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Chile, Torres del Paine | © 
melenama
Chile, Torres del Paine | © melenama
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The 11 Most Spectacular Hiking Trails in Chile

Picture of Elizabeth Trovall
Updated: 16 March 2017
From Patagonia’s stunning blue mountains and massive glaciers, to the Atacama Desert’s unique moon-like formations, Chile’s distinct geography and wildlife can be fully appreciated on the country’s hiking trails. Whether you’re seeking waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain views or a trek close to the city, Chile’s diverse hiking trails have something to offer every type of adventurer.

The “W”, Torres del Paine National Park

International trekkers fly in from all over the world for this spectacular hike in Chilean Patagonia, which typically takes four to five days to complete. The W Circuit of Torres del Paine National Park is an easier feat than the full trail, but still demands long days of fairly strenuous hiking. Views of the “torres,” the unique granite mountain peaks in the park, are part of what make this such an attractive destination. Torres del Paine National Park attracts around 150,000 visitors each year.

The W Trail Early in the Morning © Geoff Livingston
The “W” trail, Torres del Paine National Park, early in the morning | © Geoff Livingston

Full circuit, Torres del Paine National Park

See even more of Torres del Paine National Park’s lakes, mountains, hills and glaciers on the Torres full circuit hike. Also known as the “O,” this hike lasts eight days and is less common than the W trail.

grey/blue 2 © Kerry O'Connor
The “O,” or full trail of the Torres del Paine National Park is very challenging | © Kerry O'Connor

Grey Glacier, Torres del Paine National Park

Who doesn’t want to hike a glacier at least once in their life? This wonderfully-unique experience is another breathtaking hike for anyone visiting Patagonia. The Grey Glacier hike, also in Torres del Paine National Park, can be booked through the adventure tour provider Bigfoot Patagonia.

Glacier Grey, Torres del Plaine National Park, Patagonia | © Gonzalo Baeza/Flickr
Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia | © Gonzalo Baeza/Flickr

Embalse El Yeso, Cajon del Maipo

This remarkable and serene spot outside Santiago will make you feel miles from the city. The bright blue El Yeso Reservoir is a sight to see on its own, surrounded by the towering Andes mountains. Several valley hikes starting at the embalse offer fun, uphill terrains to explore and trek without much other foot traffic.

Glacier El Morado, Cajón del Maipo

The Glacier Morado hike in Cajón del Maipo is one of the best hikes close to Santiago, offering gorgeous valley views and an up-close look at Glacier El Morado. The hike up through the Andes isn’t too strenuous and shouldn’t take more than four hours to complete. While you’re there, check out the hot springs located near the trail head once your trek is over.

Glacier Morado Hike courtesy of Elizabeth Trovall
Glacier Morado Hike | © Elizabeth Trovall

Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago

This city hike is an essential climb for even the most casual of trekkers. The short dirt path up the Cerro San Cristobal is well worth the spectacular view of Santiago. When you make it to the top, catch your breath on the steps by “la virgen,” Santiago’s iconic statue overlooking the city.

Radal Siete Tazas National Park, Curicó Province

Check out this national park’s waterfalls and corresponding cup-like rock formations, or “tazas.” Offering a number of different trails, overnight camping and stunning mountain-top views, there’s many noteworthy Chilean hikes within this park alone.

Cerro el Llano, Valle de Elqui

The Elqui Valley draws in a number of travelers, nature-lovers, free spirits and trekkers each year due to its mystic nature, gorgeous valley views and clear, curious skies. Though there’s much to explore in this picturesque valley, little compares to the views from the Cerro el Llano hike. Find the trail head in the laid-back, hippie town of Pisco Elqui.

Villarrica Volcano, Pucón

It’s not every day you get the chance to climb up an active volcano. In fact, the Villarrica Volcano near Pucón is one of Chile’s most active. When it isn’t spitting up smoke and lava, Volcán Villarrica makes a spectacular hike, offering a beautiful view of the nearby lake. Besides a hike up the volcano, adventure travelers can indulge in the many outdoor activities Pucón has to offer, like kayaking, whitewater rafting, taking a dip in the nearby hot springs or renting a bike and exploring the town’s many hiking routes and cycle paths.

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Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama

Located eight miles west of San Pedro de Atacama, the Valle de la Luna is one of Chile’s most exquisite natural attractions. Hiking this gorgeous valley feels like a trip to another planet. In fact, the valley’s moon-like topography, including unique sand and stone formations, inspired the valley’s name, “Valle de la Luna,” or “Moon Valley.”

Valle de la Luna © Nico Kaiser
Valle de la Luna | © Nico Kaiser

Kari Gorge, San Pedro de Atacama

The Kari Gorge hike is another one of the Atacama’s leading outdoor attractions. The unique terrain of this hike is what makes the Kari Gorge trek special. Passing through sandy dunes, red cliffs and a winding, desolate gorge, this hike feels otherworldly.

Kari Gorge, Atacama Desert, Chile | © Chiyacat/Flickr
Kari Gorge, Atacama Desert, Chile | © Chiyacat/Flickr