No matter whether you are a photographer or a nature lover : sunrises in Patagonia are a daily delight. If you are lucky with the weather, you may see some of the world’s most spectacular mountains painted in red, and colorful clouds over vast landscapes. Epic pictures of sunrises in Torres del Paine contributed to the global fame of Chile’s finest national park.
And for a good reason : Torres del Paine is heaven for sunrise chasers.
(Picture below : Nordenskjöld viewpoint, also an epic spot to watch sunrise).
While you may have to wake up very early in summer - sunrise is at around 5:30am in December - you should be able to capture some of the best shots you could dream of. However, only travelers who know where to go will be able to get those pictures. You may see some stunning sunrises on the trails of the W Trek or the Paine “O” Circuit, but most of these spots are outside these famous trails, so you can take some distance with the Paine mountain range and enjoy some panoramic views.
So, what are the most beautiful places to watch the sunrise in Chile’s Torres del Paine?
1. EcoCamp Patagonia
Looking for the perfect base to explore Torres del Paine? Welcome to EcoCamp, the world’s first geodesic hotel.
And it’s not only a cool place to start your daily hikes, it’s also the perfect spot to spot sunrise. Here, you’ll get a clear view of the Paine towers and the snow capped Almirante Nieto mountain. In the early morning (on a clear day), this otherworldly landscape becomes incredibly colorful. You do not even have to hike to spot that sunrise: grab your camera, get out from your dome and watch the sunrise while listening to the melody of the singing birds. The 360°C view you have at EcoCamp is unbeatable, as you can see the spires painted in red while seeing the sun rising in the horizon.
2. The Towers’ Base viewpoint
The most iconic place in Torres del Paine national park. This 22-km (13mi) demanding hike offers a rewarding view of the three Paine towers with a remarkable lake at their base. It is undoubtedly a postcard most travelers want to have for themselves; however, crowds of hikers are found on that trail in high season.
At EcoCamp, hikers usually start the hike early enough to avoid the crowds. If you choose to go for sunrise, you must go with a certified guide and start hiking in the middle of the night (it roughly takes 4 hours to reach the lake). While you won’t probably be the only one standing in front of the towers, you may witness the most unforgettable sunrise ever.
3. Pehoé lake
Pehoé lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in South America (and maybe in the world). The turquoise blue waters of Pehoé are mostly fed by the Paine river, a stream that rises in the Southern Patagonian ice fields.
The incredible tones of these cold waters mix with the mesmerizing beauty of the mountains in the early morning, and the panoramic view of the Paine massive is simply epic. Whether you stand at the shore of the lake or on a high point (such as the condors’ viewpoint, a 2-hour hike), sunrise here is a must-do if you want to catch it in Patagonia. From the Pehoé lake, you will see part of the towers, Mt. Paine Grande (the highest peak in the park) and los Cuernos: to sum it up, you’ll see some of the world’s most beautiful peaks in one single place.
4. Laguna Azul
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path sunrise spot, Laguna Azul may be the place! This beautiful lagoon located in the eastern side of Torres del Paine offers an incredible view of the Paine towers and is also a cool place for birdwatching. Legendary writer and traveler Lady Florence Dixie first described this place in her 1881 book “across Patagonia”. From the quiet shores of Laguna Azul, you will spot an incredible sunrise without even having to hike. Pure magic!
5. The Paine Waterfall
The Paine waterfall (“Cascada Paine”) may be the most stunning waterfall in Torres del Paine national park. The waterfall itself is incredible, with its unique shape and impressive water flow. However, what makes that place so special is its backdrop, with a clear view of the towers and surrounding mountains. The Paine waterfall can be reached on a 30-minute drive from EcoCamp, so it’s not a place that requires a tough hike. In a thirty-second walk, you may get a sunrise that will last for a lifetime (both in your picture and in your memory).
Want to photograph Patagonia's incredible sunrises? Check out our tours in Torres del Paine national park!