Torres del Paine are spectacular granite pillars that soar above the landscape of what may be South America’s most incredible National Park. Get to Torres del Paine and you will see why Patagonia is known as “The End of the Earth.” The park itself is massive encompassing 598,338 acres. For outdoor enthusiasts, you’ll feel like a “kid in a candy store” trying to figure out how to best spend your time. The park caters to all types of travelers from extreme backpackers looking to camp out for days to those looking to soak in incredible views from some of the world’s most spectacular lodges. Here is a list of 5 must-do activities to make for a great Patagonian adventure trip.
5 Must do Activities in Torres del Paine national Park
The French Valley is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. This trail is between the 10,000ft Paine Grande and the spectacular Torres del Paine and Los Cuernos mountains, with hanging glaciers above the trail. Throughout this full day’s hike enjoy fantastic views of the natural granite amphitheater that makes up this enclosed valley, as well as the waterscapes below including lakes Pehoe, Skottsberg, Toro and Nordenskjold. It is also possible to hear and see avalanches coming down from the glacier. Hike deep and high into the valley or relax and soak in the scenery before trekking onward to Paine Grande Lodge where you can enjoy a pisco sour (famed South American cocktail) as the sun sets over the Paine Grande and Los Cuernos Mountains. See this hike and other activities in Torres del Paine National Park in a few of our Chile Trip Ideas.
Strap on your crampons and get your camera ready because you are about to hike on one of the most unique ice fields in the world. The hike begins from the Refugio Grey with a 15-minute zodiac boat ride to the starting point on the western arm of the glacier. Walking on the glacier itself truly reveals its size and beauty. Peer into deep blue crevasses, cross over giant ice cracks and explore stunning ice caves. This is a very rare opportunity that is unique to Patagonia. For the more adventurous or experienced, some vertical ice climbing is also an option.
A horseback ride in Torres del Paine can be one of the most enjoyable ways to see the park. It is a great way to cover a lot more territory and can also save your leg strength between hiking days. Home to many large estancias (ranches) and still vibrant with the culture of the gaucho (traditional horsemen), it is a rider’s paradise. Rides vary in difficulty depending on your riding experience and can be a great addition to your Patagonia adventure trip. For the real riding enthusiast check out our Estancias Of Patagonia By Horseback Trip.
This trek is one of the most iconic in Patagonia and gets you up close and personal with the beautiful granite towers soaring thousands of feet in the air creating the centerpiece for the whole park. The hike starts at Hosteria Las Torres beginning with a steep 45-minute ascent, eventually reaching a glacial moraine. From here it’s an hour trek before the towers come into view, jutting from a serene turquoise lake the majestic towers are breathtaking and well worth the climb. The hike is about 3-hours one way.
This once in a lifetime experience allows you to safely kayak amongst massive icebergs and up to the face of Grey Glacier towering above. This can be done as a half-day activity following a hike up Grey Lake or in conjunction with a glacial ice hike. Definitely a winning combination no matter what you choose! See our Torres del Paine Explorer trip idea for more information.
Has an excursion in Patagonia caught your eye? Share with us which one and why in the comments section below.
Surrounded at all times by breathtaking landscapes and majestic mountain peaks you really can’t go wrong when choosing activities for your Torres del Paine adventure. For more information on the Chilean Southern Patagonia or other regions throughout the country visit our Chile Trip Ideas page.
Jack is a Trip Specialist at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. He has an affinity for anything outdoors and is constantly on the move trying to stay curious and active. Read Jack’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.