Patagonia in Argentina is known for its unique nature, amazing hikes and beautiful mountains. From the Tierra del Fuego national park at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, to the amazing mountains at El Chaltén. One of the best ways to fully enjoy Patagonia is on one-day or even multi-day hikes. Trekking in Argentina is a bucket list activity for all adventure lovers and hikers. To uncover the best walks in Patagonia, we’ve asked some of the world’s leading travel bloggers to help create the ultimate bucket list for the best hikes in Patagonia.
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#1 El Calafate to Laguna de los Tres, Patagonia hike in El Chaltén
by Stuart from Just Travelling Through
One of the best areas for hiking in Patagonia is around the small town of El Chaltén. Despite its size, there is an abundance of options when it comes to exploring stunning Patagonian scenery, including one of the best one-day hikes anywhere in the world. The hike to Laguna de los Tres leads you through a breathtakingly beautiful area. It takes around 6 to 8 hours to complete the 21km return journey. The hike is moderately difficult, mainly due to the final kilometer being very steep. In wintery conditions, typical in Patagonia, this can result in ice building on this section, making it even trickier.
However, the end result is worth all the effort as you arrive at the top to look out across the three picturesque lagoons and the iconic sight of Mount Fitz Roy standing proudly behind. There are few sights in Patagonia that can beat it.
The hike is best done in the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March and early April) with fewer crowds and perfect hiking conditions. As El Chaltén is high up, the snow can come in pretty thick even in the middle of autumn, putting an end to your hiking ambitions and causing you to miss out on some incredible views.
A guided hike to Laguna de los Tres can be easily booked in advance.
#2 Cerro Torre and Laguna Torre Hike, 20-kilometer hike at El Chaltén
by Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
El Chaltén is often called the hiking capital of Argentian Patagonia. The village located within Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province is the trailhead for many spectacular trails leading to the famous surrounding peaks. Many of the trails surrounding the town are accessible to all fitness and experience levels. The hiking season in the park is from October to April.
The hike to Laguna Torre at the base of Cerro Torre is a 20 km hike of medium difficulty. Highlights of this hike are incredible views of Cerro Torre mountain (3128m) located at the border between Chile and Argentina and the scenery walking near the Río Fitz Roy. The area when reaching Laguna Torre is amazing, walking next to the beautiful glacial lake with icebergs floating offering incredible views from up close of the Torre Massif.
The hike starts at trailhead on the outskirts of town that is marked on Calle Riquelme. The route is well marked and easy to follow with distance markers present. It is not a tough hike since it is fairly flat, but it is challenging due to the distance, taking about 6 hours to complete. This route can easily be combined with other hikes in the park such as the abovementioned Laguna de Los Tres, Mirador glacier Piedras Blancas or Laguna Torre, by spending a night camping in Poincenot.
#3 Cerro Llao Llao, easy day-hike at Bariloche
by Or from My Path in the World
If you’re looking for a fairly easy and short hike in Patagonia, Cerro Llao Llao is an excellent option. It is conveniently reachable by bus from the city of Bariloche. The hike is about 6 km (less than 4 miles) round trip, and even non-hikers can easily complete it (and enjoy it!).
Take bus number 20 from Bariloche and get off at the last stop, near the beautiful Hotel Llao Llao. You’ll probably see other travelers walking towards the park’s entrance, which takes about 10 minutes to get to. You’ll see a tiny Information Center where you can grab a map and start following the trail’s signs.
After about 45 minutes of walking through a flat forested area, you should get to the beginning of the climb to the magnificent Cerro Llao Llao lookout point. This is the only part of this hike that is more difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible, even for a person who is not much of a hiker. It should take you about 15 minutes to get to the top, where you can savor the most scenic panoramic views of the Nahuel Huapi National Park.
After getting down, you can walk back and finish this hike, or follow the signs that lead to Villa Tacul, where you’ll find some incredibly serene lake beaches (which is why summer in Argentina is the ideal time to take this hike).
#4 Hito XXIV, Patagonia day hike in Tierra del Fuego NP
by Beth from Frugal Female Abroad
Ushuaia, Argentina is the southernmost city in the world and if you find yourself there and you have a few days for exploring, one of the best places to visit is the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
The national park is 12kms from the city and it can be reached by catching on of the shuttle minibuses that run throughout the day. The Hito XXIV hike commences from the visitor centre.
The Hito XXIV hike is only a single day hike. It takes 90 minutes each way to complete and is about a 7km round trip. The difficulty would be considered easy-moderate. Walking along the water’s edge is flat and easy, but the path does meander through some forested sections. This hike would be suitable to do all year round, but it does snow in winter, so summer would be the best time to complete this hike.
The fun part about this hike is that you end up at the border of Chile and Argentina. There’s an awesome sign that you get to have a photo with at the end of the trail. While this is not a multi-day hike, you can camp within Tierra Del Fuego National Park to spend a few days enjoying all the different hikes.
#5 Perito Moreno Glacier, bucket list experience in Patagonia
by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
Near Calafate, is Perito Moreno Glacier, arguably one of the best places to hike in South America. Unlike most glaciers, Perito Moreno isn’t receding, however it’s common to see big chunks of ice break off and crash loudly into the ice-cold waters below. Seeing this spectacle with your own eyes is just one of the reasons why you should visit and hike the glacier.
From August to May it is possible to join either the mini trekking or big ice experience, which involves hiking the walkways surrounding the glacier, taking a boat ride along the glacier wall, and trekking on the glacier. The difference is several more hours hiking on the glacier, which can be quite tough, so choose the mini experience if the difficulty is an issue.
During the day you’ll be given a crash course in the use of crampons, which you’ll be provided with and then taken on a hike to admire the ice formations and the endless ice caves. You’ll also have time for a picnic on the ice, so remember to bring some food along!
After the long day, you’ll grab an ice ax and break a few cubes of fresh ice off the glacier to add to a glass of whisky, the perfect way to end the day.
#6 Senda Costera, half-day hike in Tierra del Fuego National Park
by Audrey from That Backpacker
If you’re looking for a memorable hike at the end of the world, it doesn’t get any better than Tierra del Fuego National Park! There are numerous guided or unguided hikes to choose from within the park, all varying in length and level of difficulty, however, one of my favourites is Senda Costera.
As the name suggests, this particular hike follows the coastline where you are treated to beautiful coves and secret beaches, and that means plenty of picnic spots to choose from! The hike starts in Zarategui Bay by the End of the World Post Office and finishes at Alakush Visitors Centre. The shuttle to the park stops at both locations, so you can do the hike in either direction.
I did the hike from Zarategui Bay to Alakush since there’s a cafe at the end and a piece of cake seemed like the perfect reward.
The hike is 8 kilometres in length, medium difficulty, and takes between 3-4 hours to complete. It’s a fairly flat trail, but you do encounter some steeper sections the closer you get to Alakush.
Generally, the best time to hike in Tierra del Fuego is between November and March since certain trails within the park do close once it begins to snow.
#7 Laguna de Los Témpanos hike, highlight in Ushuaia
by Sandra from BlueMarble Vagabonds
Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world which is located in Tierra del Fuego, has an abundance of hiking trails, especially in Tierra del Fuego National Park. But many would argue that the most beautiful hike in Ushuaia is that to the Laguna de Los Témpanos and Glacier Vinciguerra.
This is a one-day hike that can be completed in around six to seven hours (it depends on the pace and the conditions). It is 13 km long with a 600-meter elevation gain, so a moderate fitness level is needed for this hike – especially since a part of the trail is pretty steep.
The first part of the hike takes you over the valley with superb views of the surrounding mountains and afterward you trek through sub-Antarctic woods until you reach a turquoise lagoon at the top. In the proximity of the lagoon lies the glacier with stunning ice caves.
The trail is open year-round, but the best time to do this hike is from November to March since it is possible that otherwise, the trail will be too muddy or inaccessible due to snow.
Ushuaia city is the best place to base yourself when hiking in this area, and we’d recommend you opt for one of the cozy cottages which are perfect for relaxation after hiking.
#8 Paso de las Nubes, multi-day hike in Patagonia
by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
This hike close to Bariloche is named after a 1,335-meter mountain pass whose Spanish name means “pass of the clouds”, and you will really feel like you’re up among the clouds on this high-altitude hike. If you follow the basic route, it’s 23 kilometers long and can be walked in two or three days. This can be stretched to a fourth day by including one or more side trips, such as the spectacular Glaciar Castaño Overo. Accommodation is available in mountain huts, and you can also camp just outside the huts.
Compared with other trails in Patagonia, this one is not that difficult, although the terrain can get boggy in wet weather. You will be walking in the shadows of soaring Mt. Tronador, “the Thunderer”, which is snow-capped and covered in glaciers all year round. Since it’s not a loop trail, the easiest way to return is by boat, jumping onto one of the “Cruce de Lagos” cruises via Lago Nahuel Huapi and Lago Frías.
The glaciers that you’ll pass on this hike are spectacular. And, unlike the popular Perito Moreno glacier or the glaciers seen on a cruise to Antarctica from Ushuaia, you’ll have them virtually all to yourself. While the hiking season in this area is generally from December to March, Paso de las Nubes is always one of the last trails to open, usually in January.
#9 Laguna Esmeralda, easy half-day hike in Patagonia
by Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World
The hike to Laguna Esmeralda, near Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, is one of the best, and even one of the easiest in Patagonia. The 9.6 km (there and back) take an overall 4 hours to walk, but you should consider an overall 5 as you will be spending time to admire the views and the wildlife along the way and once you reach the lagoon.
The trail is well marked and fairly easy to follow, and the hike is easy to moderate, with little elevation gain. The only issue is that due to the weather conditions and regular rainfall in the area, the trail tends to be very muddy and slippery, and you will have to walk across a large bog in order to get to the lagoon, which is at the foot of Glacier Albino.
Throughout the hike, you will be walking across a lenga forest and will be able to see beaver dams as well as local wildlife. Beavers are actually a major issue in Tierra del Fuego. Imported from North America, they have caused much damage to the delicate local ecosystem and there are ongoing discussions on how to reduce their population and thus their impact on the local environment.
The trail can be accessed from a parking lot which is located in Valle de Los Lobos, 17 km east of Ushuaia. You can reach that on public transportation – the bus will usually come back around 5 hours after dropping you off.
You can walk the trail independently, but there are also guided hikes departing from town. You will need a good pair of waterproof hiking boots, and enough food and water for the duration of the hike.