After heavy runoff destroyed the bridge at Lago Paine’s outlet in the early 1980s, the Río Paine’s north shore became, and has remained, isolated from the rest of the park. A good road, though, still goes from Guardería Laguna Amarga to Laguna Azul’s east end, which holds a campground and cabañas, and to the Sendero Lago Paine, a four-hour walk to the lake and a simple refugio.
A trekkers’ alternative is the Sendero Desembocadura, which leads north from Guardería Laguna Amarga through open country to Laguna Azul’s west end and continues to Lago Paine, but this takes about eight hours. From Lago Paine’s north shore, the Sendero Lago Dickson (5.5 hours) leads to Dickson Glacier.
Several easy day hikes are possible near Guardería Lago Pehoé, directly on the road from Laguna Amarga to the visitors center. The short Sendero Salto Grande leads to the thunderous waterfall, at Lago Sarmiento’s outlet, that was the circuit’s starting point until 1986, when unprecedented runoff swept away the iron bridge to Península Pehoé. From Salto Grande, the slightly longer Sendero Mirador Nordenskjöld is still an easy walk to a lakeshore vista, directly opposite the stunning Cuernos del Paine .
From Guardería Lago Grey, 18 kilometers northwest of the Administración by road, a short footpath leads to a sandy beach on Lago Grey’s south shore, where steady westerlies often beach icebergs from Glaciar Grey. The longer and less visited Sendero Lago Pingo ascends the Río Pingo valley to its namesake lake (5.5–6 hours); a basic refugio and two free campgrounds are along the route.