Salto Grande

Patagonia / Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes, Chile

About Salto Grande

Hiking Distance: 1.4km round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2007-12-26
Date last visited: 2007-12-26

Waterfall Latitude: -51.06781
Waterfall Longitude: -73.00622

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Salto Grande was definitely the prime waterfall attraction in Torres del Paine National Park as far as we were concerned.

What made this waterfall stand out to us was the force by which the outflow of the lake Lago Nordenskjöld funneled into a narrow chute in much the same powerful waterfalls like Huka Falls did.

Salto_Grande_090_12262007 - Salto Grande
Salto Grande

Also, the powder blue color of its waters from all the sediment embedded in the glacier-fed waters added to its scenic allure.

The watercourse would eventually feed the gorgeous Lago Pehoe, which was one of the prettier lakes that we saw in the Chilean side of Torres del Paine National Park.

Even though we didn’t think the waterfall’s height was overwhelming (it was probably about 15m tall or so), its tremendous power more than made up for it.

We definitely felt the butterflies in our stomachs as we walked up to its thunderous brink, and it even felt as if the ground was trembling with all that power flowing by us.

Salto_Grande_060_12262007 - Julie contemplating the frightening torrent and power of Salto Grande from its brink
Julie contemplating the frightening torrent and power of Salto Grande from its brink

Speaking of getting up to its brink, we were able to do so after partaking in a pretty easy hike.

The walk was pretty straight-forward as we left the well-defined car park and headed right towards the thunderous torrent along a well-established trail.

We were also able to view the falls from afar along the main road through the park.

However, I didn’t recall there being a pullout to get this view.

We basically slowed down to get a hasty roadside shot while no other car was around.

Sendero_Torres_del_Paine_021_12252007 - I believe the scenic Lago Pehoe was one of the sources of the Salto Grande
I believe the scenic Lago Pehoe was one of the sources of the Salto Grande

Had the weather been good and we had extra time (which we didn’t), we could have extended the 30-minute return hike into a 2-hour return hike by walking north towards the Mirador de Los Cuernos at the shores of Lago Nordenskjöld.

The reason why this would’ve been a good idea was that we could’ve gotten dramatic views of the horns of Paine rising sharply above the lake.


Salto Grande 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.

Cuernos_del_Paine_039_12242007 - The scenic drive we took to get to Salto Grande from Hosteria Tyndall
Salto_Grande_002_12242007 - Direct view of Salto Grande from across Lago Pehoe
Salto_Grande_006_12262007 - The car park for Salto Grande
Salto_Grande_007_12262007 - Starting the walk to Salto Grande
Salto_Grande_008_12262007 - Looking towards Lago Pehoe from the Salto Grande Trail
Salto_Grande_009_12262007 - Still on the short trail to Salto Grande
Salto_Grande_015_12262007 - Our first contextual look at the Salto Grande
Salto_Grande_027_12262007 - Julie making it to the brink of Salto Grande
Salto_Grande_078_12262007 - Full profile view of Salto Grande
Salto_Grande_095_12262007 - Another full context view of Salto Grande

It was about 26km from Hosteria Tyndall (where we were staying) to the car park for Salto Grande.

That took us about 35 minutes to drive this distance.

I recalled the driving route was pretty straightforward given the signage at the major junctions.

For context, Hosteria Pehoe within Lago Pehoe was the nearest accommodation to Salto Grande. This spot was 286km (or 4 hours drive not counting possible border crossing delays) from El Calafate, Argentina.

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Right to left sweep starting from Los Cuernos del Paine and ending downstream of the falls

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

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Upper Salto Grande (Waterfall) Torres del Paine N.P. Chilean Patagonia December 1, 2012 1:03 am by Andrew Waddington - I spent a week camped out on the side of this river bank in the hope of getting a photograph. It was a tough place to get to and despite being a National Park I think its inaccessibility makes it quite a unique image. The falls are lovely as are the beautiful mountains in the… ...Read More
Salto Grande Torres del Paine Chilean Patagonia December 1, 2012 12:52 am by Andrew Waddington - I spent a week on the far and much harder to reach side of the bank. It was worth it, I got two shots. ...Read More

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