The Ultimate Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids

Torres Del Paine National Park is undeniably one of South America’s most spectacular natural wonders. With the imposing Los Cuernos, the majestic Torres, incredible wildlife, and a landscape dotted with serene blue lakes and cascading waterfalls, it’s a feast for the eyes. This park is a haven for adventurers and nature lovers alike, offering an unforgettable experience for those who make the journey to explore its wild beauty.

A family photo at the side of Lago Nordenskjold with Cerro Paine Grande in the background
Taking Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids is an incredible family adventure.

While most famous for its multi-day hikes, Torres Del Paine National Park offers a remarkable road trip experience that showcases many natural highlights and is perfect for doing with kids. This journey is peppered with stunning vistas and abundant wildlife sightings, and along the way, you can tackle several child-friendly short walks that add an adventurous element to the day. These easy trails allow children to fully engage with the park’s wonders, making the trip an enriching adventure for the whole family.

How To Tackle The Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids

Renting a car for this road trip through Torres Del Paine with kids is highly recommended. We did it this way, and having complete freedom over where we stopped and which walks we took made the day much more enjoyable. Also, self-driving was much more cost-effective than paying for four of us to do a tour. 

Kirsty and Georgia on the trail from Salto Grande waterfall towards the Cerro Paine viewpoint
Having the freedom to stop and take your time makes such a difference when travelling with kids

The drive to the park from Puerto Natales is smooth tarmac, and the roads in the Torres Del Paine are mostly gravel. Don’t let this put you off; it was pretty easy driving by Patagonian standards. The road trip with two walks, excluding the Miladon Cave, took us around 9 hours to complete. This time includes the drive from Puerto Natales.

A road sign in Cerro Castillo saying Ruta del Fin del Mundo
How often do you get to drive the route to the end of the world?

In total, we completed about 12 km of walking; however, if you want to tackle more or longer walks, you could split this road trip in half and do it over two days. We have suggested several walks below – don’t feel like you have to do them all on the same day! Our favourites were the Mirador Salto Grande and Grey Glacier Viewpoint walks; more info is below.

We would recommend that you get to the Torres del Paine as early as possible to beat the tour buses that start arriving at about 08.30. This gives you a quieter experience, but if you are staying in Puerto Natales, it means leaving at 7 am due to the drive time!

A gaucho on horseback on Windy Pass taking supplies up to the camps in Torres Del Paine National Park
You have to be ready to share the paths!

If you don’t want to drive, several tours are available that follow routes very similar to this and will transport you to and from Puerto Natalis. A couple we met took the tour with W Circuit Patagonia, who had English-speaking guides and cost them CLP$ 50,000/£44/USD 56 each and came highly recommended as do Lenga Tours who we met on the trail.

What To Bring

The usual Patagonia day trip hit list! Layers, sun cream, bug spray, sunglasses, plenty of water. There are several places to get a meal in the park, but it is comedically overpriced. We stocked up on snacks, empanadas and sandwiches to feast on when we were in Puerto Natales.

A large Iceberg floating in Lago Grey
In Torres Del Paine, you need to be ready for four seasons in forty minutes, even in the summer.

For shorter walks included here, you won’t need hiking boots. A sturdy shoe will be good enough; however, be ready to stop and empty out the small stones that make their way in! 

One thing to note is that there are no bins in the park and you are expected to take your rubbish away, so make sure you have something suitable to use.

Car Games

We played a great game of “first to see” with Georgia and Eva, with the winner of each category getting some Skittles. Our prize list included:

  • Snow
  • A lake
  • A condor
  • A guanaco
  • A glacier
  • A gaucho
  • An iceberg
  • Los Cuernos,
  • Las Torres
  • Super bonus prize – First person to spot a Puma! Sadly, this final one remained unclaimed.
The underside of a condor flying in Torres del Paine National Park
A Guanaco standing on top of a hill in Torres Del Paine National Park
Wildlife abounds in the park.

Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids Map

Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids Route

The below route takes in some of the highlights of the park. As we mentioned above, it is doable in a single day, or you can split it in half and enjoy over two days with longer walks.

Stop 1 – Laguna Amarga

As you enter the park on Route Y-156, Laguna Amarga is the first lake you come across, over which you can get your first proper glimpse of Las Torres. When the wind is calm, the lake is the most stunning mirror!

A viewpoint overlooking Lago Nordenskjöld with Cerro Paine in the distance

There are no walks from here, so after a stop for a leg stretch, it is a short drive to the next stop.

Stop 2 – Guardería Laguna Amarga

A quick stop at the Guardería to show the rangers your entrance tickets and use the toilet before heading off over a rather rickety bridge to the welcome centre.

Stop 3 – Torres del Paine Welcome Centre

This visitors’ centre is the start and finish point for many people tackling the famous Mirador las Torres and O and W treks, so you may see some rather trail-worn but happy hikers here!

This welcome centre and adjacent luxury Hotel Las Torres are privately owned by a family that has been there since long before the park’s establishment, and the owners are taking full advantage of the immense popularity this area enjoys! There is an incredibly expensive café here and the usual selection of tat on sale as well.

The centre is a starting point for two different short walks you can take. First is the relatively flat path to Laguna Inge:

This walk is 9 km in total, but if you want to save your legs for later in the day, you can simply do the first km or so to enjoy the spectacular views of Las Torres.

A gaucho on horseback next to the river in Windy Pass taking supplies up to the camps in Torres Del Paine National Park
The gauchos transport supplies and luggage on the paths.

If you fancy a good hill climb, then the walk up to Windy Pass is a challenging but enjoyable blast that rewards you with incredible views:

A river running down Windy Pass with mountains in the background in Torres del Paine National Park
The pass is stunning.

The trail is very well walked and is easy to follow. If you decide to walk up to Windy Pass, be warned that the descent is a little rough and hard on the knees. Walking poles certainly helped us!

Stop 4 – Mirador Nordenskjold

After the welcome centre, you re-trace your steps a short way to the Guardería, then turn deeper into the park. Mirador Lago Nordenskjold is located at the foot of Los Cuernos and gives epic views over Lago Nordenskjold and the mountains beyond. The waters of the lake flow south towards our next stop, the Salto Grande waterfall.

A view of Los Cuernos (The Horns) peaks in Torres Del Paine National Park
“The Horns”

Stop 5 – Mirador Salto Grande

This gorgeous lake and waterfall are also the starting point for our second short walk. When you arrive at the dock, don’t stop. Head up to the slightly higher car park, and from here; you can then take a quick stroll to the waterfall viewpoint or push a bit further and do the 6km walk to the Cuernos Lookout. This is a popular hike, and you can see why!

Salto Grande Water Fall in Torres Del Paine National Park with kids
Salto Grande Waterfall

We would definitely recommend doing the longer walk here; the view of “the horns” is probably the best in the park, and we had great fun deciding where we would build a house for the best view!

This walk also featured our favourite warning sign with some masterful Chilean understatement.

A sign in Torres del Paine National Park warning about very strong winds

Another option from here is to take the catamaran to Refugio & Camping Vertice Paine Grande. Doing this trip alone would be a full-day excursion, but if you are spending multiple days in the park, then this is a great way to get you off the main tourist trail. Multiple sailings a day run during the summer months; full details are on their website.  From the Refugio, there are several family-friendly walks you can tackle. 

Stop 6 – Restaurant Pehoe

This was a stop recommended to us and it is close to Mirador Condor, but we decided to skip it as it looked incredibly busy when we passed. Apparently, this is where many of the tours stop for lunch.

Stop 7 – Lago Grey

Kirsty and the girls standing on the beach at the edge of Lago Grey infront of a huge iceberg in Torres Del Paine National Park
Lago Grey is otherworldly!

Finish in Torres Del Paine Road on a high! The short walk along Lago Grey to the viewpoint is a great way to finish a day exploring the park. At the start of the walk which is just a little further up the road than Hotel Lago Grey, you will find Rio Pingo, a pleasant café with a small shop and toilet facilities. This is also the starting point for a great walk:

The walk is wonderful, with views of Glacier Grey and mountains as you trek along the beach. We were lucky to have an iceberg to admire as well! One word of warning: the loose stone surface and strong winds can make this a decepitvly challenging hike. We had four sets of tired legs when we made it back to the car!

Stop 8 – Cueva del Milodon

We visited the Mylodon Cave Natural Monument the day before the above road trip, but it fits perfectly at the end of the loop, so we thought we would include it here if you all have the energy!

The Cueva del Milodon shows evidence of the nomadic Kawésqar people who made their home in the area for 6000 years, but it is most famous for the discovery of preserved remains of the even older Mylodon, or giant ground sloth!

We explore the incredible history of the Mylodon Cave Natural Monument  and some of the incredible walks nearby here: Step into the Ice Age: Mylodon Cave with Kids

Viewpoint overlooking Lago Sophia with the Andes in the distance
The views from the walk are come of our favourites in Patagonia.

Have We Missed Anything From Our Torres Del Paine Road Trip With Kids?

We hope you enjoy the road trip as much as we did. Torres Del Paine is quite unique as a national park in that there are some incredible parts that are reasonably accessible, we hope the above route helps you to make the most of it.

If you think we have missed anything, or any information here is outdated, please let us know in the comments below!

The Spencer Family

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Thanks.

About the authors

Our lives have been intertwined with a passion for exploration and a shared love for travel. Our adventures began long before we met, as we individually embarked on daring expeditions across the globe. Our paths finally converged, and we soon realized that our adventures were much more meaningful when shared!

After a brief hiatus to start a family, we eagerly embarked on a new chapter of our travel saga. Determined to instil in Georgia and Eva the values of discovery and open-mindedness, our goal is to embark on exciting escapades and explore breathtaking landscapes, bustling cities, and remote corners of the world. From hiking through mist-laden forests to snorkelling in turquoise seas, every adventure is an opportunity to create lasting memories as a family.

We hate intrusive adverts as much as you do, so we keep our site ad-free. If you enjoy the blog or have found something helpful, you can say "thanks" by buying us a coffee! Just click the button below.

Leave a comment