Mirador las Torres: Torres del Paine’s Famous View

Enormous granite towers jut upward from a bright teal lake. People travel from all over the world to stand at Mirador las Torres and take in this famous view. If you plan to visit Patagonia, this hike should absolutely be on your list. Seeing the towers had been on Lia’s bucket list for a while, and standing below them is something we’ll never forget. Let’s get into the details of hiking to Mirador las Torres as a day hike!

The famous granite towers
The famous granite towers

Getting to the Trailhead

Most people visiting Torres del Paine come from Puerto Natales. The outskirts of the national park are about an hour away from the city and there are multiple options to reach it, including tour, car rental, or public bus. We were there in the winter when buses weren’t running, so we took a tour. We’ll talk more about visiting Torres del Paine in the winter in another post. To the trailhead, it took just under 2 hours in our tour van.

If you go by tour, your transport will take you to the trailhead. If you go by bus from Puerto Natales, you’ll need to hop on a separate shuttle to the trailhead when you get to the park entrance near Laguna Amarga. It will take you to the trailhead for an additional cost of a few thousand Chilean pesos one way.

Laguna Amarga at sunrise
Laguna Amarga at sunrise

If driving on your own, continue on Route 9 past the park entrance. Take a left on Y-150, then stay right at the fork onto Y-156. Pass Laguna Amarga and Y-166, then take a right across the river towards Hotel Las Torres. This area has a welcome center, eco camp, and lodge. Continue all the way to Hotel Las Torres to park and begin your hike. The trail begins heading southwest from the lot. If you are going on your own, it’s always a good idea to download the area on Google Maps beforehand just in case you need to reference it.

The lodge near the beginning of the hike to Mirador las Torres
The lodge near the beginning of the hike to Mirador las Torres


Whether you go by bus, tour, or private car, you’ll have to stop at the entrance to the park to show your tickets. Bring your passport because you may be required to present it.

For foreign adults, the park fee begins at CLP 31,200 as of 2024.

Update: Since the pandemic, tickets must be purchased online in advance from the CONAF webpage. Additionally, we don’t think the park offers the winter discount anymore.

Previously, you had to buy your ticket at the park entrance station in cash and the cost was halved during the winter. Check the park website for more details and updated fees.

At the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park
At the entrance to Torres del Paine National Park

Hiking to Mirador las Torres

The hike to Mirador las Torres can be done as a day hike or as part of the longer W and O treks through Torres del Paine. We’ll cover it as a day hike since this is what we opted to do.

Hike Overview

Hike Type: Moderate out-and-back trail

Elevation Gain: About 3,000 feet (900 meters)

Distance: 11 miles (18 kilometers) round trip

Duration: About 10 hour tour (including drive time), but 5-6 hours of hiking

Cost: The entrance fees mentioned above plus tour costs if this is what you opt for. Our tour cost USD$55 per person, but tour costs have increased since we did this in 2018 to around USD$100 per person. Tour costs are cheaper in the winter, and we also found that we saved money booking in person upon arrival than online. However, waiting to book may not be a good idea if you are on a tight schedule or visiting during peak summer months.

Restrictions: Pets and drones are not permitted. Camp only in designated areas. Guides may be required depending on the time of year you visit.

The world famous view from Mirador las Torres
The world famous view from Mirador las Torres

Our Hike

Our tour group began the hike to Mirador las Torres with our guide instructing us to all stay together. The trail began to ascend slightly at the beginning, leading over a river and through the valley. The pace was pretty slow and as soon as the trail steepened, a couple in our group had already turned back without letting our guide know. Understandably, he wasn’t too happy. At that point, the guide noted that it was taking a long time to make progress and made the decision to let some of us continue at our own pace while he stayed in the back.

Stunning colors along the trail to Mirador las Torres
Stunning colors along the trail to Mirador las Torres

We continued on up the trail with a guy in our group visiting from England. The hike was beautiful with the rugged peaks, remaining fall colors brightening the forest, and views over the lakes in the valley behind us. Being winter, many spots on the trail were pretty muddy.

The last section of the hike is the toughest. In a short distance, we steeply ascended the hillside through a rocky field. Recent snow made some of the sections icy, though we never felt the need to take out the crampons that we rented the night before by recommendation. We took our time and grew increasingly excited as we saw the granite towers peek over the hill as we climbed.

A few people making their way up the last steep section of the trail
A few people making their way up the last steep section of the trail

To say the view is worth it is an understatement! Luckily the sun was out, illuminating the towers and brightening the blue hue of the lake. We were thrilled to be there in the winter when there were only a couple of other people up there with us. We didn’t encounter many people outside of our tour on the trail.

After standing in complete awe of the view and snapping some photos, we found a nice spot to eat our packed lunch and relax for a while. A few more people arrived as we began to pack up and head back, taking our time as we strolled down the hill. Our guide was still making his way up with some of the group and told us that the van would be down there waiting for us if we wanted to wait inside it. To complete an awesome day, we saw a puma before heading back to Puerto Natales!

We were thrilled to have great weather when we reached Mirador las Torres
We were so happy to have great weather when we reached Mirador las Torres

Notes on Taking a Tour to Mirador las Torres

While exploring South America, we generally did not take tours when it was reasonable to go on our own. Due to the buses not running in the winter and the cost of renting a car, we resorted to a tour for this adventure.

Additionally, a guide may required for various winter activities in the park depending on conditions. This includes the day hike to Mirador las Torres. The guide requirement generally begins in May and continues through August. Check the latest statuses for trails and other park infrastructure here.

Our guide was great and we were picked up and dropped off at our hotel, which was really convenient. Though more expensive than if we had been able to take the bus, it was reasonably priced, especially as it was winter when prices are often lower.

While many beginner hikers do successfully complete this trail, our guide said that people would have to turn back before reaching the lake if they do not make it in time to return before dark. Your hours are restricted by daylight (mostly only an issue in the winter) and controlled by when the tour arrives and chooses to leave.

The trail is pretty easy to follow if you go on your own
The trail is pretty easy to follow if you go on your own

On the flip side, some of us were waiting for around an hour for the rest of the group to return to the van. We really didn’t mind this much because we had ample time to hang out at Mirador las Torres, walked the area near the lodge, and even saw a puma nearby as we waited.

If you want more flexibility to come and go when desired, consider a car rental or private tour.

Can you see the puma?
Can you see the puma?

What to Bring

Passport: You may need to present identification at the entrance station.

Ticket: Don’t forget your pre-purchased park ticket.

Sturdy Shoes: The trail is steep, rocky, and can be muddy and icy. The guy we were hiking with rented shoes from a shop in Puerto Natales, but they absolutely tore up his feet, so we recommend bringing your own if you have the space.

Crampons: If you are there in the winter, many companies recommend crampons for the steep, icy sections. We didn’t end up needing them, but wanted to have them in case. Various tour companies and gear shops have them for rent.

Mini First Aid Kit: Another just-in-case item we always like to have.

Camera: While no picture we’ve ever seen does this place justice, it’s always nice to capture the memories!

Water: This is a long hike, so bring plenty of water. Our guide mentioned Patagonia’s pure water, so we were able to refill our water from the river without purification.

Matt filling our bottle in the river
Filling our bottle in the river

Food: We brought a packed lunch (sandwiches and snacks) to enjoy by the lake. If you don’t bring a full lunch, definitely bring a few snacks for fuel.

Layers: Even in the summer, it can be chilly, especially with those notorious Patagonia winds. So bring along some layers you can put on and off as you hike. In the winter, we were in heavier jackets that we only took off briefly when hiking a steep uphill section. A beanie and gloves are good to pack in the winter as well.

Sun Protection: There is no shade at the lake and at some points along the trail, so pack sunscreen, a hat, and/or sunglasses.

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