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Patagonian Rivers

Patagonian Rivers

  • 3 mins

Coming to Torres del Paine National Park means encountering a wealth of natural wonders that are in constant movement, from the winds that rock the trees and grass, to the colors of the sky that change as the day progresses, and, of course, the majestic rivers that flow from different areas of the national park. Today we want to tell you about the rivers of Patagonia that are born from the thawing ice, and which allow the day-to-day ecosystems here to flourish.

Patagonian Rivers: An Ecosystem in Motion

Inside the national park, you’ll encounter rivers of different sizes and shapes. You will probably have to cross some of them during your excursions in Torres del Paine. Let’s look at the four main rivers you’ll come across.

The Paine River

The Paine River, or Río Paine, begins in Lake Dickson, and is fed by the melting of the Dickson Glacier, located on the border between Chile and Argentina. It runs approximately 9 kilometers before reaching Paine Lake, where it emerges again from banks to the northwest.

Once the Paine River meets the Paine Lake, its current continues downstream and runs its course another 15 kilometers to Lake Nordenskjöld. It then drains into Lake Pehoe, before finally flowing into Lake Toro.

Patagonian Rivers: An Ecosystem in Motion

The Paine River is the most prominent river in Torres del Paine, christened by some as "the bloodstream of Patagonia".

The Grey River

This river emerges from Lake Grey, flowing through the Torres del Paine National Park to the southeast, and finally making its way into the Serrano River. Its waters come from the Southern Ice Fields and the Grey Glacier, which feed into Lake Grey.

In 2019, this river captured the attention of the national public when a puma was recorded swimming across.

The Serrano River

This river is approximately 38 kilometers long, and its currents allow for such activities as fly-fishing. Starting from Toro Lake and meandering through different parts of the park, it finally flows into the Última Esperanza, or ‘Last Hope’  inlet.

The areas surrounding this river are perfect for hiking and watching nature, with open spaces along its banks where you can take a break from your walk.

Patagonian Rivers: An Ecosystem in Motion

The Pingo River 

Also known as the Avutardas River, this current originates in Pingo Lake and flows southeast into the Grey River before merging into the Serrano River.

This river offers one of the most wonderful views in the park, with extensive forests along its banks, making a visit to the Pingo Valley an extraordinary experience.

Among the scenery that this river has to offer are the views of Paine Grande peak and the Olguín range, both majestic geographical monuments in Torres del Paine National Park.

One of the great attractions here are the rainbow trout– if you are lucky, you’ll be able to see them as they swim through its waters. It’s the perfect photo to take home with you.

Please remember that bathing in the rivers of Torres del Paine National Park is strictly forbidden. Don’t disturb the surrounding wildlife, don’t damage the local flora, and only drink the water if it is in motion. This way,  we’ll be able to continue enjoying the rivers that feed each part of the Torres del Paine National Park.

If you’d like to delve into Patagonia, cross rivers, and soak up adventures, check out all of our excursions here: