Salto Chico

Patagonia / Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes, Chile

About Salto Chico

Hiking Distance: 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2007-12-24
Date last visited: 2007-12-24

Waterfall Latitude: -51.11671
Waterfall Longitude: -72.99272

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Salto Chico was a small but powerful waterfall nestled beneath the luxury lodge Explora en Patagonia.

What really made this falls so attractive were the gorgeous Chilean Patagonia peaks providing the scenic backdrop that would make anything fronting it photoworthy.

Salto_Chico_011_12242007 - Salto Chico fronting part of the Cuernos del Paine
Salto Chico fronting part of the Cuernos del Paine

Since the falls drained Lago Pehoé, its glacially fed meltwaters also tinged the water the familiar powder blue, which was an obvious indication of the sediment-rich nature of glacier-fed watercourses.

The only thing that took away from the scenic allure was the hideous building next to the base of the waterfall.

It was especially annoying since the structure kind of blocked our ability to see all of the falls from closer to its base (see photo above).

That said, the edifice was apparently a hydroelectric contraption to help supply the neighboring luxury lodge with power.

I’d also imagine the source of the freshwater there might also come from some minor water diversion as well.

Explora_en_Patagonia_011_12242007 - Julie on the boardwalk soaking in the tremendous panoramas of the Curenos del Paine and Lago Pehoe as we were done checking out Salto Chico
Julie on the boardwalk soaking in the tremendous panoramas of the Curenos del Paine and Lago Pehoe as we were done checking out Salto Chico

I guess with petrol being far away in a place like Patagonia, these bits of infrastructure were necessary in order to even have a resort here.

We were able to reach the waterfall from the Explora en Patagonia property.

It was easy for us to forget about this waterfall considering the commanding panoramas of the Paine Massif and Los Cuernos del Paine over the aqua-bluegreen glacial lake that were everpresent regardless of where we stood on the property.

Indeed, we were easily lost in thought here simply staring at the falls, feeling the Patagonian winds, listening to the falls thunderously tumbling towards calmer waters, and gazing at the gorgeous panoramas all around us.


Salto Chico resides in Torres del Paine National Park near Torres del Paine Village in Patagonian Chile. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, the closest authoritative source of information that I could find was at the Torres del Paine National Park website.

Salto_Chico_007_12242007 - Just to give you an idea of how close Salto Chico was to Explora en Patagonia, this was the view looking back towards Explora and the Cuernos del Paine from the top of Salto Chico
Salto_Chico_016_12242007 - Looking over Salto Chico towards Lago Pehoe and the Paine Massif
Salto_Chico_001_jx_12242007 - Focused look at the powerful Salto Chico and power generation station specific for the Explora en Patagonia property
Salto_Chico_021_12242007 - After having our fill of Salto Chico, we only had to do a short stroll to go back to Explora en Patagonia

Salto Chico and Explora en Patagonia was about 18km north of Hosteria Tyndall (where we were staying) on the main road or about 8km south of Salto Grande.

It’s near the outflow of the scenic Lago Pehoé.

For context, Explora en Patagonia in the general Torres del Paine area was about 289km (about 4 hours drive not counting possible border crossing delays) south and west of El Calafate, Argentina.

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Tagged with: torres del paine, explora, patagonia, chile, lago pehoe, magallanes, waterfall

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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