Dientes Circuit

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One of the best hikes in the world

Dientes Circuit

Also known as:

  • Isla Navarino Circuit
  • Circuito Dientes de Navarino
  • The Teeth of Navarino

The Windhone Lake route is an alternative which also starts in Puerto Williams, getting you even further south. Some choose Windhone when Dientes looks impassable due to snow. 

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AT A GLANCE

  • world’s most southerly major hike?
  • circumambulate the jagged spires of Cordon de los Dientes
  • out of Puerto William, Chile, on Isla Navarino (pop. 2,262 last time we counted)
  • recommended 5 days, 4 nights in the past. Most hikers are doing it in 4 days, 3 nights now as the route is better cairned and signed.

Why We Like This Hike

  • great views, most of the trek is above the treeline
  • vista over the islands making up Cape Horn (about 150km south)
  • condors, guanaco & beaver may be seen
  • it’s relatively close to Paine & Fitz Roy and Huemul, our favourite hikes in Patagonia
  • no risk of altitude sickness

Radek Tezaur

Considerations

  • extreme weather is your greatest concern
  • prepare for howling winds & unexpected snowfall
  • hypothermia is a risk
  • late February 2019 many were unable to get through due to early snowfall
  • scrambling & bushwhacking may be needed
  • painted stones & cairns mark the main route

  • you need a strong tent & good tie-downs to survive the wind
  • Dec to March are the best months to hike
  • free registration at the Police station in Puerto Williams is required 

  • stove fuel is available. In fact, there are stacks of stove fuel left behind in hostels from previous hikers who flew out of Puerto Williams
  • there is no official rescue service. Be responsible for your own safety.
  • campsites do not provide much shelter
  • views often obscured by cloud
  • as your feet get very wet, you will be cursing the introduced beavers
  • conversational Spanish is needed

Cost

  • Brian Spurling was there in 2017. He found it expensive compared with the other great Patagonian hikes.
FIRST you need pay to get to the end of the world. That’s Puerto Williams (pop. 2000) on the island of Navarino.
There are three ways:
  1. flight on small plane from Punta Arenas ($150 one way 2019)
  2. slow (30hrs) ferry from Punta Arenas ($167 one way 2019)
  3. fast boat from Ushuaia (45min) and shuttle van (45min) about $100 one way 2019
This Hiking Life

This Hiking Life

Routes

Laguna del Salto campsite

  • plenty of water & many good campsites to choose from
  • moderate difficulty if the weather cooperates
  • a difficult slog if it’s pounding rain
  • clockwise direction starting from Puerto Williams is highly recommended
  • you will need to walk or hitchhike back to town
  • could extend the walk connecting to the Lago Windhond trek (which happens to go even further south than Dientes)

day 1

Trekking Guides

Though it’s no problem to do the Circuit independently, it’s easiest to do Dientes is with a guide. We’ve not used any of these services:

Logistics

First … you need to get to remote Puerto Williams. Late December through February are the best moths.

Puerto Williams

Next you’ll need good gear. And enough food for 4 days plus an extra day in case of emergency.

The main gear store —Shila — sells and rents some types of stoves, knives, tents, sleeping bags, etc. You can also rent a GPS there that has the circuit route uploaded.

End of season 2019 many hikers were renting snowshoes ($3 / day)

Small supermarkets have basic food supplies. Bring any speciality foods with you to Puerto Williams.

Local Information

When you get to Puerto William, ask if there are any hikers who have recently returned. They will be the best source of last minute advice on trail conditions.
Hotels and hostels in Puerto Williams have all the information you need to organize the trek. There is no Ranger or trail maintenance once you get out there.

Many hikers stay at the inexpensive El Padrino hostel or their camp ground.

Best Trekking Guidebooks

Actually, it was Lonely Planet’s Clem Lindenmayer who popularized Dientes in the 1992 first edition of that guidebook.

In 2019 all you need is this free pamphlet widely available in Puerto Williams. We can’t recall a better free hiking brochure anywhere else in the world.

In Spanish with English translation, it’s crystal clear. All you need for navigation.

As a back-up, use the free Maps.me app.

Best Travel Guidebooks

Related Books

Beagle Channel

Best Maps

A simple map of the trek can be purchased in Puerto Williams. If you like souvenir maps. Many hotels and hostels have maps left behind by previous guests.

click map for interactive version

click map for interactive version

Best Web Pages

Best Trip Reports

Leo Turpan via email

Movies

Click PLAY or watch part 1 on Vimeo.

Click PLAY or watch part 2 on Vimeo.

Check our blog for posts tagged “Dientes”.

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5 thoughts on “Dientes Circuit

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  4. Thank you for this very usefull and recent information! Actually at this moment we are in Punta Arenas and are considering to do this trek. However your comment about many hikers returning because of snowfall end Feb 2019 is making us think twice. In your opinion, do you think the snow that has already fallen (i assume there was little thaw since then) will form a big hinderance for trekkers at this time? Or is most of the hinderance during snowfall due to low visibility, wind, etc. Do you have any advice for us?

    We would be very grateful for any additional information you can provide.

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