Patagonia Day Hike: Mirador Las Torres, Torres del Paine, Chile
If there is one hike you must do in Torres del Paine in Patagonia, it is the Mirador Las Torres hike. This Patagonia hiking guide shows you how to hike Mirador Las Torres.
When you Google Search “Patagonia”, the images that will come up the most often is that of Las Torres, located in Torres del Paine, Chile. Mirador Las Torres is THE ionic hike in all of Chile and Chilean Patagonia. A trip to Patagonia is not complete without doing the Mirador Las Torres hike along the W Trek.
Overview of Torres del Paine
The word “Mirador” means “view” in Spanish and “Las Torres” mean “towers” in Spanish. This hike is to the base of Las Torres so you have a great view of the lake and the mountains. For those who are not familiar with Patagonia, it is a region that spans over both Chile and Argentina. Most people who visit the Chilean Patagonia will be visiting Torres del Paine.
Those who trek in Torres del Paine will either do the entire W trek (5 days) or the O trek or a combination of Patagonia tours and day hikes. Since we were short on time, we didn’t do the entire W trek, instead we did a 9 hour day hike to Mirador Las Torres in Torres del Paine in Chile.
If you have more time in Patagonia, you should definitely do the W trek in Torres del Paine as well as some day hikes in El Chalten, Patagonia Argentina. For a sample itinerary to see both sides of Patagonia, check out my post of 10 Day Patagonia Itinerary.
This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The commission I receive helps me to pay for the cost of running and maintaining this blog. Thank you for supporting my blog.
Where to Stay in Patagonia (Patagonia Chile Side)
There are a variety of options when it comes to accommodation near Torres del Paine.
For those on a budget: there are many refugios (hostels) and camp sites in Torres del Paine. There are a couple of Refugios right outside of the trail head called Refugio Las Torres and Refugio Torres Central.
Even though you have to share rooms in a refugio, it’s not necessarily that cheap (compare to the rest of the world). Spaces are limited and food need to be imported in, so you will still end up spending quite a bit staying in refugios. The cheapest would be camping where you bring your camping equipment and food and stove (no open fire) to Torres del Paine.
For those who are willing to splurge to stay literally right next to the trail head, Hotel Las Torres may be the one for you (350+ USD per night) but it’s situated in an amazing location and the hotel offers many Patagonia tours within Torres del Paine.
For those who are willing to stay further, you can consider hotels and hostels in the town of Puerto Natales, about 2 hours drive from Torres Del Paine. There are daily buses you can take to Torres del Paine, or you can rent a car yourself or take a group tour.
The advantage of staying in Puerto Natales is that there is a super market and a lot of restaurants; there are also cheaper accommodations compare to staying in Torres del Paine. We stayed at Hotel Vendaval, which was well located and brand new!
How To Get To Mirador Las Torres Trail
As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to get to Mirador Las Torres day hike in Torres del Paine even if you are not staying in the park.
Bus in Patagonia
Assuming you are staying in Puerto Natales, there are 2 daily buses on Bus Sur going to Torres Del Paine from Puerto Natales, one at 7:00am and another at 11:30am. The bus stops in 2 places in Torres Del Paine, one is Laguna Amarga (arrives after 1.5 hours) and the other stop is Pudeto (where the catamaran is, arrives after 2 hours).
If you are hiking Mirador Las Torres, then you should get off at Laguna Amarga then take a shuttle on the trail head. The timing could be tricky so if you are thinking about doing this, definitely check with Hotel Las Torres on their shuttles to see which bus you should take.
There are also 2 buses coming back from Torres Del Paine to Puerto Natales on Bus Sur. From Pudeto 12:30 / 18:30 h. From Laguna Amarga: 13:30 / 19:00 h.
There are other bus companies that provide the same service, namely Bus Maria Jose, which stops at Laguna Amarga, Pudeto, and the administration office.
Rental Car in Patagonia
If you don’t like the hassle of trying to catch a bus or worry about missing your bus, then renting a car in Puerto Natales could be a good option.
Rental cars generally cost about 100 USD a day and you have to fill up the tank upon returning, but it provides you with the flexibility of spending a little more time in the park. I used Rent a Car Newen and did not have any issues. There are several other ones in town and you can find them on Tripadvisor as well.
Tours and Private Transfer in Patagonia
We didn’t want to drive 2 hours to Torres Del Paine then drive 2 hours back after an 8 hour hike so we decided to book a private transfer from Todo Ushuaia for USD 300 a day. There are also hiking tours with guides if you are interested in that. It’s much more expensive than taking the bus but you will be well taken care of.
Torres del Paine Day Hike: Mirador Las Torres
Length: 18km (11.2 miles) round trip, 8-9 hours
Elevation gain: 3000 ft
Mirador Las Torres Hike Part 1: 75% Uphill, 25% Downhill
Start off the Mirador Las Torres hike nice and easy across the grassy fields of Hotel Las Torres. You will see signs pointing to Mirador Las Torres. There are a couple of hanging bridges that allow 1-2 person[s] to cross at one time.
After about 1km you start to go uphill. For about 40 minutes to 1 hour the uphill is gradual and wide. Looking back you can start to see the lakes near by and the entire landscape in Torres Del Paine.
Continue uphill for a bit and the path will start to narrow and you will be going up and down a steep slope next to an exposed cliff. Take care when hiking here because it tends to be the windiest part of the hike. Slopes are getting steeper here but you start to go downhill until you come to Refugio Chileno, surrounded by a forest. Take a bathroom break here as the next Refugio will be another hour or two away.
Mirdaor Las Torres Hike Part 2: Stroll In The Forest in Torres del Paine
Once you hit Refugio Chileno on the Mirador Las Torres trek, you start the easiest part of the hike. Walking in the forest is flat and calming, and also shields you from the hurricane speed wind and harsh sun. You will hike next to streams and crossing rivers on hanging bridges. For the most part there is no elevation gain although there are some small up and down along the way. Overall this is the easiest and most relaxing part of the hike.
Mirador Las Torres Hike Part 3: Steep Uphill Battle
After about 1.5 hour in the forest of your Mirador Las Torres trail, you will come across another camp site with bathrooms to use. Literally at the end of the forest, you will see the sign that points to the left for “Mirador Las Torres: 45 minutes”. This is the start of the long and steep uphill path to the view point at the base of Las Torres.
Everyone had warned us about this steep uphill but honestly it wasn’t that terrible until the last 15 minutes. You start off on a path full of large rocks but the last 15 minutes were steep incline with loose gravels and no covers.
It wasn’t too windy when we were hiking this part but in general this would be a very windy part since it’s completely exposed. Just when you feel like you can’t hike anymore, turn the corner and you will be amazed by the view in front of your eyes.
Even if you seen photos of Las Torres in Torres del Paine, seeing them in person was another story. I was surprised at just how big they were! Not bring my wide angle lens was the biggest mistake I made in Patagonia! This view is probably the best in Patagonia so be sure to spend some time here while eating your packed lunch.
After lunch it’s time to go back down same way. I thought going back would be faster and easier but that was not the case. The weather during the Mirador Las Torres hike started getting much windier in the afternoon and we actually got knocked down to the ground near the cliff! It was quite a scary experience and being back in the parking lot never felt so good.
Overall Mirador Las Torres hike was a very long hike with different landscape and extraordinary view at the base of the Torres. Would I do it again? Probably not! The uphill and the strong gusts of wind in Patagonia can definitely be tiring.
But it’s much shorter if you are doing the W Trek because you don’t have to hike all the way down. It’s one of the best day hikes in Torres del Paine despite the rough weather and you will definitely enjoy the view.
Everything You Need to Know to Travel to Patagonia
Where is Patagonia? Patagonia is located in South America. Patagonia is a region in the southern part of Chile and Argentina. It’s about a 3 hour flight from Chile or Buenos Aires. Patagonia Chile is known for Torres del Paine and Patagonia Argentina is known for the Perito Moreno Glacier as well as hiking near El Chalten (Mt Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, etc)
When is the best time to travel to Patagonia? The best time to visit Patagonia is December to March (summer in the Southern Hemisphere). The weather is warmer and trails are dry. It’s much windier in the summer time in Patagonia than the winter time however. Patagonia weather in November is probably the windiest time of the year and it can rain/snow all in the same day.
How Much Time Do I need For Patagonia? It really depends on how much time you have and what you want to see in Patagonia. Patagonia is a big region covering both Chile and Argentina. In Patagonia Chile alone you can spend as little as 3 days and as much as weeks and the same for Patagonia Argentina.
My 10 day Patagonia itinerary covers some of the highlights of Patagonia but you can always stay for much longer to see everything else. If you plan to do the W trek in Torres del Paine, then you will need a minimum of 4-5 days in Patagonia Chile.
Can I go to Patagonia in the winter (June – August?) You can definitely visit Patagonia in the winter in southern hemisphere, however, you will need a guide to do the hikes because snow will have covered the hiking trails. The snow will also make it harder to hike to many places so plan accordingly.
What’s the weather like in Patagonia? Weather in Patagonia is extremely unpredictable. Due to its location, it can be extremely windy especially in early summer (end of November/early December) and the temperature is high 70 and low 40s.
To give you an example, when I went to Patagonia the end of November, I had to wear 1 sweat shirt and 1 sports jacket during the hike. Of course it gets warm during the hikes in Patagonia but you should have enough layers so you won’t be cold. You may also experience all four seasons in one day (sun, rain, hail, snow, wind, etc.
The wind speed in Patagonia can be as much as 80 mile per hour, it is not safe to hike during those times. The catamaran also gets shut down when it’s that windy. If the windy speed is 30-40mph you can still try to hike, but use caution as the gusts can be quite sudden and powerful and can knock you down to the ground.
What is a good website for Patagonia Weather Forecast? We used mountain-forecast.com for all the forecast and it was great.
Torres del Paine: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Paine-Grande/forecasts/500
The website tells you wind speed by the hour so you can see if you should go hike on a certain day.
What to see in Patagonia without hiking? Is Patagonia worth going without hiking? You don’t need to hike to enjoy the beauty of Patagonia and I highly recommend adding some non-hiking days to your Patagonia itinerary.
There are plenty of activities you can do in Patagonia without hiking. In Torres del Paine you can rent a car and drive around the park and walk to see waterfalls and Lago Gray. In El Calafate Argentina, you can take a boat to get close to the Perito Moreno Glacier to go to the observation deck to see the glacier up close.
Many luxury hotels in Patagonia also offer full day tours to certain view points or to places where you can just walk and enjoy the scenery with no hiking required.
How much money should I budget for Patagonia? Patagonia can be done cheaply or extremely expensively, depending on your budget and travel style.
If you want to do a budget travel trip to Patagonia then plan to camp and cook your own food, It would be $5-$20 a night for Patagonia budget trips; private rooms in guest houses can be between $20-$60 and hotels can range from $200 – $500 a night.
Similarly if you want to take buses around, it will be pretty cheap but renting a car can cost about 100 USD a day or taking a private tour can cost between $150 – $200 a person a day.
Is Patagonia Safe for Solo Travel? Since Patagonia is so remote, people are mostly locals who work in the tourism industry or tourists/backpackers. I felt pretty safe in Patagonia so if you don’t mind hiking alone, then you can totally solo trip it.
The most danger you will experience is probably getting lost or fall although the trails are very well marked so I’m not sure how anyone can get lost. Hikers on the trail are also very friendly and encouraging, so it’s pretty nice for solo travel. There are also many refugios (hostels) on the hiking trails in Patagonia so you can always make new friends hiking Patagonia.
How to get to Patagonia? There are 2 airports in Patagonia you can fly into. If you want to visit Patagonia Chile first, then fly through Santiago to Punta Arenas. If you want to visit Patagonia Argentina first, then fly through Buenos Aires to El Calafate.
How to get around Patagonia? There are bus companies that have affordable bus rides among different popular towns such as Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine in Chile and buses from El Calafate to El Chalen in Argentina (among other routes, read my post below). To see how to get from El Calafate to El Chalten, read this post.
What Camera lens should I bring to Patagonia? I highly recommend bringing both zoom lens as well as a wide angle lens to Patagonia. I didn’t bring a wide angle lens and it was difficult to take photos at Mirador Las Torres (Torres del Paine) and the Fitz Roy (Argentina) because the mountains were so big.
Iphones are generally pretty wide angle but if you plan to use a camera with interchangeable lens, then I highly recommend a ultra wide angle lens for your Patagonia trip.
Can I use credit cards in Patagonia? Many restaurants and hotels in Patagonia accept credit cards. However, I would recommend getting cash from ATMs/Cash Machines at the airports if possible because not all places accept cash. There is no ATM in Torres del Paine or El Chalten, so plan accordingly.
Can I use drones in Patagonia? From what I read, Chile requires a permit to fly drones and the process is quite long. Also, it may not be a good idea to fly a drone in Patagonia since it’s very windy and the wind speed is between 20mph to 80mph depending on the season and the day. Your drone will probably crash in such turbulent weather. In Patagonia Argentina there are specific signs saying no drones are allowed, so please don’t be a jerk and disturb the peace and quietness for other hikers. Nobody wants to have a drone in their photo when they’ve hiked hours for the view!
If you are interested in planning out a 10 day Patagonia itinerary, be sure to check out my detailed post on a 10 day Patagonia itinerary.
Like this post? Pin it!