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Trekking Dientes de Navarino, a comprehensive guide

Trekking Dientes de Navarino, a comprehensive guide

 

The Dientes de Navarino trek is considered the most southern trek in the world. Effectively, Navarino Island lies between 54 and 55 degrees south latitude: the starting point is Puerto Williams, a town of three thousand people considered the southernmost population center in the world. I am now writing you a little guide on the Dientes de Navarino trek, whose name comes from the shape of these mountains: the highest point is 1,118 meters, but during the trek the highest elevation is 850 meters, which is the altitude of Paso Virginia.

The Dientes de Navarino trek is generally completed in four to five days-personally, I completed it in four, but I found the last day to be particularly completed. Here, then, I describe the Dientes de Navarino trek in five stages.

The base of this trek, Puerto Williams (
VIDEO
of the plaza), is worth a visit, as is Puerto Toro, the population center (only 40 people live here) that can only be visited on the last Sunday of the month.

 

Dientes de Navarino trek: day 1

The first leg of the trek (

here the trail

) begins at the CONAF refuge, part of the Reserva Mundial de la Biosfera Cabo de Hornos. The shelter is about three kilometers from the city center: you can walk or arrange a transfer, which costs about five dollars. An easy climb through a forested area and an initial viewpoint takes about an hour and a half (400 meters of elevation gain) to Cerro Bandera. From this place, marked by a large Chilean flag, there is a splendid view of the Beagle Channel and Puerto Williams (

VIDEO

). Here the trail becomes more complicated: it is difficult, in fact, to find the path to follow as it is not easy to find the few signs.

Having completed the climb there is a small stream where water bottles can be filled. Next, I walked along a small ridge, which was followed by a very steep descent characterized by unstable rocks.This section, which led me to El Salto Lagoon, was the first tricky piece of the Dientes de Navarino circuit.

The first leg, about nine kilometers long, was thus concluded: the El Salto Lagoon is the perfect place to put the tent.

 

Dientes de Navarino trek: day 2

From El Salto Lagoon, the ascent to Paso Australia begins immediately. The first part is steep and characterized by rocks that make uphill progression a bit tricky. I found the next section, which connects Paso Australia with Paso de los Dientes, more difficult. First, I had to cross a small snowy section, which is doable even without crampons; next, the path is characterized by stones, where walking is strenuous. On the other hand, the views of the Paso Lagoon are impressive!

From the Paso de los Dientes it is possible to admire the splendid Cape Horn: the feeling of being at the end of the world is clear! A nice descent leads to the Picacho Lagoon and, later, to the fork that divides the paths of los Dientes de Navarino with the one leading to Lake Windhond. I therefore continued walking, in a relatively easy section, admiring the laguna de los Dientes and later arriving at laguna Escondida, a perfect place to end the second day of walking (

about nine kilometers, here is the trail

).

 

Dientes de Navarino trek: day 3

Saying goodbye to the beautiful Escondida Lagoon, I followed a beautiful little river for a section of the trail. I often turned around to admire the spectacular peaks of the Dientes de Navarino. The first goal of the day is the paso Ventarron: I did not find the ascent to the pass difficult. From the summit, you can see Windhond Lagoon and Cape Horn on one side, and so many lagoons on the other side-a wonderful sight!

The descent of paso Ventarron was tricky: you walk on some rocks that make it complicated. It is possible to observe various castoreras, i.e., small basins resulting from dams created by beavers: it is essential not to drink the stale water! On this day there is a second, short but steep pass: the paso de Guerrico. From the summit it is possible to appreciate the Hermosa Lagoon. After walking to the side of this lagoon, I began to admire Martillo Lagoon, by whose shores I camped.

I pitched my tent at the end of the bay-the path occasionally wanders away from the lagoon, but it is easy to find directions. Martillo Lagoon is a spectacular place to camp: the sunset (

VIDEO

), with the peaks of the Lindennmayer range and, in particular, Cerro Clem, was unforgettable!

The day’s eight-kilometer track is available here.

 

Dientes de Navarino trek: day 4

Day 4 was definitely the most difficult day of the Dientes De Navarino circuit. The first four kilometers are characterized by a difficult path to encounter, the castoreras and the Rocallosa Lagoon rocks. Once past this lagoon, I passed through a forest: the slopes here are challenging! The views, however, are once again superlative! The last stretch leading to Paso Virginia looks like a moonscape: the slopes are not difficult and so I reached the 850 meters of Paso Virginia, the highest point of the entire circuit.

From the summit of Paso Virginia the view is impressive. Three hundred meters down, in fact, there is the Laguna de los Guanacos and, a little further on, the Beagle Channel: a unique beauty! The Paso Virginia descent, however, is really difficult. I found it virtually impossible to cross a gully with 50 percent gradients and characterized by slippery rocks. It is about twenty meters, which I crossed only with the help of my fellow adventurers. I, most likely, would have directly tackled the descent down the very steep gully rather than crossing it: I had a mental block that did not allow me to walk that part. Past this difficult (almost impossible) section a steep but pleasantly graveled descent brought me to the Laguna de los Guanacos.

The perfect place to camp or have something to eat is at the end of the lagoon.

 

Dientes de Navarino trek: day 5

From the lagoon of los Guanacos (

VIDEO

) the game is not over yet. It is only five kilometers to Pesqueria McLay, but it seems endless. Initially, one must follow a small stream, which leads to small lakes created, again, by beavers (on maps they appear as streams).

It all looked easy, but the path at one point disappears altogether. You have to go through a forest, and by that I mean go over and under fallen trees, paying attention to the various branches you encounter. It is very easy to get lost here, partly because there is actually no real path. In this stretch it is possible to take more than an hour to cover only one kilometer.

At some point, it is finally possible to see the Beagle Channel: here you can also find phone signal, and so arrange to return by transfer (I highly recommend arranging with Hostal Caleta Union or Camping El Padrino). I therefore completed the Dientes de Navarino trek, with great effort and immense satisfaction. An Adelaida penguin, encountered by chance at the McLay Pesqueria, greeted the end of the venture!

Here is the trail for the 15 kilometers of the last stage, linking these two days.

 

IN ADDITION TO THE DIENTES DE NAVARINO TREK YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN ….

The O of the Torres del Paine

Huemul, El Chalten, Argentina!

Four shelters in Bariloche, Argentina!

 

USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIENTES DE NAVARINO TREK

 

  • The Dientes de Navarino trek is beautiful but very difficult. In addition to the objective difficulties described, one must calculate the weather: it is possible to find snow as early as 200 meters above sea level even in summer. The best months to make this trek are January and February.

 

  • One must register with the Carabineros. I highly recommend asking them for the details of those who are leaving so that a group can be formed. When you return from the trek you have to show up again at the Carabineros to say that you have returned safely.

 

  • I encountered excellent weather, with very little rain. Technical and waterproof clothing and goretex shoes/boots are still needed. At night I suffered the cold with a 0 – 5 degree sleeping bag: I recommend a -10 degree. During the day I walked in a long-sleeved thermal shirt: however, I often added a second layer (temperature found in late January: about 10 degrees). It may be helpful to bring a shin cover, as some sections are very muddy.

 

  • Potable water is easily found along the circuit de los dientes de Navarino. One must, however, beware of any castoreras: the water in these reservoirs is not potable.

 

  • There is never a telephone signal. I therefore recommend downloading maps with Maps.me or Komoot. There is also the possibility of renting a GPS at a small outdoor store in Puerto Williams, on the side of the post office. There are 38 signs along the entire circuit, to which one must add several stone cairns. Despite this, it is very easy to miss the path.

 

  • Puerto Williams is located south of Ushuaia, Argentina, and can be reached in two ways. In fact, the town is connected to Punta Arenas by plane (reminiscent of Fantozzi’s hovel in Pappa e Ciccia) or by ferry (thirty-hour trip). The most beautiful ferry trip is from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams: in contrast, you cannot see the glaciers of Tierra del Fuego as the ferry passes at night. The cost of the plane (DAP company) is about $100, while the ferry (TABSA company) costs $140 (including breakfast, lunch and dinner).

 

  • I strongly recommend reading the weather carefully. Paso Virginia in bad weather may be impossible to deal with.

 

  • Nothing can be found along the circuit de los Dientes de Navarino. There is a requirement, obvious but to be repeated at all times, to return all garbage to Puerto Williams.

 

  • For me, the difficulty of the five days was this: first moderately difficult, second moderately difficult, third almost easy, fourth very difficult, fifth very difficult.

 

  • Puerto Williams is a quaint village. I slept at Hostal Caleta Union and was very comfortable. I ate very well in Warum, Dientes de Navarino and Resto del Sur. The pearl of Puerto Williams is that there is a brewery there: cerveceria Subantarctica, spectacular! On the last Sunday of the month you can visit the small fishing village of Puerto Toro: I recommend booking via Hostal Caleta Union or Camping El Padrino the trip, free of charge, by boat.

 

  • At Puerto Williams there are several supermarkets where you can find the food you need for the days of the trek. I chose to bring soups, sausages and easy pasta to cook in a water bath. I recommend bringing at least two gases since in cold temperatures consumption is particularly high.

 

  • The Dientes de Navarino circuit is about 45 kilometers long. It seems like a short distance, but the terrain, the course, and the descents make it very difficult. In total, I met about a dozen people: the fastest one took two days (kudos to him!). I also met a French family, with nine-year-old daughter: so much appreciation for them too! I personally believe that four or five days is the right amount of time.

 

  • Do I therefore recommend Dientes de Navarino? Basically, yes! Going in a group helped me a lot, and I was able to appreciate spectacular landscapes!
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Andrea, un viaggiatore da lungo tempo con una grande passione per trekking, bici e diving! Su travelsbeer.com potrete trovare tutte le informazioni e gli itinerari di viaggio scritti da Andrea: cinque continenti e tante vette conquistate intorno al mondo!

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