Chile

5 Incredible Places For Hiking Patagonia with Kids

We went to South Patagonia with our 2 year old and 6 month old. Although we didn’t hike the famous W-trek or O-trek, we found some pretty great Torres Del Paine hikes that you can do with kids if you really want to scratch the itch of hiking Patagonia with kids. So if you happen to be visiting Patagonia with kids, make sure to bring your Ergobaby or Tula carriers, because these Patagonia hiking trails are some of the best hikes we’ve ever done!

Best hikes in Patagonia with Kids

1. The Fauna Trail

This is an easy, flat hike that takes about 1.5 hours one way. There’s no “destination” or “view point” like in most hikes, but you’re guaranteed to see wildlife or your money back! (not really, but I swear there’s lots to see here) We walked right through a herd of guanacos, saw several foxes, lots of condors and, luckily only evidence of, pumas. It was definitely my top contender for hiking Patagonia with kids.

Ganaco and child at Patagonia
Guanaco at Torres Del Paine
Fox and Guanaco in Torres Del Paine
Eagle flying in Patagonia
A Condor flying overhead.

Our toddler was able to walk most of this trail on her own! See details of how to get here at the bottom ¹

On the way here we drove past a crowd of photographers with their telephoto lenses pointing at an animal in the trees. I told Danny to stop to see what the fuss was about, and when we saw the deer, Danny rolled his eyes and told me to get back in the car. We later found out that it was an Andean Deer, one of only 1500 in the world, and a rarer sight to see than a Puma. Lucky us!

Andean Deer in Patagonia
Andean Deer in Patagonia

2. Mirador Salto Grande

Difficulty: easy
Length: 15 minutes
Location: Mirador Salto Grande Parking Lot

This is just a short 15 minute walk from the parking lot to the viewpoint of a waterfall. It’s also very flat and an easy hike for a toddler.

This is probably the highest bang for buck in terms of difficulty to reward ratio. You get to see the full breadth of the waterfall after just a short hike from the parking lot. This is a good hike to tack on at the end of a busy day on your way back to your lodging.

Mirador Salto Grande
Waterfall at Salto Grande

You might also find some guanacos here, but these ones are not guaranteed!

Guanaco at Mirador Salto Grande
Guanaco are common entertainment while hiking Patagonia with kids
Salto Grande Hiking
Salto Grande

3. Mirador Cuernos

Difficulty: easy
Length: 2 hours
Location: Mirador Salto Grande Parking Lot

If you keep walking past the aforementioned waterfall, there’s another beautiful view point that’s about an hour’s worth of hiking.

Mirador Cuernos
Mirador Cuernos

Our girls were tired after the morning hike at this point so we didn’t walk all the way, but the views were still amazing up to the point we got to. If you’re planning on hiking Patagonia with kids this is probably the easiest long hike with the nicest views.

4. Glacier Grey

Distance: depends. If you’re taking two boats: 0!
Starting point: Hotel Lago Grey
Difficulty: not 🙂

Glacier Grey
Glacier Grey

This is an absolute MUST, weather permitting! This Glacier is accessible by a boat via Lago Grey (Grey Lake). I was pretty bummed that we couldn’t do a side trip to Argentina to see Perito Moreno Glacier, but after I found out Grey Glaciar is easily accessible from Torres Del Paine I knew we had to see it. See details at the bottom [1]

Hiking Patagonia often comes with challenges; the wind here can be insanely strong! Sometimes the boats don’t even go out to the glacier due to high winds so you need to check with the boat operator to make sure everything is going as scheduled.

Glacier Grey
Glacier Grey

If you’re lucky, you might even see a rainbow plastered on the face of a mountain. Even the staff ran out on the deck to see this phenomenon.

Rainbow over Grey Glacier
Rainbow over Grey Glacier

The funny part about visiting this section of the world is that you may end up running into the same people over and over again since there’s not a whole lot of tourists that make it out here, and the ones that do, all go on the same hikes. Everyone recognized us from the plane – I guess we stuck out like a sore thumb coming to Patagonia with two littles. But we ended up doing the same activities as everyone else, so I don’t think we missed out by having kids on us!

Boat Ride to Grey Glacier
Grey Glacier Boat Ride

5. Mirador Condor

Length: 1.5 hours
Starting point: GPS coordinates
Difficulty: moderate

This is a slightly more challenging hike, and our girls slept in their Tula and Ergobaby carriers throughout the entire 1.5 hour trek. The hike goes straight up a mountain to a beautiful view point of the two lakes at the bottom. Patagonia hiking can get insanely windy! The top of Mirador Condor was so windy that we only went up for a few photos and then quickly went back down before the wind blew us over.

View from Mirador Condor
Hiking Patagonia with Kids: Mirador Condor
Mirador Condor
Hiking in Patagonia
Hiking Patagonia with Kids
Large boulder at Mirador Condor
Mirador Condor Hiking
Wildlife at Mirador Condor
Not a Condor.

6. Bonus – Hotel Explora Boardwalk

Not so much a hike, but a beautiful and easy viewpoint that you wouldn’t necessarily know about unless you stay at this insanely overpriced hotel.

Boardwalk at Hotel Explora
Boardwalk at Hotel Explora
Boardwalk at Hotel Explora
Hiking Patagonia with Kids

[1] You won’t find this trail on the map if you search for “Fauna trail”, since it just connects two entrances of the park.

This is where you would start the hike. You need to register at the booth to make sure they find your body if you meet a puma 🙂

We hiked about half way and then turned around since there was no one picking us up at the other end. I believe if you do a tour, they will drop you off at one end and pick you up at the other so that you don’t need to walk the same trail back.

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[2] There are a couple ways to visit this glacier:

  1. Hard mode: Hike the 5 day W-Trek
  2. Easy mode: Take a Ferry from Hotel Lago Grey

You can buy same-day tickets for the ferry at the hotel itself, and there are three ferries a day (9am, 12pm and 3pm). However, this ferry doesn’t leave directly from the hotel. You must either hike through Lago Grey for 40 minutes (there’s a hikeable, sandy section of the lake) or take a small 10-minute speedboad to the ferry. If you have kids on you or are a senior, you get this latter option for free, included in your ferry ticket. The speedboad doesn’t offer much cover, and I honestly wasn’t too excited about wearing a lifejacket over the baby carrier, but there was no way we were doing the 40 minute hike in the crazy winds that morning!

The ferry itself had cover and was a very nice catamaran. It has a bar onboard and you get free drink tickets! (We got 4 tickets thanks to the kids)

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10 thoughts on “5 Incredible Places For Hiking Patagonia with Kids

  1. Your photos are absolutely stunning. They make me want to pack up and head down there right now! And I’m in love with your cute baby carrier with the hearts! I tend to think of hiking with my 2 year old as impossible, but now I’m inspired to find toddler-friendly hikes and go for it.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment!! We tried a few carriers and this is the only one she will agree to sit in. I’m sure our toddler-carrying days are numbered, but we’ll try to stretch them as much as we possibly can. Hopefully same for you 🙂 🙂

  2. are those animals just out in the open! Wow! These photos are amazing – i Had never really given much though to this region, but maybe I need to reconsider that!

  3. This is my dream vacation! We used to live in Bogota (currently in Guatemala), but it is crazy expensive to get down there, even starting from South America. We have a 4 y/o and a 17 m/o, and I would be down there in a heartbeat if finances would allow. Thanks for sharing these stunning photos and for making it seem so do-able with littles! Any recs on places to stay with littles? All the hotels I scouted were super expensive, and didn’t seem very family-friendly.

    1. I couldn’t agree more that it’s insanely expensive to visit this part of the world! I think we spent about the same amount of money on 4 nights here than we did on the rest of our month-long trip combined!
      That being said, the place we stayed at (www.rioserrano.com) was extremely family friendly and was one of the ‘cheaper’ places I could find. It was not cheap by any means, but definitely cheapER.
      Rio Serrano is right on the outskirts of TdP so you don’t end up paying the premium of being inside the national park. If you’re looking for an even cheaper option, you could always stay in Puerto Natales and commute (~1.5hrs – 2hrs). It’s a long drive, but I saw some really nice Airbnb’s for 50$/night there and they have grocery stores!

      I think I cover all these options here:
      I cover it here: https://sweetlittlejourney.com/2019/04/08/toddlers-del-paine/

  4. Hi!!!
    I am turning to your blog for help. Thank you for sharing your families adventure. We are traveling to Buenos Aires – Ushuaia – El Calafate – El Chalten (car rental) – Puerto Natales (bus) – TDP (car rental) – Punta Arenas (Bus) – Santiago and back to London in early March.
    I am hoping you could share some info/ advise on the actual packing for the trip. Our baby boy is going to be 2 weeks short of turning 1 year old during our travels in South America. Did you carry your own car seats/ strollers while on your adventure? Did you take a bus journey ? if so, what is their situation with the infant traveling, are they held on lap or do they allow car seat being strapped to the seat? I bought the tickets via BusBud and got a ticket for an infant but they told me to cancel as infant cannot have its own seat. at the same time they weren’t very informative on the options we have.
    also, how prepared where you for any incidents, sickness, etc. i am planning to carry first aid, stuff etc., reference closest hospitals etc. but i read that in a lot of the places connection is bad. any reassurance for me there, please?
    I hope you still receive the comments and will hear from you soon!

    1. Hi Lana!
      Really happy to share our experiences and super excited for you to see Patagonia with your family 🙂
      We did carry two carseats with us (Cosco Serena Next) and used them in our car rentals and on the flights for our oldest. We also brought a double stroller since it was easier to navigate airports with it and all the stuff for two kids. They rarely sat in it, but it was nice to have a place to put the kids down if we were stuck somewhere during nap time and they had to sleep.

      We didn’t take busses while there mostly because I wasn’t sure about the bathroom situation with our very recently potty-trained 2yo, and potentially having to make emergency potty breaks. We ended up just renting a car from Punta Arenas and driving it to TdP and back. It’s really good that you’re bussing to PN, since I’ve heard the paperwork to get a rental car across the border is a bit of a challenge.
      I’m not sure what the bus+carseat situation is – they might not have seatbelts on the bus seats so you may not be able to lock the carseat in. I’m not much help there unfortunately.

      As for incidents. We thankfully didn’t have anything major except for one case of food poisoning for me. I always made sure I knew where the closest clinic or at least pharmacy was. I can’t speak for the Argentinian side, but TdP is pretty remote. The closest hospital is in PN, and when I was having my bout of food poisoning in TdP, they said there’s really no doctors around and that I could either drive to PN or have an ambulance come out. Either option would take an hour. I ended up just waiting it out (and thankfully it was just the food poisoning and nothing more serious), but I think I would be a lot more stressed if it was one of the kids and not me. PN and PA will both have clinics so you should be fine there. English was not great in the smaller towns, so if you don’t speak Spanish just make sure you have Google Translate downloaded so that it can work offline. Reception was fine in PA and PN, but TdP connectivity was sparse. We were on MoviStar, which is a Chilean company, and they supposedly have the best coverage.

      I hope this helps a bit! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      This was the list of stuff we brought with us: https://sweetlittlejourney.com/2019/05/17/what-to-pack-when-traveling-with-babies-for-a-month/

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