One of the best hikes in the world
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.
- world’s most southerly major hike?
- circumambulate the jagged spires of Cordon de los Dientes
- out of Puerto Williams, 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
- 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
- Brian Spurling was there in 2017. He found it expensive compared with the other great Patagonian hikes.
- flight on small plane from Punta Arenas ($150 one way 2019)
- slow (30hrs) ferry from Punta Arenas ($167 one way 2019)
- fast boat from Ushuaia (45min) and shuttle van (45min) about $100 one way 2019
- the standard Dientes Circuit trek as described in Lonely Planet Trekking in the Patagonian Andes is 53.5km (33mi) plus sidetrips
- we recommend minimum 4 days, 3 nights in the tent (and an extra day in case of bad weather)
- 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)
- Shackleton’s Hike on South Georgia is even further south, of course
Though it’s possible to do the Circuit independently, it’s easiest to do Dientes is with a guide. We’ve not used any of these services:
First … you need to get to remote Puerto Williams. Late December through February are the best moths.
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.
Best Trekking Guidebooks
- Lonely Planet Trekking in the Patagonian Andes 2009 (no longer in print)
Actually, it was Lonely Planet’s Clem Lindenmayer who popularized Dientes in the 1992 first edition of that guidebook.
As a back-up, use the free Maps.me app.
Best Travel Guidebooks
- Lonely Planet Chile
- Enduring Patagonia – Gregory Crouch
- In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin
- Baja to Patagonia – Larry Rice
- Nowhere Is a Place: Travels in Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux, Jeff Gnass
- Patagonia: Wild Land At The End Of The Earth – Tim Hauf, Conger, Jr. Beasley, Gregory Crouch
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.
Best Web Pages
- walkopedia – Dientes Circuit
- Victory Cruises – Dientes
- treehugger – Plans to “Totally Eradicate” Tierra del Fuego’s Invasive Beavers
Best Trip Reports
- The Big Outside – UNKNOWN PATAGONIA: THE DIENTES CIRCUIT
- Nick & Jenni – Isla Navarino – the Dientes Circuit 2007
- sebastian68 – Dientes de Navarino – Magallanes y Antártica Chilena, Chile 2010 | map & trip report | photos
- Patricia – A Taste of the Dientes Circuit (PDF)
- The Hiking Life – Dientes Circuit, Isla Navarino, Chile 1997
- BestHike editor Rick McCharles – Turned back on the Dientes 2019
Click PLAY or watch part 1 on Vimeo.
Click PLAY or watch part 2 on Vimeo.
Click PLAY or watch a guided group on Vimeo. SNOW !
Check our blog for posts tagged “Dientes”.