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 (
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.
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 (
). 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.
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
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 (
), with the peaks of the Lindennmayer range and, in particular, Cerro Clem, was unforgettable!
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.
From the lagoon of los Guanacos (
) 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!