Torres del Paine National Park is a huge area of 227.298 hectares.
Most people cross the entire planet to see the three granite spires that gave the national park its name. But there’s a lot more to see in Chile’s most stunning national park, and you’d be wrong just to focus on one place!
We picked up our favorite viewpoints in the park. Some are located in remote locations that are part of the W Trek and the Torres del Paine “O” Circuit”, whereas others are next to the main road of the park and do not require any effort to be reached. For that reason, for each spot we included the minimum walking time that is required.
Ready to see Torres del Paine’s most picturesque spots?
1. The British Viewpoint
Min. hiking time : 9 hours
The British viewpoint is the hidden gem of the French Valley, one of the highlights of the W Trek and known as the heart of Torres del Paine. Not everyone who does the W Trek reaches that spot, as it means a long full day hiking. “Mirador Britanico” is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Torres del Paine, as it offers a spectacular 360° panoramic view of the French Valley, with a good view of the Pehoe lake, los Cuernos, Mt. Paine Grande and plenty of other granite spires you can’t see from other places.
Roughly 9 hours are necessary to do the full hike from the Paine Grande or Los Cuernos refuge. The biggest part of the hike is relatively easy; however, the portion between the beginning of the French Valley and the British viewpoint is a bit steep, which is why we recommend this viewpoint to experienced hikers only.
2. Nordenskjöld Viewpoint
Min. hiking time : 0 hours
The Nordenskjöld viewpoint is a must-see for travelers who drive through the main road of the park. It is located next to the road (roughly 45 minutes away from the Laguna Amarga entrance towards the west) and offers a spectacular view of the Nordenskjöld lake, with Mt. Almirante Nieto, los Cuernos and Mt. Paine Grande as a backdrop.
3. Grey Lake Peninsula
Min. hiking time : 1:30 hour
While most travelers who head to Grey lake are interested in the 3-hour navigation to sail to the impressive Grey glacier, there is a good alternative to contemplate the blue icebergs and the grey waters of the Grey lake. Park your car near the Grey lake cafeteria, at the start of the trail to take the boat. Then, it’s a 45-minute hike to reach the peninsula located next to the pier. Here, you will do an easy walk to reach a viewpoint that offers a fantastic view of Mt. Paine Grande, los Cuernos and the Grey glacier in the distance. If you’re lucky, you may spot some huge icebergs, which is more common in the warmest months of the year (November to February).
4. Sarmiento Lake
Min. hiking time : 0 hour
This viewpoint is an exception as it is located outside the borders of Torres del Paine national park. However, this is a compulsory stopover for all travelers entering the park through Laguna Amarga, as this viewpoint that is nicely designed is located next to the road. It offers the best view of the Sarmiento Lake, the biggest lake in Torres del Paine national park. From here, you can also see the towers, parts of los Cuernos and Mt. Paine Grande and even a glimpse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields in the distance.
5. Cerro Paine
Min. hiking time : 6 hours
Cerro Paine is an epic alternative to the most popular hike in Torres del Paine National Park, the towers’ base. It is a steep hike that starts near EcoCamp that offers plenty of views of the plains, lakes, rivers and mountains of the park. Cerro Paine is a 1550 meters / 5080 ft. mountain and you need some previous hiking experience to conquer its summit (total hiking time is about 8 hours). A guide is highly recommended, as the terrain is exposed to the wind and the trail is not always well-marked. But if you make it to any of the (many) viewpoints, you will get some of the best views in the park.
6. Toro Lake Viewpoin
Min. hiking time : 3 hours
The Toro lake is the biggest lake in the region and while most of it is located outside the borders of Torres del Paine national park, the best viewpoints are inside the park. A beautiful 5 to 6-hour hike called “Lazo-Weber” (included in our Wildlife Safari program) includes this viewpoint and many other beautiful spots in the forest. However, this hike - though by far the most recommended way to reach the Toro lake viewpoint - involves some logistics and if you don’t have a guided program, the alternative is to reach it on a round-trip hike from the Weber area, near the Paine river. From there, the trail is very steep so hiking poles are highly recommended.
The Toro lake viewpoint offers an incredible view of the Torres del Paine massive and the blue waters of the Paine rivers that flow into the Toro lake. It truly looks like a painting.
7. John Gardner Pass
Min. hiking time : 10 hours
The John Gardner Pass offers one of the most striking views of the Torres del Paine “O” Circuit. You can only access the pass if you do this one-week trek, so this spot is for the most experienced hikers only. At 1200 meters above sea level, it also has the highest elevation of the trail and the most infamous weather conditions, with changing weather conditions and plenty of wind. But if you’re courageous enough, you’ll get the most epic view of the southern Patagonian ice field. A nice spot to understand how small humans truly are.
8. The Towers’ Base
Min. hiking time : 8 hours
If you’ve heard about Torres del Paine, it’s impossible you’ve missed pictures of the most famous place in the park, the towers’ base viewpoint. The lake at the base of the towers can be reached on a 8-hour hike (round-trip) that is part of the W Trek. In the high season (November to February) hundreds of hikers do that hike every day, so you’d better go for an early start to avoid (part of) the crowds.
The whole hike is beautiful, with a nice walk through the Ascencio valley and the lush green nothofagus forest. The viewpoint itself offers the most photogenic view of the granite towers of Torres del Paine, with the beautiful lake in the forefront and the three towers in “High Definition”.
9. The Grey glacier viewpoint
Min. hiking time : 8 hours
Though the usual hiking time is 8 hours round-trip if you start from the Paine Grande refuge, you can reach this beautiful viewpoint in no more than twenty minutes if you start from the Grey refuge or directly come with the Grey glacier navigation (take note that if you come here with the navigation, you’ll have to take - and pay - another boat afterwards).
The Grey glacier viewpoint is located near a beautiful forest and offers a fantastic view of the ice walls of Grey glacier, the most famous glacier in the region which is 6-kilometer wide and about 28 kilometers long. The glacier is retreating quickly and if you see old pictures of this viewpoint, you’ll realize how much climate change is affecting the landscape in Patagonia.
10. Laguna Azul (Sierra Masle)
Min. hiking time : 1 hour
Laguna Azul is a beautiful lagoon located in the Eastern side of Torres del Paine national park. It is the first spot to have been visited by Lady Florence Dixie, the first tourist to visit the park in 1879. This British explorer actually published a drawing of this landscape in her book “Across Patagonia”, where she mentions the towers are “Cleopatra’s needles”.
And it is true Laguna Azul offers an epic view of the granite towers, especially if you hike to the Sierra Masle viewpoint, which is located only half-an-hour away from the official parking of Laguna Azul. You’ll need to hike up the mountain for a while, but this short ascent is worth the sweat.
11. Cascada Paine
Min. hiking time : 2 minutes
Cascada Paine (“Paine waterfall”) is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Torres del Paine. The Paine river flows towards the West with the Paine massive as a backdrop, and this viewpoint located next to the road is incredibly photogenic as the towers can be seen right behind the waterfall. Also, you just have to walk a couple of minutes from the parking lot to walk along the Paine river and feel the power of the water.
12. Los Cuernos Viewpoint
Min. hiking time : 2 hours
Los Cuernos viewpoint offers not one, but many spectacular views of the park’s famous spires, “los Cuernos” (“the Horns”). This easy hike brings travelers through ghostly dead trees that were burnt during the 2011 fire. It also includes a stop-over at the Salto Grande waterfall, the park’s most famous waterfall that’s located only 15 minutes away from the parking.
If you do the full 2-hour hike, you’ll reach the viewpoint that faces the French Valley, with Mt. Paine Grande and los Cuernos as a backdrop and the blue waters of the Nordenskjöld lake at the forefront.
13. The Condor’s Viewpoint
Min. hiking time : 2 hours
Pehoe lake is undoubtedly the most beautiful lake in Torres del Paine National Park, and one of the photographers’ favorite areas for sunrise. There are many nice viewpoints around the lake, and most of them can be reached by driving. However, our favorite viewpoint is the Condor’s viewpoint, a 2-hour hike that offers a 360° panoramic view of Pehoe lake and the surrounding mountains.
The hike is fairly steep, so hiking poles are recommended. But if you’re willing to hike up for an hour, you’ll reach one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Patagonia - the pictures speak for themselves.
14. Laguna Amarga
Min. hiking time : 0 hour
Impossible not to mention Laguna Amarga, one of the classic postcards of Torres del Paine National Park. Like the Sarmiento lake viewpoint, it is outside the park but right next to one of the main entrances that has the same name. This is one of the best spots to photograph sunrise, with an unforgettable view of the towers. It is common to see guanacos and flamingos in the area. “Laguna Amarga” can be translated into “The sour lake”, due to the high level of Ph - acidity - of the greenish waters of the lake (if you want to drink it, you should know it is not tasty).
Here, you don’t even have to walk : there is a nice viewpoint next to the road, so that most travelers stop to enjoy the view.
15. Perros glacier
Min. hiking time : 5 hours
While it takes roughly 15 minutes or 4-5 hours to reach the Perros glacier from the nearest refuges (Perros and Dickson campsite), the Perros glacier is actually one of the most remote places in Torres del Paine. It is on the other side (north) of the Paine massif, in the heart of the Perros valley.
The Perros glacier is a fast-retreating mountain glacier with a beautiful green lake at its base, on the way to the John Gardner Pass. It is a highlight of the Torres del Paine “O” Circuit.