Chile has a variety of landscapes, including glaciers, salt plains, and the driest desert on the planet. Its expanse of land contains numerous forests, lakes, beaches, and volcanoes.
There are a lot of things to do in Chile. That’s why people worldwide come to experience its captivating terrains, thriving art, and delicious wine scene.
I don’t blame adventure seekers for wanting to visit the country all year long!
With more than 200 named trails, ranging from easy to advanced, I know deciding which ones to prioritize can be challenging. Chile offers short, day, and multi-day hikes, making it easy to find a suitable hike for any skill level.
When Is the Best Time to Go to Chile for Hiking?
When planning a hiking trip anywhere in the world, one of the things to watch out for is the weather. Most people agree that early fall is the ideal time to hike in Chile.
Still, there are accessible hikes all year long. Just make sure you check climate conditions before leaving for the trail.
Wear and pack appropriate clothing for the season. Chile is known to have long, hot summers and cool, wet winters.
I’ll also give you the general months for the seasons:
- Fall: March to Mid-April
- Summer: December to February
- Winter: June to August
- Spring: September to November
What Should I Pack for a Hiking Trip to Chile?
Packing is an essential aspect of traveling and hiking. If you’re a beginner, everyone starts somewhere!
No need to get overwhelmed by all the gear people say you need... I’m here to help you navigate the essentials you should pack for a trip. If you want even more support, many hiking apps, like Packpoint, can help you stay on track.
As in most places, the weather in Chile can be fierce and unpredictable, so it’s essential to pack appropriately.
Some things you must take with you:
- Hiking pack
- Hiking boots
- First aid kit
- Base layer/inner layer
- Outer/protective layer
- Hat/sun hat
- Snacks and Water
- Solar power rechargeable battery
Top 6 Rated Hikes in Chile
Hiking in Chile promises the experience of a lifetime. I’ll show you where to enjoy the best hikes in Chile.
6. Cerro San Cristobal
This trail can be found near Santiago, the capital city of Chile. It’s an out-and-back trail that is about 5.5 miles.
It generally takes people 2.5 hours to complete and is considered a relatively easy trail. It’s a popular hike because of its proximity to the city.
Cerro San Cristobal is the second-highest peak in the city and provides gorgeous views of the surrounding area.
You can stop at places like the Japanese Garden, National Zoo, Cumbre Nursery, municipal swimming pools, and picnic areas on the way up.
5. The W Trek
This multi-day hike is located in the Patagonia region of Chile. The route is 46 miles long and typically takes 4 to 5 days.
While the trek can be done on your own, I highly recommend booking a tour or going with a guide. There are hostels and hotels available for overnight stays that are located close to the trail. Still, many people opt to camp or stay in a luxury lodge.
It’s considered a semi-challenging hike, with the trail passing through various terrain and landscapes.
The W Trek is walked east to west, starting at Refugio Las Torres and ending in Refugio Paine Grande. Keep your eyes open for guanacos, foxes, huemul deer, skunks, flamingos, and much more along the way.
4. Grey Glacier
The Grey Glacier hike is a 14-mile out-and-back trail. On average, it takes about 6 hours to complete and is considered a somewhat challenging hike. Technically this trail is part of the W Circut but can be done independently.
The best time to hike this trail is October through March. The hike provides stunning views of the Patagonian mountains, Cerro Paine Grande, and Lake Grey. The path leads you to a viewpoint of the Grey Glacier.
3. Cerro el Llano
Cerro el Llano is another multi-day hike in Chile. It’s a 22.3-mile out-and-back trail, and most people take 3-4 days to complete. It’s a challenging hike because of the high altitude and technical demands.
The peak sits at 17,795 feet and is an excellent trail to train on if you plan to move onto even more challenging hikes.
There’ll be rock scrambles, snow, and ice, so make sure you’re well prepared. I recommend you go with a guide or tour group.
2. Villarrica Volcano
Though this out-and-back trail is only 5 miles, it’s generally considered challenging for most. Guides are required but are easily obtainable.
This trail will take you up an active volcano where you can see the lava flow. It’s one of the few volcanos where lava is visible from its crater.
The trail is usually rocky and icy, so having and wearing the proper gear is essential. There are seasonal closures of this trail during the winter months, and it’s known to get very crowded during the summer months, but it’ll be well worth it at the end of your hike.
1. Rano Kau
Located on the secluded island of Rapa Nui, this trail is just over 6 miles long. It’s a trail that’s considered to be moderately challenging. It takes over 3 hours to complete and offers hikers an unforgettable landscape.
The trail runs along the edge of Easter Island’s largest volcanic crater. There’s also a freshwater lagoon and endless views of the Pacific Ocean.
Chilean Hiking Safety Tips & Tricks
- Always check and re-check the weather before leaving for a hike
- Take a guide or book a tour group
- Pack the appropriate gear for all weather situations
- Don’t hike beyond your skill level, and don’t hike alone
- Learn to use navigation tools
- Stay hydrated
- Learn some basic Spanish
Go Hiking in Chile!
With this information, you’ll be able to experience trekking through Chile, so it’s time to start crafting your ideal travel experience for you, your family, and your friends.