After several days in Ushuaia, I decided to head even further south than the “fin del mundo” and I crossed the Beagle Canal to the Island of Navarino in Chile to the town of Puerto Williams. The boat and bus to get from Ushuaia to Puerto Williams was expensive given the duration of the trip ($120 USD for a 30 minute boat ride and 3 hour bus) but I am very glad I went to Puerto Williams to hike.
Upon arriving to Puerto Williams Guillaume and I met up with Tomas (another one of the guys I met in El Chalten hiking the Huemul Circuit). We went to Camping El Padrino which is the only camping in the town of Puerto Williams. The owner was absolutely amazing and let us leave our stuff at the campground with the understanding that we would stay there upon our return. We got organized and decided to hike the 45min to the trailhead to camp the first night next to the waterfall because it was free and would eliminate the need to walk this portion the next morning.
On Day 1, we woke up to rain and got a later start (around noon) because we were hoping the rain might let up. Unfortunately, it did not and we walked the entire first day in the rain. We arrived to Cerro la Bandera after a couple of hours. (Note: there are two trails to Cerro la Bandera-the shorter and steeper route or the longer and less steep route. I did the shorter route and it wasn’t too bad.) From Cerro la Bandera, we continued walking along the mountain ridge which was covered in clouds and it felt like we were completely alone which I enjoyed because it felt like we were truly in the end of the world.
After a couple more hours, we arrived to Camping Laguna del Salto around 3pm. We stopped here for lunch but had decided earlier that we wanted to continue on to Camping Bettinelli to sleep. We also decided that we wanted to extend the normal Dientes route by 2 days and go to Lago Windhold. The route through the mountain passes and lakes in this section were beautiful even though we couldn’t see a lot. We arrived to Camping Bettinelli around 7pm and made camp. Luckily, around 7:30pm the rain stopped and we were treated to the most AMAZING sunset.
The next day we had beautiful weather. We left camp and hiked up to Cerro Bettinelli which took around 1 hour and offered one of my favorite views of the trip. (Note: Even if you aren’t going to Lago Windhold I definitely recommend at least going to Cerro Bettinelli from the Dientes trail. It will only be around 3 hours roundtrip and the view is spectacular.)
From Cerro Bettinelli I was able to see Cape Horn, Lago Windhold, and tons of mountains and lakes that were surrounding us on all sides. After enjoying the view from the top for 30 minutes or so we started our descent.
The first part was very easy as we walked across the rocks and open mountain area. However, as we entered the forest, the descent got much more challenging. Because of the rain the previous day, the path was very muddy and because it was so steep we were slipping quiet a bit. I think all of us fell at least twice during the descent.
After an hour, we made it down to the river. From the river, the trail was much easier and led through a marsh that looked like something from another planet. The color of the water and surrounding plant life was incredible. We arrived to Lago Windhold around 4pm where we ate a late lunch and set up camp. That afternoon we enjoyed a beer on the beach by the lake and then played some poker in the tent.
On Day 3, we hiked back to the Dientes circuit and had perfect weather. The views were just as amazing the second day and the ascent through the forest proved much easier than the descent.
We camped at a great campsite above Laguna de los Dientes and just as we arrived some rain moved in. Luckily, it only lasted for around 30 minutes.
On Day 4, we decided to hike back towards the Paso de Dientes for a little while because it was covered in clouds when we passed through on Day 1. We spent the morning there and then went back and packed up camp.
That afternoon, we hiked along Lago Escondido (which was breathtaking) and decided to camp at Laguna Martillo which was the camping spot closest to Paso Virginia which was the most challenging pass for the circuit.
We crossed one mountain pass on Day 4 called Paso Ventarron but I found the pass to be quiet easy and we were able to reach the top of the pass after only 30 minutes of climbing.
On Day 5, we took an alternative route leaving camp that gained elevation more gradually and was still very well marked. The route was very beautiful as we worked our way up to Paso Virginia.
The view of the Beagle Canal and the mountains from Paso Virginia was amazing and a great treat since we weren’t able to see the views of the Beagle Canal on Day 1. We decided to have lunch at the pass and then we started the steep descent.
The first part of the descent was pretty challenging aka I was on all fours but luckily it only lasted for 30 meters or so. After that, there was a ton of loose rock and you could almost ski down the mountain. We arrived at the bottom of the pass at 3pm and then we decided to continue back to Puerto Williams because it looked like a storm might move in.
The route down to Puerto Williams wasn’t too challenging and we arrived at the end of the trail around 4:30pm. The most annoying part was that the trail ended in the middle of a cow pasture and we still had around 30-45 minutes to get back to the road. Also, the trail ends a couple of hours away from Puerto Williams. Luckily, we were able to get picked up by a truck passing by and he gave us a lift back to Puerto Williams which turned a 3 hour walk into a 15 minute car ride.
The Dientes de Navarino was one of my favorite hikes in Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego because the views were absolutely incredible with mountains and lakes everywhere you looked. Another plus was there weren’t very many people on the trek. Every evening we were the only ones in our camping spot and we only saw around 5 other people every day on the trail. I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone who enjoys backcountry hiking and I hope I can return to Isla Navarino again for some more hiking!