Directly east of town, a footpath leads to a scenic overlook that’s part of Parque Cerro Santiago, Chile’s first municipal nature reserve. Hoping to attract adventurous hikers and climbers, local authorities have patched together a trail by signing existing forest paths to a backwoods shelter near the Ventisquero Mosco (Mosco Glacier).
Villa O’Higgins  lies in the broad valley of the Río Mayer, a prime trout stream. Just outside town, a southbound secondary road crosses the river on the Puente Colgante August Grosse, a 123-meter suspension bridge; from the bridge’s south side, an exposed zigzag trail leads west above Lago Ciervo, a scenic route that eventually drops onto the shore of Lago Negro, where camping is possible. With an early start, this can also be a long day hike, but the new trail is tiring because it conserves altitude poorly and is difficult to follow in a few spots.
To the west, the steeply rising peaks of the Campo de Hielo Sur, the southern Patagonian icecap, may be the next big thing for hikers for whom Torres del Paine  has become too tame. Beyond the bridge, the road continues south to Bahía Bahamóndez, where a new launch carries tourists up Lago O’Higgins to the Glaciar O’Higgins in a full-day excursion.
It is possible, however, to cross the Argentine border by taking the boat to the south end of Lago O’Higgins and making a long and sometimes difficult hike through rugged country to Laguna del Desierto. From this point there’s a road to the Argentine village of El Chaltén , in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares .