to book your accommodation and park entrance fees in advance. You must even make reservations if you’re planning to camp and bring your own equipment.

There are limited spaces available and using the online booking systems can be a bit tricky. If you have difficulty navigating the booking process or securing a reservation, a good alternative is to book an all-inclusive package, where everything is taken care of for you.

2. O Circuit, Torres del Paine National Park

Distance: 120 kilometres (74 miles)
Type of Hike: Multi-day, loop
Elevation Gain: 5,223 meters (17,136 feet)
Hike Time: 7-9 days
Difficulty: Moderate-difficult

Although the W Trek might be Torres del Paine’s most popular hike, if you’re an experienced hiker, the O Circuit will be an even better adventure for you!

This incredible hike includes all the same stops as the W Trek, but with the addition of taking you around the entire Paine Massif, offering complete views of the park’s stunning landscapes.

In addition to the iconic sites you will see along the W Trek section of the trail, the highlight of the O Circuit is hiking over the John Gardner Pass, where you will get epic views of the Grey Glacier and then get to walk parallel to it for several hours, seeing it up close and from different perspectives. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A hiker standing on a rock at the top of John Gardner pass, with a glacier in the background, on one of the best hikes in Chile

The O circuit typically takes 7 to 9 days to complete, covering around 120 kilometres (74 miles). In terms of technical difficulty, it’s not much more challenging than the W Trek. However, the length of the hike, combined with additional elevation gain, makes it a more difficult trek and should only be completed by hikers with some previous experience.

However, like the W Trek, there is the option of staying in equipped campsites or shelters with meals provided on the O Circuit, rather than carrying all your own gear. When we did the hike we carried everything ourselves. And although this is something we’re used to, after a few days my legs were tired and I could definitely see the appeal of an all-inclusive package!

Keep in mind that also like the W Trek, everything must be booked in advance.

3. Day Hiking in Torres del Paine National Park

Distance: Day hikes vary from 8-25 kilometres (5-16 miles)
Type of Hike: Various day hikes, out and back
Elevation Gain: Up to 1,042 meters (3,419 feet)
Hike Time: From 1.5 up to 8 hours
Difficulty: Easy-moderate, depending on hike

If you have a tight itinerary, or weren’t able to get reservations for the W Trek or O Circuit, luckily you can still visit Torres del Paine National Park on a day trip.

The park offers some incredible day hikes that allow you to experience its beauty even if you’re short on time. Here are a few of the best ones:

  1. Mirador Base Las Torres: This is perhaps the most famous day hike in the park. It’s also the most challenging, due to its length (19 kms / 12 mi) and elevation gain (up to 1,042 m / 3,419 ft). The trail takes you through an enchanting valley, up to the base of the iconic three granite towers. The views here are stunning, in particular if you’re able to make it up for sunrise!

  2. Lago Grey Peninsula: One of the main attractions in Torres del Paine is the huge Grey Glacier which you can see up close. The Grey Lake hike takes you along the shores of Grey Lake to a close-up viewpoint, with stunning views of the glacier and its icebergs floating in the water below.

  3. Mirador Britanico: This is the longest day hike in the park, at over 26 kilometres (16 miles) in length and 563 meters (1,847 ft.) of gradual elevation gain. The trail takes you through the French Valley all the way to the Britanico lookout, with panoramic views of the surrounding impressive peaks and other viewpoints along the way. Although a long day, I think this hike is definitely worth the effort!

  4. Mirador Cuernos: This short hike has rewarding panoramic views of the Paine Massif, and the distinct two-toned peaks known as the ‘devil’s horns’.

  5. Mirador Condor: As the name suggests, this trail is one of the best places to spot Andean Condors in the park. Although the majestic birds can be difficult to spot, the views from the lookout are worth it, even without any condor sightings.
The huge Grey Glacier, with snow capped mountains in the background, on one of the best day hikes in Chile

4. Villarica Volcano, Pucón

Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles)
Type of Hike: Day hike, out and back
Elevation Gain: 1,404 meters (4,606 feet)
Hike Time: 8-9 hours
Difficulty: Moderate-difficult

Although Patagonia is probably the place that first comes to mind, the country’s stunning lake district is actually an equally special place to visit for hikes in Chile. In particular, the charming town of Pucón is actually known as Chile’s adventure sports capital.

With the mighty Villarica Volcano as its backdrop, and surrounded by beautiful forests, green farmland, sapphire-blue lakes and pristine nature reserves, Pucón is a hiker’s paradise. And there is no better hike to do here than the Villarrica Volcano hike, which combines stunning views with the excitement of climbing an active volcano.

The Villarrica Volcano is known for its picture-perfect cone shape and for being Chile’s most active volcano. But what makes climbing it so special is the opportunity to see stunning unobstructed 360° panoramic views from its summit.

The trail to the top of the volcano has some technical sections but can be done by most people who have a good level of fitness. Although quick changes in weather conditions, snow and the weight of the required gear can make this hike more dangerous and difficult. As such, it’s recommended that you only do it with a guide who knows the volcano well.

The snow-capped Villarica Volcano behind a small town along the shores of a bright blue lake
Safety is a top priority on this hike due to the active nature of the volcano.

To ensure safety, guides will lead the groups and provide essential equipment like crampons and helmets for the icy sections. (And sometimes even gas masks when you reach the top!)

Reaching the summit of Villarrica Volcano offers an otherworldly experience. You’ll be able to peer into the steaming volcanic crater, sometimes even seeing the bubbling lava. And the vistas from the top are simply breathtaking, showcasing the surrounding lakes, forests, and the distant Andes mountains.

The hike itself is challenging and requires a good level of fitness, but the rewards are worth every step. Plus there are several natural hot springs in Pucón where you can relax your tired muscles after a long day of hiking!

5. Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama

Distance: 44 kilometres (27 miles) (can hike short segments and drive the rest)
Type of Hike: Day hike, out and back
Elevation Gain: 636 meters (2,087 feet)
Hike Time: 10 hours (full trail) (2-5 hours if driving and walking short segments)
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Valle de La Luna (Moon Valley) is an otherworldly landscape, located in northern Chile’s Atacama desert. This iconic valley is known for its striking resemblance to the moon’s surface (hence its name). With vast sand dunes, salt formations and unique rock shapes, it’s quite a sight to see!

The best way to experience this surreal landscape is on a hike to one or more of the various viewpoints. The 44 kilometre (27 mile) trail is long, but you don’t have to walk the entirety of it. It’s a shared trail with bikes and cars, so you can drive the route, stopping to walk short segments along the way.

Although the trail isn’t very well marked, so it can sometimes be a little confusing to navigate. Therefore, a good option to ensure you see all the best viewpoints is to go on a guided hike or tour.

The red hills and canyons of the Valle de La Luna in the Atacama desert, with blue sky in the background

The best time to hike Valle de La Luna is in the late afternoon, as the landscape becomes particularly spectacular during sunset, when the fading sun creates an array of beautiful colours across the land and sky. This is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the Atacama Desert and capture some incredible photographs.

The hikes in Valle de La Luna are relatively easy, but don’t underestimate the heat of the sun, and remember to bring plenty of water. The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth, so it’s important to come prepared.

6. Cochamó Valley Trail, Los Lagos Region

Distance: 11 kilometres (7 miles) each way
Type of Hike: Overnight, out and back
Elevation Gain: 452 meters (1,483 feet)
Hike Time: 3 hours (one way)
Difficulty: Moderate

The Cochamó Valley Trail is a hidden gem for adventurers seeking more off-the-beaten-path hikes in Chile. The trail leads you to Camping La Junta and Refugio Cochamo where you can stay overnight (with a reservation). This is a beautiful spot to base yourself and explore the valley from.

Or, if you’re limited on time, you can also do a day hike on the Cochamó Valley Trail.

Often compared to Yosemite in the US, Cochamó Valley boasts towering granite cliffs, pristine rivers and lush forest landscapes to explore, as well as various hiking and rock climbing routes.

Two wooden houses at the front of a forrest, with the granite cliffs of the Cochamo Valley in the background

The Cochamó Valley Trail begins with a hike through dense forests alongside the Cochamó River. As you venture deeper into the valley, the scenery becomes increasingly dramatic with massive granite walls rising around you. The highlight of the trail is the breathtaking Amphitheatre – a natural rock formation resembling an open-air arena surrounded by huge cliffs.

Something else which makes the Cochamó Valley Trail so special is that it’s relatively secluded and isn’t as busy as many of the other hikes in Chile. Therefore, the hike feels more remote and you probably won’t run into many other people.

7. Mirador de Los Cóndores, Cajón del Maipo

Distance: 8.5 kilometres (5 miles)
Type of Hike: Day hike, out and back
Elevation Gain: 745 meters (2,444 feet)
Hike Time: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

Just a stone’s throw from Santiago, The Cajón del Maipo (Maipo Canyon) offers one of the best day hikes in Chile. The aptly named Mirador de Los Cóndores (Condor lookout) hike is renowned for its stunning panoramic views and the possibility of spotting Andean Condors.

The trail is only about an hour from the city, but it feels like you’re much further away! It has a moderate ascent through the Andean foothills.

The trail has a moderate ascent through the Andean foothills, surrounded by breathtaking mountain landscapes. As you make your way up, the viewpoint gradually reveals itself, and you’re treated to a mesmerizing vista overlooking the Cajón del Maipo valley below.

An Andean Condor soaring through the sky, showing off its impressive wingspan

The highlight of this hike is, of course, the opportunity to witness the graceful flight of the condors. These magnificent birds are often seen soaring by the surrounding mountains, and it’s a sight that truly captures the spirit of the Andes.

This is a relatively short and well-marked trail, which can be done by various fitness levels. And although it’s close to Santiago, if you don’t have your own car getting there and back can be a little challenging to coordinate. Therefore, a lot of people opt to book a tour to Cajón del Maipo to do the trail and try to spot the condors!

8. San Francisco Glacier, El Morado Natural Monument National Park

Distance: 12 kilometres (7.5 miles)
Type of Hike: Day hike, out and back
Elevation Gain: 560 meters (1,837 feet)
Hike Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

If you’re visiting Santiago for a few days, another stunning day hike worth doing is the San Francisco Glacier hike. Located in the El Morado Natural Monument National Park, it’s about a 2 hour drive from Santiago. But it’s well worth the journey, as the trail takes you through stunning landscapes to the foot of a majestic glacier, passing by turquoise glacial lakes and dramatic mountain peaks on the way.

The bright blue water, ice, and sometimes snow, is quite striking to see in contrast with the arid landscape and rugged mountain backdrop. It is especially impressive to see such remote feeling landscapes within such close proximity to Chile’s largest city.

Plus, this is a unique change to see a glacier up close and appreciate the forces of nature which have shaped the surrounding landscape over many years.

Like with the Mirador de Los Cóndores hike, it’s easier to visit El Morado Natural Monument National Park from Santiago as part of a tour.

A hiking trail leading through a green valley to some snow capped mountains in the distance, in El Morado Natural Monument National Park.

9. Cerro San Cristóbal, Santiago

Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles)
Type of Hike: Day hike, out and back
Elevation Gain: 236 meters (774 feet)
Hike Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

When looking for hikes in Chile, you don’t even have to venture outside the city. If you’re visiting Santiago, there are some great hikes to do within the city limits. The best is a hike up Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill), which gives you full panoramic views of Santiago and the surrounding Andes mountain range.

The trail starts at the base of the hill and winds its way up through parks and greenery. The main trail is paved the whole way up and has a gradual incline, so it’s a relatively easy walk.

However, if you’re up for a challenge, there is a steeper and more rugged dirt trail which you can take instead. Although the distance of the dirt trail is shorter than the paved path, it’s much more of a workout!

The view of Santiago, Chile on a sunny day, from the San Cristobal hill hike

On the way up you will come across several vantage points to take in the cityscape below. And when you reach the summit, on a clear day you will be rewarded with 360 degree views. There is also a large statue of the Virgin Mary at the top of San Cristóbal, which is one of the city’s iconic symbols and is also a sight worth seeing.

10. Dientes Circuit, Isla Navarino

Distance: 42 kilometres (26 miles)
Type of Hike: Multi-day, loop
Elevation Gain: 2,232 meters (7,323 feet)
Hike Time: 4-6 days
Difficulty: Difficult

For those looking to really go off-the-grid, The Dientes Circuit on Isla Navarino is one of the best hikes in Chile. It’s an incredible trek that takes you through some of the most remote and untouched landscapes in the world.

This multi-day trek is usually completed in 4-6 days, covering 42 kilometres (26 miles) of challenging terrain. As this is one of the more difficult hikes in Chile, it should only be undertaken by experienced trekkers who are well-prepared and have suitable equipment. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s absolutely worth it!

A blue lake with snow capped hills in the background and green shrubs to the left

The trail winds through rugged landscapes, dense forests, alpine meadows, and breathtaking mountain passes. You will encounter technical trails, rocks, mud, unpredictable weather and possibly even ice and snow, which adds to the adventure. But these conditions can make the trek dangerous, so you should always proceed with caution and be prepared for various situations.

The circuit is known for its views of the stunning alpine scenery and the surrounding fjords. But the highlight for most hikers is crossing the Dientes de Navarino, a range of jagged peaks that resembles a set of teeth, hence the name “Dientes Circuit.”

11. Cerro Castillo Trek, Cerro Castillo National Park

Distance: 56 kilometres (35 miles)
Type of Hike: Multi-day, point to point
Elevation Gain: 2,376 meters (7,795 feet)
Hike Time: 3-4 days
Difficulty: Moderate-difficult

The Cerro Castillo Trek is a one of the best hikes in Chilean Patagonia, leading you through the stunning landscapes of the Aysén region in Chile. This multi-day trek offers everything from wild forests and alpine meadows to towering peaks, turquoise lakes, and views of the iconic Cerro Castillo mountain.

The trek typically takes about 4 to 5 days to complete, covering around 56 kilometres (35 miles). The trail begins by passing through dense forests, ascending gradually to the Cerro Castillo mountain range. As you make your way higher, you’ll be treated to spectacular vistas of rugged peaks, picturesque valleys, and impressive glaciers.

The highlight of the hike is, of course, the Cerro Castillo mountain itself, which features a distinctive jagged ridge that resembles a castle. The special thing about this trek is that you actually hike around the mountain, so you will get spectacular views of it from various angles.

Or, if you don’t have time to complete the full trek, you can also see some amazing views of Cerro Castillo Mountain on a day hike.

A green field with a small hut in the middle and the snow-capped Mount Cerro Castillo in the background

There are designated campsites along the trail and you aren’t allowed to wild camp in-between. But, another great thing about this hike is that you don’t have to book them in advance! This makes the Cerro Castillo Trek much cheaper and easier to plan than many other multi-day hikes in Chilean Patagonia.

So, if you miss out on getting reservations for the O Circuit or W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park, this is a great alternative!

12. Isla Robinson Crusoe Island Trail, Robinson Crusoe Island

Distance: 15 kilometres (9.5 miles)
Type of Hike: Day hike, point to point
Elevation Gain: 1,119 meters (3,671 feet)
Hike Time: 6-7 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

The Isla Robinson Crusoe Island Trail is located on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. It offers a mix of captivating natural beauty and intriguing history. The hike takes you along rugged coastlines, through biologically unique landscapes, and past key historical sites.

Robinson Crusoe Island is part of the Juan Fernández Archipelago, known for its unique flora and fauna that have evolved in isolation and can only be found here. Over the course of the trail you will pass by over 100 endemic species!

The island is also famous for its connection to the novel “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe, which was inspired by the real-life story of a castaway who lived on the island. You can even stop to explore Selkirk’s Lookout on the hike, which was named after the real-life castaway – Alexander Selkirk – who inspired the novel.

A view of the green mountains surrounding the harbour on the Isla Robinson Crusoe Island Trail, which is one of the best hikes in Chile

14. Hanging Glacier Trail, Queulat National Park

Distance: 6 kilometres (4 miles)
Type of Hike: Day hike, out and back
Elevation Gain: 294 meters (965 feet)
Hike Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Queulat National Park is an absolute gem in Chile’s Aysén region. And, in particular, the views from the Mirador Ventisquero Colgante (Hanging Glacier lookout) shouldn’t be missed! Plus, getting to the viewpoint is easy, along a short 6 kilometre hiking trail.

The trail passes through an enchanting forest, before the landscape transforms to reveal the jaw-dropping views of the hanging glacier and multiple cascading waterfalls. It truly looks like something out of Avatar or Indiana Jones!

Although this is a relatively easy hike, with limited elevation, the trail can get muddy, which can add some challenges and make sections of the trail slippery. It’s also worth noting that there is an entry fee to enter the park which you should reserve online in advance.

A blue glacier hanging over the edge of a cliff with several small waterfalls cascading down in Queulat National Park

Hikes in Chile – FAQs

Are there lots of hikes in Chile?

Yes! there are plenty of hikes in Chile! From the iconic Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia to the the Atacama Desert in the north, and the scenic Lake District, Chile is full of spectacular day hikes and multi-day treks, for all experience levels.

What is the hardest hike in Chile?

The Dientes Circuit on Isla Navarino in the far southern region of Chile is generally considered one of the most challenging hikes in the country. It’s a far more remote trek than many of the other popular hikes in Chile, and the terrain is technically more difficult.

Is hiking in Chile safe?

Yes, generally hiking in Chile is safe, but it still comes with the same risks as hiking in any other country. The terrain can be challenging, the weather unpredictable and the locations of the hikes are often remote.

To minimize any risks, you should always be prepared. Do your research before hiking, make sure the hike is suitable for your experience level and make sure you have all the right hiking, camping and safety equipment to take with you.

A hiker crossing a suspension bridge on a hike in Chile

Are there easy hikes in Patagonia?

Yes, Patagonia has a very wide range of hiking trails suitable for all levels of hikers. If you’re new to hiking and looking for easy routes, it’s best to start with some short day hikes. Torres del Paine National Park has a wide range of trails at different difficulty levels. Plus the park caters towards all different types of tourists, so this could be a great place to start!

If you’re new to hiking, it can also be a good idea to book a guided hiking tour to get you started, until you have the experience and confidence to start hiking alone.

What is the longest hike in Chile?

The Patagonian Route of Parks (known as the “Ruta de los Parques” in Spanish) is the longest interconnected hiking route in Chile. Stretching over 2,800 kilometres (1,700 miles), this incredible trail weaves through 17 national parks, showcasing the diverse landscapes and natural wonders of Chilean Patagonia.

What is the best time of year to hike in Chile?

This really depends on where in Chile you’re planning to go! But generally, the warmer months (November to March) are considered the best time to hike in Chile. In particular, this is the best time to visit Patagonia and the Lake District, as the weather is relatively mild and most of the trails are accessible.

Whereas in the Atacama Desert in the north, hiking is ideal from April to September when temperatures are a bit cooler.

A campground in a field with the sun setting over the hills in the background

Final Thoughts – Hikes in Chile

The choices of amazing hikes in Chile are endless. From multi-day mountain treks and otherworldly desert expeditions, to scenic day hikes with some of the country’s best views, there is something for every type of hiker.

But with so much to see (and never enough time) hopefully this list of the best hikes in Chile will help you decide where to go on your next Chilean adventure.


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