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Best Hiking Trails in Chile

Overview

Chile is a long, skinny country forming much of the western backbone of South America and is all mountainous with the Andes providing endless hiking opportunities.  From the Atacama Desert in the north of the country to the glaciers of Patagonia, there are plenty of trails to explore. Some of the popular hikes include the ‘W’ and ‘O’ treks in the Patagonia region, volcanoes around Santiago, El Morado Glacier trek, Valle de la Luna, and Dientes Circuit. The best months to hike in Chile vary depending on the region; read on for more information on when and where to go hiking in Chile. 

Capital: Santiago

When To Hike in Chile?

Year Round: For the northern part of the country, in the desert regions, year round is fine (although summer months can be cold) but for the southern part of the country, October – April are the best months
Varies:
May – September: Southern hemisphere’s winter

Climate: Due to the length of this country (4,300 km long), the climates range widely and include tropical, cold desert climate, Mediterranean. 

 

Chile Monthly Weather

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy – Medium: There are lots of established trails close to urban areas or in national parks that are easily accessible but in many places, you should have a guide. 

Transportation required: Public transit to some trailheads, car needed for others

Where to stay in Chile for hiking:

  • San Pedro
  • Pucón
  • Santiago
  • Baños Morales
  • San Alfonso
  • San Gabriel
  • Puerto Natales
  • Cochamo

Most popular hikes in Chile

There are places to hike throughout this country. The most well known areas for hiking are: the Patagonia region in the very south which includes the famous Torres Del Paine National Park; the Lakes District, known as the Swiss Alps of South America, has some of the most beautiful landscapes in Chile with its stunning lakes nestled amongst peaks; around Santiago, which is surrounded by mountains (easily accessed) and has the Maipo and Mapocho valleys with numerous hiking trails; and the vast Atacama desert, deemed the driest place on earth, and its many peaks to explore. There are 36 national parks, plus provincial parks, national reserves, and private reserves.. Where possible, links to the CONAF site have been included but not always helpful in terms of trail information. Highest Mountain: Ojos del Salado (6,893 m).

Filter out hiking places of Chile by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Isla Navarino

  • Oct – Apr
  • Island on the southernmost tip of continent
  • Dientes de Navarino – remote peaks with hiking trails

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine

Parque Nacional Patagonia

Parque Nacional Cerro Castillo

Parque Nacional Isla Magdalena

Parque Nacional Queulat

  • Dec – Mar
  • Parque Nacional Queulat
  • Big attraction is the Hanging Glacier (Ventisquero Colgante)
  • Quite rainy here year round

Reserva Nacional Lago Rosselot

  • Oct – Apr

Parque Nacional Pumalín Douglas Tompkins

Parque Nacional Hornopirén

Easter Island

Isla Robinson Crusoe

Parque Nacional Alerce Andino

  • Dec – Mar
  • Lakes District park that has hiking trails; Parque Nacional Alerce Andino 
  • Close to Puerto Montt 
  • Open year round but December – March best months (least rain)

Around Cochamó

  • Dec – Mar
  • Good base to access a lot of beautiful hiking

Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales

  • Dec – Mar
  • Oldest national park in Chile and popular, set amongst the Lakes District
  • Three volcanoes and beautiful lakes

Parque Nacional Puyehue

  • Dec – Mar
  • Popular place for hot baths
  • Volcán Puyehue

Parque Nacional Huerquehue

  • Oct – Apr
  • Offers great hiking accessible from Pucón and is very popular for day hikes

Parque Nacional Villarica

  • Oct – Apr
  • One of the most popular resorts in this area, considered an adventure sports capital of Chile
  • Pucón is the town  for this park 

Parque Nacional Conguillío

  • Oct – Apr
  • Popular national park with hiking trails; could be difficult to get to
  • Home to Volcán Llaima
  • Reserva Nacional China Muerta is right next to the park

Parque Nacional Tolhuaca

  • Oct – Apr
  • Large national park with hiking trails here

Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta

  • Oct – Apr
  • Coastal national park with hiking trails 

Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja

  • Dec – Apr
  • Large, popular national park with hiking trails
  • Volcan Antuco

Resesrva Nacional Los Bellotos

Reserva Nacional Altos del Lircay

Parque Nacional Radal-Siete Tazas

  • Oct – Apr
  • The Siete Tazas (Seven Cups, a series of rock pools) are a highlight of this park; hiking trails here
  • Radal Siete Tazas

Santuario de la Naturaleza Alto Huemel

Reserva Nacional Rio de los Cipreses

  • Oct – Apr

Reserva Nacional Robleria Cobre de Loncha

  • Oct – Apr
  • Hiking trails here but can be difficult to get to

Parque Nacional La Campana

  • Oct – Apr
  • Popular national park west of Santiago in the Coastal Range mountains (a chain of mountains that run west of the city and east of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, parallel to the Andean cordillera and reaches over 2200 m); Parque Nacional La Campana 
  • Good for not too high altitude hikes 
  • Cerro Roble (2204 m)
  • Cerro Punta Imán
  • Cerro La Campana

  

Maipo Valley

  • Oct – Apr
  • San José de Maipo is the main town in the Maipo Valley (there are two of them so it’s a little confusing), from where you can access hiking
  • Cajón del Maipo (Maipo Canyon) – Cajon del Maipo
  • Monumento Natural el Morado – El Morado Natural Monument 
  • El Morado Hanging Glacier 
  • Towns of Baños Morales, San Alfonso and San Gabriel make good bases to further explore 
  • Reserva Nacional Río Clarillo – Parque Nacional Rio Clarillo
  • Reserva Nacional Robleria Cobre de Loncha

Santiago

  • Oct – Apr
  • Capital city surrounded by mountains; some of the ones that can be accessed right from the city include:
  • Cerro Manquehue (1638 m), various routes up this mountain
  • Cerro Pochoco (1805 m)
  • Cerro Alvarado
  • Cerro Carbón
  • Parque Aguas de Don Ramón
  • Parque Mahuida – https://www.parquemahuida.cl/senderos/
  • Parque Cordillera San Carlos de Apoquindo
  • Parque Natural Quebrada de Macul

Mapocho Valley

  • Oct – Apr
  • Valley that runs northeast from Santiago; many areas to hike here
  • Parque Natural Puente Ñilhue 
  • Parque Cordillera Yerba Loca       
  • Las Águilas – hiking area    
  • Other mountains that can be accessed

Reserva Nacional Río Blanco

  • Oct – Apr

Reserva Nacional Las Chinchillas

  • Year round

Parque Nacional Bosque Fray Jorge

  • Year round
  • Lower altitude mountains; a little rainforest amidst the desert

Reserva Natural Los Huascoaltinos

  • Oct – Apr

Parque Nacional Nevado Tres Cruces

Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

  • Year round
  • This NP is next to the coast, there are some hiking trails here

Parque Nacional Llullaillaco

  • Year round
  • Treks organized to go up this volcano and around

Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos

  • Year round
  • San Pedro de Atacama is the main town in this area where people base themselves for adventure activities
  • There are places to hike outside of the reserva, that can be arranged through tour companies, such as Volcán Licancábur (5916 m)

Reserva Nacional La Chimba

  • Year round
  • Coastal desert with hiking trails

Reserva Nacional Alto Loa

  • Year round
  • Hiking trails here, need a guide
  • Developing as an alternative to San Pedro de Atacama

Parque Nacional Volcán Isluga

  • Apr – Nov
  • Huge national park that is far from major urban centres; unclear if there are any hiking trails but there are tours that go here

Parque Nacional Lauca

  • Apr – Nov
  • Park sits at a very high altitude (from 3000m above sea level)
  • Can hike volcanoes such as Parinacota and Pomerape (on border with Bolivia)
  • Visit Lake Chungará and hot springs; Putre good base 
  • Parque Nacional Lauca

Long Distance Trails of Chile

There are many multi-day treks.  This is just a small sample:

  • ‘W’ and ‘O’ treks in Torres Del Paine National Park; very well known – W and O Treks in Torres del Paine
  • Greater Patagonia Trail – informal trail, 3000 km long, created by an NGO
  • Route of Parks – an initiative that connects 17 protected reserves and combines three trails together (the Southern Way, the Patagonia Channels Trail and the End of the World Route) – https://www.rutadelosparques.org/ 
  • Sendero de Chile: www.senderodechile.clThe government of Chile has been busy building a trail from top to tail of this long country
  • Dientes Circuit – five day trek is the southernmost trek in Chile – Dientes Circuit

Chile's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Chile Hiking Books:

  • Trekking Torres Del Paine, Patagonia’s premier national parks in Chile and Argentina including Cerro Torre and Fitzroy areas, by Rudolf Abraham, 2024, Cicerone Guide – https://amzn.to/3PYAV8n
  • Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, hiking mapsl, by Oleg Senkov, 2023, Independently published – https://amzn.to/4cPbSP3
  • Trekking in Patagonian Andes (32 Great treks), by Carolyn McCarthy, 2009, Lonely Planet Publications – https://amzn.to/4aOIK8N
  • Trekking and Mountaineering Aconcagua and the Southern Andes: Horcones and Vacas Valley ascent routes by Jim Ryan, 2018, Cicerone Guide – https://amzn.to/49vfhzB
  • Chile: The Carretera Austral: a guide to one of the world’s most scenic trips, by Hugh Sinclair & Warren Houlbrooke, 2023, Bradt Travel Guide (has info on hiking) – https://amzn.to/4aJHWTb
  • Moon Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands), by Wayne Bernhardson, 2017, Moon Guides – https://amzn.to/49F8bsA
  • Lonely Planet Chile and Easter Island, 11th Edition, by Carolyn McCarthy, 2018, Lonely Planet Publications – https://amzn.to/3VWl0eC
  • Fodor’s Essential Chile, by Fodor’s Travel Guide, 2022, Fodor’s – https://amzn.to/3vLpPgg
  • Lonely Planet South America, by Lonely Planet, 2022, Lonely Planet – https://amzn.to/3PTMkq4

 

Chile Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Chile:

There are so many spectacular hikes in this long, diverse country that it is impossible to choose a simple list of best hikes, but here is a small sample. You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, official park websites, trail maps/apps, other websites, and tourist offices:

  • W Trek – Patagonia
  • O Circuit – Patagonia
  • Dientes Circuit – Isla Navarino
  • Cochamo Valley Trek
  • Valle de la Luna – Atacama Desert
  • Cerro Castillo Circuit – Cerro Castillo National Park
  • Villarica Volcano – Villarica National Park
  • El Morado Glacier Trek – Cajon del Maipo
  • Volcan Osorno – Vincent Perez Rosales National Park
  • Volcan Llaima – Conguillo National Park
  • Volcan Antuco – Laguna del Laja National Park
  • Cerro Roble – La Campana National Park
  • Cerro Manquehue – Santiago
  • Tres Lagos – Huerquehue National Park

Easy Hiking Trails in Chile:

  • Siete Tazas – Radal-Siete Tazas National Park
  • Cerro San Cristobal – Santiago
  • Hanging Glacier Trail – Queulat National Park

 

Chile Hiking Tours:

 

Chile Hiking Websites: There are lots of travel blogs related to hiking in Chile

 

Chile Weather Website: 

 

Chile Official Tourism Site:  

 

Chile Hiking Apps: 

 

Chile Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Visit Chile’s wine regions (Central Valley)
  • Mapuche culture
  • Hot springs

Other Important Points

  • Altitude; beware of ‘vomi-tours’ where you get taken up to higher altitude and back down in one day, you need to acclimate in lower level towns before ascending
  • Many (or some) of Chile’s largest national parks, such as Parque Nacional Bernardo O’Higgins and Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini are inaccessible to visitors
  • Santiago sits in a valley surrounded by mountains therefore smog gets trapped in the city and that is one of the things Santiago is known for
  • Bruce Chatwin’s ‘In Patagonia’ is a hugely popular read about the region
  • In certain months, the tábanos (horseflies) can be really irritating