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20 Best Day Hikes in Chile of Various Difficulties

Best Hikes in Chile, Torres del Paine, Trek

Chile is a Promised Land of all hikers. There are fairytale glens, challenging mountain peaks, crystal-clear lagoons, and many other marvels of nature to appreciate. Which are the best trails with the most wonderful views? I took the liberty of writing down the most interesting and thrilling hikes that I’ve enjoyed in Chile of various difficulty levels so that there’s something suitable for everyone. Even the family with small kids! Read on for detailed info on the treks, maps, tips, and more! 

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Best hikes in the Atacama 

The Atacama Desert may be the driest (non-polar) place on Earth, but that doesn’t mean that there are no good trails. Just hit the road early in the morning, or later in the afternoon, and take enough water. If you’re interested in other than hiking, check out the article on Top 10 Things to do in San Pedro. Here are the best hikes with the top views. 

1. The Moon Valley Trail

The Moon Valley Trail, hiking in Chile 
The Moon Valley Trail 

  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Starting location: -22.94746, -68.29273 
  • Parking: free at the starting location 
  • Distance: 20.5 km (12.7 mi)   
  • Elevation gain:  414 m (1 358 ft)   
  • Time: 5-6 hours   


Moon Valley Trail, Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama, Hiking
The Moon Valley Trail

The Valle de la Luna trek wraps up all the best spots in the valley. Wondering what you can see in the desert? Well, just wait for it. The majestic dunes and rock formations flashed by all shades of pink, gold, and purple in the sunset is a jaw-dropping combination. I strongly recommend planning your trip for the afternoon, so that you will be coming back as the sun goes down and get a chance to take some incredible photos. Also, the evenings are quite chilly, which makes much better conditions for a walk. The roads are also suitable for cycling. 

2. Pukará de Quitor – Devil’s Throat 

Pukará de Quitor, Devil’s Throat, Chile
Devil’s Throat

  • Difficulty:  Hard 
  • Distance: 21 km (13 mi)   
  • Starting location: -22.910691, -68.200443 
  • Parking: There are free public parking spots 200 m (650 ft) from the starting point 
  • Elevation gain:  381 m (1 250 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 6 hours   


Devil’s Throat hike, San Pedro
Devil’s Throat hike

This nice hike starts at the edge of San Pedro. It walks you around Mars Valley, the Pukará de Quitor ancient fortress, and off to the Devil’s Throat Viewpoint. Most of the way winds along the San Pedro River canyon, but there’s no shade, so remember to bring enough water and a hat. You can also rent a bike or cut it back and do only Pukará de Quitor and Mars Valley version.  

3. Cerro Toco Trek 

Cerro Toco Trek, hiking in Chile 
Cerro Toco Trek 

  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Distance: 4 km (2.5 mi)   
  • Starting location: -22.955963, -67.777188 
  • Parking: you can leave your car at the trailhead, but it better be a 4WD or you might have a hard time making it all the way there 
  • Elevation gain:  306 m (1 003 ft)   
  • Time: About 2 hours   


Cerro Toco Trek, Atacama
Cerro Toco Trek

The trek to Cerro Toco Peak is quite challenging despite it being short. It starts at the altitude of 5 200 m (over 17 000 ft) which makes it hard because of possible mountain sickness. If you’re planning on taking this trek, prior acclimation to such high altitudes is essential! And I mean at least a week, anything less than that is not enough, you will want to go home early.  All you need to know about mountain sickness is covered in the article The Big 3 of Altitude Sickness. Besides that, this trek is well marked, and you can enjoy cool views of the desert from the snow-capped peak.  

4. Puritama Hot Springs  

Puritama Hot Springs, San Pedro de Atacama 
Puritama Hot Springs

  • Difficulty:  Easy 
  • Distance: 10 km (6.2 mi)   
  • Starting location: -22.749690, -68.071283 
  • Parking: leave your car by the side of the road at the starting point 
  • Elevation gain:  365 m (1 197 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 3 hours   


Puritama Hot Springs, San Pedro de Atacama 
Puritama Hot Springs 

Walk along the Puritama River Canyon, one of the few places in the Atacama Desert rich with flowers, cacti, and other plants. This hike is relatively easy and the path is surrounded by marvelous landscape. If you’re ready you can even jump in one of the hot springs pools (prior reservation needed). This hike is suitable also for families or less fit hikers. 

Best Hikes Around Santiago de Chile 

Santiago de Chile is metropolitan boredom, there’s nothing much to see, really. However, there are some good hikes in this area… and the huge mountain peaks vistas are the best. Also, Valparaíso with its colorful murals and ocean views is just a stone’s throw away. Interested in the tourist highlights? Check my article on Santiago de Chile and Daytrips. If not, there are the most thrilling hikes. 

5. San Cristóbal Hill 

San Cristóbal Hill, Chile
San Cristóbal Hill view

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Distance: 9 km (5.6 mi)  
  • Starting location: -33.415231, -70.617531 
  • Parking: there’s a parking lot about 600 m (2000 ft) down the road (or improvise since this hike starts in the city) 
  • Elevation gain:  246 m (807 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 45 minutes   


Cerro San Cristóbal, viewpoint, Santiago de Chile
Cerro San Cristóbal, viewpoint

Right in the heart of the Chilean capital lies San Cristóbal Hill offering a birds-eye view of the city with the massive mountain range in the backdrop. The hike to Cerro San Cristóbal is relatively easy and rewarding. And a great option if you have a few hours to kill in Santiago

6. Valparaíso City Circuit 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Distance: 5.8 km (3 mi)   
  • Starting location: -33.048430, -71.622603 
  • Parking: park on the side of the road and off you go!  
  • Elevation gain:  181 m (594 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 2 hours 

Valparaíso City Hike, Chile 
Valparaíso City Hike

The artistic colorful Chilean version of San Francisco boasts many hidden gems in its streets worth discovering. Take this Valparaíso City Loop hike to check all the cool places off your list. There are many selfie spots on the way with perfect scenic views of the city and the ocean. Set off in the morning to avoid the tourist crowds and make the most of it!  

7. San Francisco Glacier 

  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Distance: 15 km (9.4 mi)  
  • Starting location: -33.48523, -70.03466  
  • Parking: park in the street where the trail starts 
  • Elevation gain:  669 m (2 293 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 5 hours   

San Francisco Glacier, Santiago de Chile, Travel Itinerary
San Francisco Glacier hike

My personal favorite is near Santiago. Drive through El Maipo Canyon to Baños Morales, leave the car there and take the hike up to San Francisco Glacier. The path will lead you to a lagoon near the San Francisco Glacier with epic views of the peaks along the way. The path is well maintained and marked, so we had no trouble getting there. The first part of the trail is a bit steep but then it’s a piece of cake.  

Our Top Tips for hiking in Chile:  

✅ Always carry enough water supplies and some cash with you. There are often no refreshment possibilities and the national park’s admission are mostly accepted in cash. 
🏞️ Feel free to ask the national park’s ranger for advice. They are super friendly and happy to help you out. 
🌡️There is every possible weather situation in Chile from north to south, remember that when choosing the right clothes for the trek. 

8. El Yeso Dam 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Distance: around 10 km (6 mi)   
  • Starting location: -33.663620, -70.081934 (or anywhere else by the dam) 
  • Parking: you can turn left off the main road at the coordinates that I used as the starting point and leave your car there, or choose from several other spots that you will pass on the way 
  • Elevation gain:  —  
  • Time: 2-3 hours 

 

El Yeso Dam, Hiking in Chile
El Yeso Dam, Hiking in Chile

Technically, not exactly a hike. The map at Alltrails.com shows the way from the outskirts of Santiago to El Yeso Dam, which is a crazy long route. I suggest driving up all the way to the dam and taking a walk there. The setting is magnificent. The mountain range surrounding the reservoir gives more punch to the atmosphere. You can also try out the hike to the neighboring Laguna Negra. As this hike lies off the beaten track, you get a pretty big chance there will be no people there and you can enjoy a peaceful moment in the isolated wilderness. 

Best Hikes in Lakes District 

Here we go, Chilean Lakes District is arguably the best location for hiking. There are countless national parks with awesome views and well-marked trails. A piece of advice though, don’t plan it for January, unless you wish to be eaten alive by a huge flying blood-sucking helicopter. Explanation in the article about the best of Lakes District.  

9. Villarrica Volcano (Villarrica NP) 

  • Difficulty: Hard (mountaineering and climbing skills convenient) 
  • Distance: Approximately 3 km (1.8 mi)   
  • Starting location: usually at the Villarica Refuge 
  • Parking: you will probably arrive by bus with your tour group, so no need to park at the Refuge parking lot 
  • Elevation gain:  1 500 m (4 921 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 4 hours   

Climbing Villarrica, Best hikes in Chile
Climbing Villarrica

More of a climbing trek, but I couldn’t possibly leave this out of the list. Chile has countless volcanos, but Villarrica is the real deal. The ascent is really demanding and difficult, so think twice before you decide to take it on. On the other hand, it was one of the most adrenaline-packed and rewarding experiences of my life. It is necessary to book a tour guide as it could be life-threatening to go on your own. I put together all the practical information as well as my impressions in the extra All You Need to Know About Climbing Villarrica in 4 Steps article. 

  • The price of the guided tour is set to around 112 000 CLP (135 USD), including the gear, backpacks, and snacks.  

10. Sendero Sierra Nevada Trek (Conguillío NP) 

Sendero Sierra Nevada, Chile
Sendero Sierra Nevada

  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Distance: 11.4 km (7 mi) 
  • Starting location: -38.650430, -71.619633 
  • Parking: there are several parking spots at the starting point 
  • Elevation gain:  602 m (1 975 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 4.5 hours   


Sendero Sierra Nevada hiking trail
Sendero Sierra Nevada hiking trail

Conguillío National Park boasts numerous hiking trails, volcanic lagoons, ancient forests, and some rare species such as endemic Araucaria trees, or cordilleran Cypress. The Sendero Sierra Nevada Trek includes the best views of Conguillío Lake, Llaima Volcano, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  

  • Entrance price: 13 500 CLP (17 USD | 15 EUR) 

11. Huerquehue Lakes Trail (Huerquehue NP) 

Huerquehue Lakes Trail
Huerquehue Lakes Trail

  • Difficulty: Medium   
  • Distance: 10.5 km (6.5 mi)   
  • Starting location: at the Kiosko La Pulguita 
  • Parking: parking available at the kiosk  
  • Elevation gain: 689 m (2 260 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 5.5 hours  


Huerquehue Lakes Trail, Hiking in Chile
Huerquehue Lakes Trail

Huerquehue is one of the oldest national parks in Chile, established in 1912. The Lakes Trail sums up all the highlights of the park. I particularly enjoyed the part further up the trail with several lakes next to each other and every single one unique in its beauty. We made it in 4 hours, but I imagine the route can get pretty muddy in wet weather, so bear that in mind, when planning the trip. 

  • Admission fee: 7 000 CLP (9 USD | 7.80 EUR) 

12. Sendero Los Alerces Loop Trail (Vicente Perez Rosales NP) 

Sendero Los Alerces Loop Trail, Chile
Sendero Los Alerces Loop Trail

  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Distance: 14.3 km (9 mi)   
  • Starting location: the trailhead is at the campground in Petrohue  
  • Parking: plenty of parking in the area, you can try by the campground or at the nearby beach 
  • Elevation gain:  328 m (1 076 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 4.5 hours   


Sendero Los Alerces hike trail, Vicente Perez Rosales NP
Sendero Los Alerces hike trail

The Vicente Perez Rosales National Park stretches all the way to Argentina and it’s Chile’s first national park, established in 1926.  Below the slopes of Osorno volcano lies the Todos Los Santos Lake. It’s important mainly thanks to the transportation route to Argentina. But it also makes a beautiful setting for a hike with views of Osorno. Too bad I didn’t know about the seasonal flies, so I had to wave my jacket above my head the whole way. 

  • Admission fee: 7 000 CLP (9 USD | 7.80 EUR) 

13. Petrohué Waterfalls (Vicente Perez Rosales NP) 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Distance: 1.8 km (1 mi)   
  • Starting location: -41.173186, -72.451021 (by the tourist office) 
  • Parking: there’s a large parking lot with at the tourist office with free parking 
  • Elevation gain:  38 m (125 ft)   
  • Time: Around 2 hours   


Petrohué Waterfalls, Vicente Perez Rosales NP
Petrohué Waterfalls

On the way up to the lake lies the Petrohué Waterfalls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The waterfalls are a part of the Saltos del Rio Petrohué Park located right next to the Osorno volcano. That means the incredibly blue water runs down the black volcanic rock canyon carved by the lava from Osorno. We spent around 2 hours there on the Petrohué Waterfalls Trail, which is suitable for anybody. Now I understand why it’s one of the most visited places in Chile. 

  • Admission fee: CLP 3 200 (4 USD | 3.60 EUR)  

14. Hike to Sargazo Lagoon (Allerce Andino NP)  

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Distance: 7 km (4.3 mi)   
  • Starting location: -41.508549, -72.621209 
  • Parking: parking spots at the starting location (there’s a little info booth there, too) 
  • Elevation gain:  358 m (1 175 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 2.5 hours  
     
Allerce Andino NP, hiking, Allerce Milenario
Allerce Andino NP

Allerce Andino National Park is a hidden gem for hikers. It lies around an hour’s drive from Puerto Montt yet it’s overlooked by the tourists. That would be a huge mistake though. The hike to Sargazo Lagoon is super simple and suitable even for small children (however not for a stroller as there are some stairs on the way). Walking through the forest on the wooden pathways you’ll feel like in the jungle until the spectacular view of the crystal-clear lake spreads out in front of you. Then, you will feel like Indiana Jones on his quest. The road forks after a few meters, but both ways are approximately the same distance, and both lead to the lake. If you turn to the left though, you’ll pass by the Allerce Milenario, a massive Patagonian cypress that is said to be almost 3 000 years old.   

  • Admission fee: 5 000 CLP (6.20 USD | 5.60 EUR) 

15. Salto Río Chaicas (Allerce Andino NP) 

  • Difficulty: Easy  
  • Distance: 7.6 km (4.7 mi)   
  • Starting location: -41.593492, -72.593465 
  • Parking: easy parking at the trailhead 
  • Elevation gain:  109 m (358 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 2 hours   


Salto Río Chaicas Trail, Allerce Andino NP, Chile
Salto Río Chaicas Trail

Same park, different part. Salto Río Chaicas hike leads along the river on the well-maintained trail. Approximately in the middle of the route, there are picnic tables, where you can stop and have a snack. As you can tell by its name, there are several lovely waterfalls along the way, and if you’re lucky, you can even spot an Andean fox. 

  • Admission fee: 5 000 CLP (6.20 USD | 5.60 EUR), paid per person for 1 day (if you manage to do more hikes in one day, you only pay once) 

Best Hikes in Torres del Paine National Park 

The living, breathing heart of the Chilean Patagonia is the Torres del Paine National Park. This is the place you must visit in Chile if nothing else. For me, this isthe most beautiful NP in Chile. The best way to explore the area is hiking. And there’s a lot to explore in Torres del Paine. For more info about Torres del Paine and other thrilling activities such as Kayaking around Glacier Gray, read the 5 Things You Need to Know About Torres del Paine National Park


Entrance fees 

The entrance fees differ in low and high seasons: 

High season (October 1-April 30):    

  • Adults: 21 000 CLP (25 USD | 22 EUR)   
  • Children: 6 000 CLP (7 USD | 6.30 EUR)  
     

Low season (May 1-September 30):   

  • Adults: 11 000 CLP (13 USD | 11.60 EUR)   
  • Children: 1 000 CLP (1.20 USD | 1 EUR)   

16. W Circuit Trek   

W Circuit Trek, Hiking in Chile
W Circuit Trek

  • Difficulty: Hard   
  • Distance: 69.5 km (43 mi)   
  • Starting location: Hotel Las Torres 
  • Parkng: at the hotel 
  • Elevation gain:  2 730 m (8 957 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 4/5 days  

W circuit Trek, Torres del Paine, Chile
W Circuit Trek

If you wish to spend multiple days in the park, try the W Circuit Trek. It’s the ultimate hike with all the highlights of the park: Las Torres, Los Cuernos, Francés Valley, Paine Grande, and Grey Glacier. The whole trail is well marked, full of camping sites, mountain hostels, and hotels, it’s up to you how close to nature you want to be. The best time to hike is from November to March when it’s summertime. The wind is always killing it, but the weather will be more lenient.  

17. Las Torres Trek 

  • Difficulty: Hard   
  • Distance: 17.4 km (11 mi)   
  • Starting location: Hotel Las Torres 
  • Parkng: at the hotel 
  • Elevation gain:  990 m (3 248 ft)   
  • Time: up to 10 hours  

Las Torres, Torres del Paine hiking, Patagonia, Chile
Las Torres Trek

This is arguably the most famous trek in South America. It starts in front of Hotel Las Torres like the W Circuit Trek as it’s technically the initial part of it. The views along the way are meh, but the end of the road is jaw-dropping. The lake and the three “Towers of Paine” peaks are the most iconic landmarks of Torres del Paine, after which the NP was named.    

First described as “Cleopatra Needles”, the three peaks are around 3 000 m (9 500 ft) above sea level, while you, standing at the bank of the lake are in some 850 m (2 788 ft). And why I’m telling you this? Well, because your brain goes mashed potato in there. It’s not able to process such a huge difference in altitude. I was standing there in awe, speechless. That’s how amazing it is. Check the map at alltrails.com.   

18. Condor Lookout 

  • Difficulty: Easy   
  • Distance: 2.3 km (1.5 mi)   
  • Starting location: close to Camp Lago Pehoe 
  • Parking: there are some parking spots by the side of the road, or scout out around the camp, it’s easy to find a spot to leave your car 
  • Elevation gain: 189 m (620 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 1 hour  


Condor lookout, Torres del Paine
Condor lookout

The Condor Lookout offers magnificent 360° views of Lake Pehoé and the Los Cuernos peaks. It is a bit steep in the beginning, but you don’t get such stunning views for free, am I right? Despite what every guidebook about Patagonia says, we had beautiful sunny weather, so we enjoyed the views to the fullest.   

Moreover, you can see the Southern Patagonia Icefield from there. A huge ice plain that remained from the last Ice Age. We had sunny weather, so we could actually see and hear the rumble of the ice cracking and falling in parts. Now that’s an exciting experience.  

19. Cuernos Lookout 

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Distance: 6.3 km (4 mi)   
  • Starting location: -51.064570, -72.997102 
  • Parking: you can leave your car at the starting point 
  • Elevation gain:  179 m (587 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 2 hours   

Cuernos Lookout, Salto grande, Torres del Paine
Cuernos Lookout

Only a little bit further up the road is the Cuernos Lookout, a truly spectacular hike that offers breathtaking views of the Salto Grande waterfall for almost zero effort. The short trail is almost flat and less frequented than the Condor Lookout, which makes it a great way to spend your time away from the crowds in a marvelous place surrounded by raw natural beauty. 

20. Camp Grey – John Gardner Bridge Trek 

  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Distance: 9.3 km (5.7 mi)  
  • Starting location: Refugio Grey 
  • Parking: park at the Refugio 
  • Elevation gain:  373 m (1 223 ft)   
  • Time: Approximately 3 hours 


Glacier Grey
Glacier Grey

And of course, you can’t miss out on the trek to Glacier Grey. How many times in your life will you get the chance to walk around a massive glacier? This hike is not as hard as some of the others, but I do not recommend this to people that are afraid of heights as there are three suspension bridges on the way. The path is rocky and some parts are pretty steep, so wear proper shoes.  

On this journey, you get to marvel at the raw beauty of Lake Grey with floating chunks of ice from the glacier. If you’re lucky, you can even spot the condors circling above the lake. To get to the Refugio Grey, where the trail starts, you’ll need to book a ferry ride across Grey Lake. 

Operating times:   


Prices:    

  • Round ticket: 80 000 CLP (95 USD | 84 EUR)   
  • One-way ticket: 70 000 CLP (83 USD | 74 EUR)   

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