In one of the world’s corners still remains a relatively unexplored region where a jagged range of windswept mountains, isolated swamps, a thick, subpolar forest, and unpredictable weather can test even the most seasoned of hikers.
Accompanied by a sense of trekking to the end of the world, Patagonia’s Dientes De Navarino sits in one of the last true wilderness regions on the planet. Far away from the masses, it is located at the bottom tip of South America on what is known as Isla Navarino, just 1,000km from Antarctica’s ice masses.
One of the biggest challenges of the trail is the extreme weather, and how quickly it can change day to day, hour to hour. Sunshine, rain, wind, and snow all bombard hikers along the way. Yet, experiencing the incredible landscapes, valleys, balds, and peaks on the trail can be well worth it.
The trail itself is 53km long. While you don’t need a permit to hike the Dientes De Navarino, you will need to first check-in at the police station, providing personal information and an estimated return date. This is good in case you run into trouble and don’t make it back. They will wait three days, then call in search and rescue to look for you. With that being said, be sure to stop by and let them know as soon as you do return.
Time your hike to coincide with the Patagonian summer, which occurs between December and March. Good weather isn’t guaranteed even then, however. You may get sunshine, rain, and even snow all in one day. The cross winds are another factor to take into consideration.
Depending entirely upon your pace and overall goals, hiking the full trail can take up to five days. Some say it takes at least seven. Again, this will depend on how well you handle the various terrain, the unpredictable weather, the wind, as well as how long you spend gazing at the expansive views along the trail.
You will be camping along the trail as well. This is your only choice. Campsites are spread out, and you will find them approximately every 8-12km.
It is highly recommended that you don’t tackle this trail alone. As it is not flooded with hikers year-round, markers are often difficult to locate, and getting lost is common.
Suggested Packing List
Hikers need to be well-prepared before starting on any hike, and particularly on this one. There are no stores along the way to pick up anything, so be sure to take all needed items with you. Besides food, cooking equipment, sleep gear, first aid supplies, and clothes for all weather possibilities on the trail, be sure to include:
- waterproof boots
- water-resistant glove shells, rated for freezing rain and snow
- hiking poles
In other words, be prepared for anything weather-wise.
If trekking to the bottom of the world sounds like your kind of hike, then make your way south to Isla Navarino and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.