Mountaineering in Tierra del Fuego

The Dientes of Navarino - Southernmost Trek in the World


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2013. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.


Map showing my route on the Deintes de Navarino trek on 30 Jan - 4 Feb 2013

The Dientes de Navarino (teeth of Navarino) is a 4 day trekking circuit on Isla Navarino, a large island on the southern side of the Beagle Channel from Tierra del Fuego. Isla Navarino (or Navarino Island in English) is Chilean territory and the only human settlement of any size is the naval base of Puerto Williams. This naval base also serves as the starting and ending point for the Navarino trek and despite the military purpose of the town, it has a civilian population and serves the needs of trekkers well. There are a few hostels offering budget accommodation for backpackers, and there are a couple of small stores from where food, trekking maps, gas and other trekking supplies can be obtained. I did this trek in Jan-Feb 2013. Here is some information and photos.

Getting There

The Isla Navarino is not far from Ushuaia and in summer there are daily crossings of the Beagle Channel by boat when weather permits. At least two companies operate the passage from Ushuaia to Puerto Williams. Because this involves crossing from Argentina into Chile or vice versa, immigration formalities must be completed at both ends before crossing. The boat crossing is between Ushuaia and the tiny locality of Puerto Navarino on the Chilean side, which is directly opposite Ushuaia. From Puerto Navarino a bus service transfers travellers the 50km along the coast to Puerto Williams.

In my case I was on a chartered boat for my preceding mountaineering expedition to the Darwin Range of western Tierra del Fuego. And we needed to stop on Isla Navarino anyway for immigration and customs before returning to Ushuaia. So my transport to the island was by chartered boat. After the trek I returned to Ushaia using the bus and speedboat option, which is easily arranged in Puerto Williams.

Puerto Williams

Puerto Williams is a naval base but there is an associated township. This is very small, but it has everything you need. There is accommodation, shops, and an ATM.


In Puerto Williams, a small map is available for purchase and this shows the trekking route in detail, along with campsites, distances, and other useful trekking information. Here is a small image of the map. Please don't use this one. Buy your own when you get to Puerto Williams:

Time Required

The trek can be done in 3-4 days although 4-5 days should be allowed due to the high probability of bad weather preventing you from continuing.

Time of Year and Weather

Navarino Island is at sub-antarctic latitude and awful weather can strike even in the height of summer. When I was there at the end of January an almighy storm lasting 2 night and one day struck, bringing snowfalls down to an altitude of 500m and making all trekking impossible. The weather is extremely variable with the full range of weather possible in the space of a couple of hours. High winds are common, as is snow. Rain is frequent. Blue sky is also a frequent occurrence due to the rain shadow effect of the mountains of Isla Hoeste further west.

December to March would seem to be the time of year when the trek is feasible and the passes mostly clear of snow.

The Route

Whilst the track is indistinct in places or possibly covered in snow, there are numbered posts which mark specific points on the trek and these points are shown on the map along with GPS coordinates, latitude and longitude etc. So the route is actually easy to follow with these marker posts and map. It is easy to lose the route however on the final day of the trek, between Laguna Guanacas and the coastal road.


You need a good windproof and weatherproof tent. You need to be completely self sufficient with food. You need a good warm sleeping bag and warm clothes as temperatures can drop below freezing even in summer.

Regarding footwear, light trekking shoes are adequate but your footwear will need to be warm enough for cold and wet conditions. Wellington boots are highly recommended for some of the route that is muddy, although due to rain shadowing, the route is not as muddy as western Tierra del Fuego or the treks in the wild country surrounding Ushuaia.


This is a fantastic trek in amazing windswept sub-antarctic landscape. Despite damage to the landscape by beavers, the area has a sense of true wildness and the Dientes of Navarino are spectacular.

My Itinerary

This is my itinerary. I took nearly 6 days to do the trek, mainly because I had the time, but also because of being weatherbound due to a storm for one full day during the trek.

Date Comments
29 Jan 2013 Arrived in Puerto Williams harbour late in the afternoon on the boat Iorana after sailing down the Beagle Channel from Estancia Yendegaia.
30 Jan 2013 Spent the morning in Puerto Williams preparing for the trek. Set off around lunch time on foot. Arrived at the start of the trek around 3pm. Left some ear and food at Cascada Robalo and then set off for Laguna Robalo - the low route following the river. Nice walk through forest. Camped in fine weather at Laguna Robalo.
31 Jan 2013 Rain during the night but a fine morning. Hiked up to Laguna del Salto and pitched tent at 11am. Set off with a day pack southwards along the high route to Cerro Bandera and back to the start of the trek again where I retrieved my stashed gear and hiked back along the high route and returned to the tent at Laguna del Salto. A convoluted way to start the trek but at least I completed both the high and low routes to Laguna del Salto and I was now positioned well for the remainder of the Navarino circuit.
1 Feb 2013 It turned suddenly colder during the night and it snowed or sleeted all day with high winds and lots of driving snow and rain. Remained stuck in tent all day at Laguna del Salto.
2 Feb 2013 Still cold but it had stopped snowing. Continued the trek over Paso Australia. Some walking on snow and rocky ground past high windswept lakes. Short side trips on ridges heading south. Southernmost point of trek reached, latitude 55 degrees south. Found a nice sheltered spot to camp among trees and near beaver dams.
3 Feb 2013 Very variable weather with all extremes. Pleasant walking past lakes and over small hills. Climbed over Paso Virginia, howling wind and amazing views. Nearly got blown off it, descended to Laguna Guanacos but it was still too windy so descended to more sheltered campsites near Laguna Guanacas.
4 Feb 2013 Wind raged throughout the night even though I was sheltered in northofagus forest. Wind abated early morning and it became a fine day. Trekked downward and northwards towards the coastal road, passing through boggy forest and farm country. Hiked the road into Puerto Williams and stayed at Refugio el Padrino in Puerto Williams.
5 Feb 2013 Bus to Puerto Navarino then inflatable speedboat across the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia. No wind and fine day for easy and fast crossing of the channel. Got a lift to the National Park west of Ushuaia. Camped at Camping Ensenada, a free campsite.
6 Feb 2013 Pleasant coastal walk in the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. Hiked to Baia Lapataia, got bus back to Ushuaia and stayed in hotel.
7 Feb 2013 Day in Ushuaia. Went on long run. 6:35pm flight to Buenos Aires and then onward connecting flight to Sydney.



30 Jan 2013 6:53pm

My campsite at Laguna Robalo after hiking up the Rio Robalo from Puerto Williams. The next photo shows the location of this campsite.

31 Jan 2013 9:30am

Climbing up towards Laguna del Salto. This is the view looking back to Laguna Robalo. My campsite of the night before was at the foot of the peninsula in this photo.

31 Jan 2013

Laguna del Salto. The camp sites are on the opposite site of the lake in this photo.

Laguna del Salto.
Laguna del Salto from higher up, as seen from the high route near the "No. 9" marker post.
Laguna del Salto (left) and Laguna Palachinque (right) from near marker No. 8.

31 Jan 2013 6:52pm.

My camp at Laguna del Salto. I spent a full day and 2 nights here because a severe storm blew in soon after this photo was taken.

2 Feb 2013 8:41am.

A whole day has passed and I'm still at Laguna del Salto! As you can see, fresh snow now dusts the surrounding hills. Today was clearer so I headed off.

2 Feb 2013 9:18am

Heading towards Paso Primero, south of Laguna del Salto.

From Paso Australia looking across to Paso de los Dientes with Laguna del Paso below.
Laguna del Paso.

2 Feb 2013 9:52am

Laguna del Paso.

Having crossed Paso de los Dientes there are now views down to the southern coast of Isla Navarino.


2 Feb 2013 12:14pm.

The spectacular Cerro Gabriel and Laguna de los Dientes below. This is close to the southernmost point of the trek as I am now on the southern side of the Dientes.

2 Feb 2013 1:28pm.

Views southwards to Lago Windhond and the coast.

Looking back at Laguna de los Dientes from a low ridge on which I did a short side trip.

3 Feb 2013 10:54am

Laguna Hermosa on a day of contrasting weather. A strong cold wind was blowing but there were moments like this of sunny weather.

3 Feb 2013 11:02am. Another picturesque lake. I am now heading northwards on the western leg of the Dientes circuit.
An old beaver dam with the Dientes in the background.

3 Feb 2013 1:45pm.

Beginning the climb of Paso Virginia. The weather is about to turn very windy and rain is coming.

3 Feb 2013 2:47pm.

At Paso Virginia, the wind is now incredible. Looking down at the windswept Laguna Guanacos with the Beagle Channel in the background.

Laguna Guanacos on the right and the view along the ridge from Paso Virginia. The wind was almost blowing me off this pass.

4 Feb 2013 11:17am

After a night of the wildest weather imaginable the next day was mild and sunny and I headed down through woodlands and boggy farm country to the coast road.

This was the end of the Dientes circuit of Navarino.


Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)

6 Feb 2013 11:02am

Back on Tierra del Fuego after a boat crossing of the Beagle Channel I returned to Ushuaia and then headed to the National Park to the west of Ushuaia. This national park is tame and touristy but featured a very pleasant coastal walk which was a nice way to end the trip.

6 Feb 2013 12:36pm

Sea birds.

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The End



All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2013. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.

Page created 15 May 2013, last updated 15 May 2013.