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Best Hikes in Ushuaia

Ushuaia, Argentina, is a true paradise for hiking! This small port town, on the southernmost point of South America, is perhaps most famous for being the main departure point for Antarctic cruises. However, it’s also a world-class destination for the outdoors, so here are the best hikes in Ushuaia to consider if you’re planning a visit.

Adding a few days before or after an Antarctic cruise is also a great way to stretch your legs after a few long days on the Drake Passage. Although many hikes in Patagonia can be challenging, you can find walks to suit all levels of fitness in the area. 

Why go hiking in Ushuaia?

While not the most well-known destination in Patagonia, international visitors have recently discovered what Argentinian tourists have always known – the Tierra del Fuego province is a true outdoor playground, with amazing hikes that will challenge and inspire. 

If you’re already headed to Ushuaia for an Antarctic cruise, you might want to add a few days on either side to explore some of the region. Or, if you’re travelling around Patagonia, it’s easy to add on time in Ushuaia as it has its own regional airport, very close to town, with regular flights from El Calafate and Buenos Aires. 

On hikes in Ushuaia, you’ll discover flora and fauna not found in other parts of the world, spectacular glaciers, and epic, snow-capped mountains. Of course, after a long day of hiking, you’ll also love soothing the pain away with a delicious Argentinian asado or a glass of Malbec!

If you’re ready to start exploring, here’s what you need to know about hiking in Ushuaia. 

Note: All of the hiking distances are return and are courtesy of AllTrails, a well-regarded and helpful hiking website. However, in reality, your distances are likely to be slightly longer.

Laguna Esmeralda, one of the best hikes in Ushuaia, Argentina
Laguna Esmeralda is one of the most popular walks from Ushuaia – with views like this, it’s easy to see why!

Laguna Esmeralda, 8.7km

What’s the most popular hike in Ushuaia? Laguna Esmeralda, or the Emerald Lagoon, definitely takes that title. This hike, just outside of town, goes through quintessentially Patagonian forest. It leads to a lagoon known for its green hue, beautifully framed by the surrounding mountains. 

This hike can be moderate to easy, depending on your levels of fitness, but it does go through bog and swampland, so expect a lot of mud. Coming prepared with hiking poles, ankle boots, and gaiters will make a big difference and will also keep your cold weather gear much cleaner.

Martial Glacier, 6km

Hoping to see a glacier in Ushuaia? If so, you’ll love the Martial Glacier hike, easily accessible via walking or a short taxi ride to the upper area of town. This scenic hike can be challenging (mainly due to ice), but even if you don’t hike all the way to the glacier, you’ll still be rewarded with incredible views of the glacier, mountains, and the town and port below you. 

Ojo del Albino glacier
The trek to Ojo del Albino glacier isn’t an easy one, but it’s incredible rewarding.

Ojo del Albino Glacier, 20km

If you’re ready for a challenge, you’ll love the strenuous hike to Ojo del Albino glacier. You’ll cross through peat bogs and forests—this trail is actually the same as to Laguna Esmeralda, so you’ll get to enjoy the lagoon before you begin the ascent up to the glacier, taking in spectacular rock formations and mountainous terrain before you finally reach the beauty and serenity of the glacier itself. This is definitely one you want to allocate all day for, as both the ascent and descent of the mountain aren’t something to be rushed.

Costanera de Ushuaia (Ushuaia waterfront), 1.1km

If you’re looking for a flat and easy walk around Ushuaia, you’ll love the Costanera de Ushuaia. This waterfront walk will take you past the port, where Antarctic cruises depart, along with the popular End of the World Sign.

Vinciguerra Glacier, 10.5km

Another spectacular glacier hike is Vinciguerra, a fairly challenging and steep hike to Vinciguerra Glacier and Laguna de los Témpanos. You’ll start though a serene forest (if you’re lucky, you’ll spot wild horses!), before crossing over a stream and up a very steep path to the glacier. 

It’s worth the effort, as here you can discover not just the glacier but sparkling blue ice caves, glacial ponds, and incredible views of the forest below.

Tierra del Fuego National Park is less than 15 minutes from the centre of Ushuaia, making it an easy day trip.

Tierra del Fuego National Park

One of the best places to hike in Ushuaia is within Tierra del Fuego National Park. Less than a 15-minute drive from town, the national park is a natural paradise, with unique biodiversity not found anywhere else. 

It’s easy to visit the park via a bus tour, but if you plan on hiking, you’ll want to either drive your own vehicle or take the public bus from Ushuaia, which runs several times per day. 

Here is a sampling of some of the best hikes in Tierra del Fuego National Park to consider. 

Easy hikes

Mirador Lapataia trail, 2.7km

This easy hike is popular and attracts crowds, but still offers incredible views of Lapataia Bay—it also goes to the end of the National Route 3 sign. Head out earlier or later in the day if you prefer a quieter hike. 

This sign is always popular for photo ops, making the end of National Route 3.

Correo Fin del Mundo – Bahía Ensenada, 0.8km

This very short, circular hike only takes a few minutes and is a good (and easier) alternative to the Coastal Path hike. It starts near the End of the World Post Office and goes past Ensenada Bay. 

Moderate hikes

Coastal Path, 15.3km

This popular hike is a great way to spend a day in Tierra del Fuego, taking in views of Lapataia Bay, Ensenada Zaratiegui Bay, and even the Beagle Channel. It’s not overly steep but can be muddy. 

Sendero Rio Lapataia, 2.1km

A shorter hike, considered moderately challenging, travels through the forest parallel to the Lapataia River before reaching Lake Acigami (also called Lake Roca), a gorgeous glacial lake. 

tierra del fuego offers some of the best hikes in Ushuaia
Many visitors to Tierra del Fuego enter the park via train, a fun and educational way to learn about Ushuaia’s troubled convict past.

Challenging hikes

Cerro Guanaco Summit Trail, 13.5km

Starting at the Alakush Visitor Centre, this challenging hike is steep in parts, but offers you some of the best views in the entire park. For your safety, it’s best to register at the Visitor Centre before heading out and to depart before noon. 

Laguna del Caminante, 25.4km

If you’re up for a longer trek, this adventure takes in peat bogs, picturesque mountains, and views of Laguna Superior and Laguna del Caminante. 

Pampa Alta Trail, 9.7km

Beginning near the Pipo River (named after an escaped convict from Ushuaia Prison), this trek takes in beautiful forest views before opening up to a clearing with Beagle Channel views. 

Ushuaia sign, town center


Easily reached along the waterfront, the city’s namesake sign is one of the easiest and best hikes in Ushuaia, taking in views of the city, waterfront, and countryside.

Hiking on your own or with a small group – Which is best?

Hiking on your own versus going with a guide—there are pros and cons to both, but it all comes down to safety, your experience levels, and the types of hikes you’re planning to do.

For easier hikes, competent hikers who are able to navigate the trail, have their own gear, and are confident may prefer to go out alone. However, for more challenging hikes, a guide can make a world of difference when it comes to both navigation and safety. 

On Ojo del Albino, for example, the best route up the mountain is not clearly marked and can vary as the conditions change. For safety, a local guide with years of experience in the region can literally save your life, so a local guide is highly recommended. You’ll find many small group trekking companies that run regular excursions to Ushuaia’s most popular hikes, with guides fluent in both Spanish and English.

Guided hikes will also include transportation, lunch, and equipment such as trekking poles and ice crampons, so it’s well worth it—plus, a small group hike is ideal for solo travellers who want to explore safely. However, if you’re on a tight budget, there are some great treks you can do within the national park, accessible by the public shuttle bus from town. 

Hiking in Ushuaia – Top Tips

  • The best time of year for hiking is during the Southern Hemisphere summer season, Oct-April.
  • Ushuaia and the surrounding area can be VERY muddy! Ankle-high boots and gaiters will make a big difference. If you don’t have your own, they can be hired in town or through your trekking company. 
  • The weather changes very quickly in Tierra del Fuego, especially at high elevation. Waterproof gear and lots of layers are your best approach. Strong winds, sunshine, snow, and rain all within one day are not uncommon.
  • All hikes are in remote areas, so you’ll need to be fully self-sufficient with enough food and water for the day. Some glacial streams are safe to drink from, but not all, so always check with your hiking guide first.
Written By chimuadmin
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