If you’ve ever seen a photograph of Patagonia, chances are it will have been of the three granite towers that give Torres del Paine National Park its name and distinctive skyline.

The day hike to the base of Mirador Las Torres gives an up close and personal view of the towers from various angles, including from the dedicated mirador (viewpoint).

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View of the towers in Torres del Paine National Park

Hiking Mirador Las Torres

Hiking route, distance and difficulty

The hike takes you around, and right up to, the jagged granite towers which loom over an impossibly blue-green glacial pool.

Best hike for: Classic views of the eponymous towers

Distance: 11 miles (17 km)

Duration: Seven to ten hours

Start/end point: Park entrance or Puerto Natales

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

The route

The trail follows the Ascencio River valley, one of the valleys that separate the massif and gives the Park so much of its texture, through native beech forests and across numerous streams.

If you’re lucky you might even catch sight of the Andean condor. Other wildlife includes guanaco (a relative to the alpaca and llama), the bizarre looking rheas, and cougar. You’ll probably need the support of a qualified naturalist guide if you’re serious about wildlife spotting.

In the run-up to the mirador, there is some scrambling through a glacial moraine, after which you reach the Mirador Las Torres to be rewarded by stunning views of the towers with the lake in the foreground.

The towers themselves are named somewhat unimaginatively: North Tower 2,600m (8,530ft), Central Tower 2,800m (9,186ft) and the South Tower 2,850m (9,350ft).

Move over, Chatwin

Patagonia’s most famous explorer, Bruce Chatwin, was beaten by over a century. His predecessor was the pioneering British traveller and war correspondent, Lady Florence Dixie, who is credited as the first foreigner to visit Torres del Paine. In her book, Across Patagonia, which was published in 1880, she called the towers “Cleopatra’s Needles”.


The hike to Mirador las Torres is 17km (11 miles) long and takes between 7 and 10 hours to complete.

It’s a moderate to intense hike. The final part leading up to the viewpoint is exposed and fairly steep and involves some boulder scrambling up rocky moraine.

As with the rest of Patagonia, the weather is extremely changeable and you can expect showers, fog, and bright sunshine, often all in one day. Water, snacks and a packed lunch are essential, as is smart layering so you can adjust your clothing with the weather.

Need to know

The Mirador las Torres hike is one of the most popular trails in the national park and offers an accessible introduction to hiking in Patagonia. It can be completed as a day hike departing from either the park entrance or from Puerto Natales, although you’ll need transport to and from the park.

For more of a challenge, it can also be incorporated into both the W Trek and Full Circuit trek.

About the authors

Mirador Las Torres Hike

Erin Walton

Erin is an Australian writer and translator who has called Chile home for over four years. After travelling through South America from Santa Marta to Ushuaia as an independent traveller, she moved back to Chile where she remains drawn to its always-varying landscapes. She writes for companies working in travel and tourism.

Mirador Las Torres Hike

Marcela Torres

Born in Santiago, Chile, Marcela is a journalist and local expert on outdoor travel. She’s earned a master's degree in tourism with an emphasis on ecotourism, operated a tour company, and co-authored a Spanish-language guidebook about Chile’s national parks. Her travel career has taken her all over South America, and she has also lived in Australia, Costa Rica, and the United States. Follow her coverage of tourism in Chile at

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