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Torres del Paine W Trek

All Inclusive Programs

All You Need to Know About Hiking the W – Right Here

Self Guided or Guided

Refugios, Reservations and Itineraries 

Open for Season 2022 – 2023

 

Custom Patagonia Experiences 

 

 

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 Torres del Paine W Trek

All Inclusive Programs

Itinerary and Trek Information

Introduction to the W Trek Path of Torres del Paine

If you had to pick one of the greatest hiking trails in the world, then the Torres del Paine W Trek would likely be the choice. The outstanding W Trek trail is iconic to Torres del Paine and a key destination for those coming to Patagonia. In addition, it has gained a reputation for being an incredible walk through a stunning, scenic wilderness.

This trek is usually done in 4 nights and 5 days but can be done faster over 3 nights and 4 days. Also considering that accommodation and meals are provided you have no need to carry a heavy backpack, except for your key essentials.

Accommodation is in refugios with dorm rooms and bunk beds, or at fully serviced camping, however, we can also offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms at strategically located hotels in the park as well as the Eco Camp or Patagonia Yurt Camp.

In addition, should you prefer to stay at a luxury lodge and do different legs of the W Trek each day, then that is also an option that many of our clients prefer.

Therefore, we are pleased to detail what this trek is all about further below.

Email Us: request@experiencechile.org for W Trek reservations or for a custom itinerary.

Q. Where is the Torres del Paine W Trek?

The W Trek is in the middle of the National Park Torres del Paine, which is in southern Patagonia, in Southern Chile.

Q. Why Hike the Torres del Paine W Trek?

The Torres del Paine W Trek is so popular because it is set within a truly outstanding area of natural beauty and offers walkers a moderately challenging path to negotiate. In addition, its length is broken into manageable segments marked by hostels where there is accommodation and food available.

Q. Where is Patagonia?

Patagonia is located in the far south of South America, occupying the final “cone” part of the continent. As a matter of fact, this area is still, fortunately, a stunningly natural environment with little in the way of human urbanization. On the positive side, here there are vast open spaces of wilderness where land, lakes, rivers, mountains and wildlife still interreact in harmony with one another. It is within this beautiful and dramatically inspiring land where one can feel in awe of nature and discover a spiritual awakening of oneself.

An All-Inclusive Torres del Paine W Trek Itinerary

Refugios or Camping, All Meals, Park Entry Tickets, Catamaran and Bus Included

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Q. Why is the W Trek Called the W Trek?

It should be noted that the name “W Trek” is derived from the “W” shape of the trail within the central massif of the Torres Del Paine National Park, when viewed down upon from above. To illustrate the point, it is the outer and middle lines of a “W” that define where the trail enters the key valleys of the trek.

Q. How do I get to the Torres del Paine W Trek?

Coming From Santiago

To get to Torres del Paine and the W Trek you will need to fly into Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales from Santiago.

From El Calafate

Alternatively, you can come over the border from El Calafate, in Argentina, by road.

It should be noted that the road transfer from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales is 3hrs. In this event it is usually a good idea to have a night in Puerto Natales to rest and enjoy this settlement, which is located beside a fiord and surrounded by lovely scenery. In the event that you arrive to Puerto Natales directly from Santiago, a night in the village is also a good idea.

Starting From Puerto Natales

After that, the road transfer into Torres del Paine is either 1hr to get to the western end of the Park (not the W), and 2hrs to get to the eastern side, where Laguna Amarga is located. Then you need to get to the relevant trail head via Laguna Amarga and on the Welcome Centre, or Pudeto to take the catamaran across to Refugio Paine Grande, or even to Hotel Las Torres to take the boat across to Refugio Grey.

Flights Landing in Puerto Natales

In general flights into Puerto Natales only occur on certain days of the week in the high season.

Here is the daily flight schedule for Season 2022-23 for flights from Santiago.

SKY – TUE / WED / FRI / SAT / SUN

LATAM – TUE / THURS / FRI / SAT / SUN

JET SMART – MON / FRI

Q. Why Come to Torres del Paine?

Torres del Paine is not for everyone. For example, if you want a holiday in the sunshine at a coastal resort then Patagonia is not really going to be the place for you. However, if you love the outdoors, enjoy raw nature, and get pleasure from spectacular, geographic views as well as want an active holiday, then Torres del Paine, and the W Trek especially, will give you all of this.

Trekking Advice

Before embarking on any trekking ask yourself if you are reasonably fit, health wise, for example be used to long walks and take trekking poles too. The use of poles helps a lot with regard to the exertion of force when walking. You also need to have the right footwear and clothing (see our “what clothes to pack”, that includes an illustration, in the drop-down menu below).

Waterproof outer garments and waterproof footwear is highly recommendable.

Q. What Clothes Should I Pack for the W Trek?

Patagonia Trekking

Suggestion on What to Pack in Your Luggage 

What we aim to do here is advise you on what to pack in you suitcase and bring with you when coming to any part of Patagonia, be it land or sea. The weather here has one constant, which is change! It is often windy and it can rain or offer beautiful sunshine within the space of an hour. Therefore, please bring the right clothing to keep yourself dry and warm. Further below there is a graphic detailing what you should, ideally, bring with you.

Layered Clothing is the Answer

Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.

Above all, travel light. Take a minimal backpack for the trek.

Suggested Clothes to Wear

Please see our dedicated “Clothes to Bring” illustration below (scroll down).

On Your Feet

To begin with you need “hiking boots”. In other words, boots that are durable, but strong and especially WATERPROOF. If you have gaiters also bring these.

In addition, a pair of flip flops for indoors. It should be noted that the refugios demand that you take off outdoor footwear when you enter the building.

By the same token, bring socks that are for hiking use, that fit well within your hiking boots, and maybe 3 pairs. These socks should be a little thicker than your normal socks.

Over Your Legs

For the purpose of practicality, hiking pants as well as a waterproof outer shell to go over your hiking pants if it rains are the best option. In addition, optional underwear such as synthetic leggings to go under your trekking pants are also useful if it gets cold.

For Your Upper Body

Most important, here you need to have “layered” clothing. This is because you get hot when trekking, therefore you need to be able to take layers off as well as put them on when you cool down.

Ideally, you will need a long sleeved under vest. This should be in a synthetic material. Why? Because you will sweat when you trek and the synthetic material will dry more quickly than cotton material. If you are trekking in the summer and it is hot, you may not need to wear this undervest, but take one anyway in case the weather changes to be cold.

Over the under vest, you will need a shirt, long sleeved ideally. Therefore, this can be considered to be a second layer.

Covering your second layer you need a fleece or similar, ideally with a front zipper so you can undo it or close it up with ease.

Finally, to cover everything you will need an outer jacket with a hood, and this needs to be waterproof and if is not, take another outer shell which is waterproof.

Around Your Neck

Even if the rest of your body is covered and snug, bring a scarf or neck muff – this is very useful if it is cold, and easily taken off if it is hot.

Covering Your Hands

Don’t forget your gloves! These are required specifically for when you are close to ice, like Glacier Grey or even at the Torres Base, where the air is cold. Again, waterproof is the way to go.

On Top of Your Head

Bring a head band to cover the ears – because they can get very cold. In addition, try to bring a hat like a woollen “beanie”.

Protection from the Sun

Pack the sunscreen cream

For When you are Thirsty

Bring a water Bottle

To Protect Your Eyes

Pack a pair of sunglasses. The light reflection from glaciers, snow and just brightly lit days can be strong.

Other Useful Items to Include in Your Luggage

Portable USB Charger

Travel Towel

To help with sleeping when in a shared accommodation environment: ear Plugs, eye mask and maybe sleeping pills.

Cash

Credit Card

Passport for check-in

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Suggestions and Info for When you Hike the Torres del Paine W Trek Trail

Below is a list of items and tips that we feel will enable you to enjoy your W Trek even better:

Trekking Poles

Certainly, if you have them it is a good idea to take trekking poles with you. Specifically, they help a lot with preserving walking energy and are useful in certain circumstances as an extra source of support.

Food

All things considered; all of our Torres del Paine W Trek all-inclusive programs will include three meals a day. For example, and in this order: Cooked Dinner, Breakfast and a box lunch to go. In addition, there will be liquids by way of water and juices.  However, although you will also find snacks in the box lunch, you may wish to add your own snacks to nibble on during the hike.

Electricity at the Refugios

Above all, you need to consider that you will be in the wilderness, in remote areas. Therefore, do not expect home comforts at refugios such as charging points for phones and computers. By the way, the electricity in Chile is 220v.

Binoculars

Another key point is to bring some binoculars, they will be useful for really zooming in on any wildlife you spot.

Wi Fi

Once in a while Wi Fi will be available at some refugios, but do not depend on it.

Safety

Above all, you will be responsible for your own safety whilst trekking. Therefore, you need to be sensible and very careful whilst walking. For example, if you end up with a sprained ankle, or broken leg, you could be waiting for an extremely long time for help. Moreover, this could be very serious if you happen to be out of sight of other trekkers, so walk at a safe pace for yourself.

Peak Season the Torres del Paine W Trek

Generally, the busiest months in Torres del Paine are December, January and February. Therefore, the trekking route, and Torres Del Paine National Park, will be more crowded during this time.

On the other hand, October, November, March and April are normally the best months to embark on the W-Trek. If your schedule is flexible, we recommend visiting the park in April because it is quieter and there is less wind.

Book Six Months to a Year Ahead

All bookings should, ideally, be made up to six months, or longer, like a year in advance in order to secure your spot. In brief, Torres del Paine W Trek reservations can be made through us. However, if you have limited time, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can build a custom travel itinerary that suits your exact needs.

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

Torres del Paine W Trek Low-Season

It should be noted that the winter months of Chilean Patagonia (late April to early September) present challenges to itinerary design that need to be worked around. For example, the days are shorter and the weather is generally colder, leading to a high likelihood of snow on the roads and trails.

Un-guided tours are not available as a result and many hostels scale back their opening hours and services offered to compensate for the reduced quantity of tourists. However, if the Patagonian winter is still the only time you can make it, or you just love a challenge, we can still easily create your custom itinerary to work around these restrictions.

Nonetheless, many people love Torres del Paine in the Winter – it is far quieter than in the summer.

Our Direct Request Email is: request@experiencechile.org

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Q. How Much Does it Cost to do an All-Inclusive W Trek Program?

The cost for the season 2022-23, for a 4-night, all-inclusive trek, with accommodation, food, park entry tickets, catamaran ticket and bus tickets is from USD1,395 per person. This will be higher in 2023-24.

Q. What is Included in the 4 Night All-Inclusive W Trek Program?

Included in the W Trek, all-inclusive 4 Night program is:

Regular Bus Transfer in and Out of TDP from Puerto Natales.

4 Nights’ Accommodation in Refugios, or Serviced Camping on the W Trek Trail.

Bunk Bed with Bedding Included.

Serviced Camping Includes: Tent, Ground Mat, Sleeping Bag.

All Meals in this order: Hot Dinner, Breakfast and Box Lunch.

One Catamaran Trip Between Pudeto and Paine Grande.

Entrance Tickets into Torres del Paine.

NOT Included:

Guide (but available as an extra if required)

Medical Insurance

Travel Insurance

Tips

Drinks at Dinner

Any Other Extra Services unless Requested as extras.

Q. When is the Torres del Paine W Trek Open?

The Torres del Paine W Trek Trail is open from October through to April each season, with occasional extensions each end depending on demand and local suppliers’ preparation.

Q. What are the Iconic Destinations on the Torres del Paine W Trek?

There iconic destinations on the W Trek are:

The Torres Base, the French Valley and Glacier Grey. These are in three, different valleys along the trail. For example:

On the western side is Grey Lake, at the end of which is the Grey Glacier, where people can kayak and trek on top of the ice.

In the middle of the trail is the French Valley, where the scenery is stunning.

Finally, as we are going from West to East with this explanation, in the east is the Ascensio Valley and at the end, which is also the top, of this valley are the three, vertical spires known as “The Torres”. At the foot of these towers is a lagoon and viewpoint and this is known as “the Torres Base”.

Below is the Sunrise Reflecting on the Cuernos and Torres of Paine

The last time when our staff were in Torres del Paine, we took this photo below:

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The Above Torres del Paine Picture

As can be seen in the above picture, the beautiful orange colours of the sunrise reflect off the clouds as well as the light hitting the Torres behind the Cuernos (the foreground mountains).

First thing to remember is that the W Trek Trail is nestled at the foot of the Central Massif seen in the photo above and extends around to follow the shores of Grey Lake on the west, and into the French Valley in the middle (the part in between the giant Cuernos Mountain and the Paine Mountain), and then up and along the Ascensio Valley on the east that leads to the vertical, granite towers at the end. That is the path known as the W Trek and, in length, is about 63km (39 miles). This trail is broken into manageable hiking sectors, marked by accommodation lodges (or hostels), where hikers can rest and eat.

Trail Map Below

To illustrate the W Trek Trail as clearly as possible we have published a map below. As can be seen, the map below shows the W Trek in its entirety along with the accommodation stop off places. In addition, below this map is a chart showing the inclines and distances of the trail.

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Q. Is it possible to do it on my own or should I join a group?

We provide itineraries for solo travellers, couples and groups of all sizes, so don’t be discouraged if you’re apprehensive about going it alone.

If you’d like an experienced guide for your trip, get in touch and we can organize this for you for an additional fee. However, if you’re the adventurous type you’re more than welcome to tackle the W-Trek unguided.

Q. What kind of equipment will I need to do the W Trek?

We recommend bringing high-quality hiking boots, windproof and waterproof coats, sturdy ergonomic waterproof backpacks for hiking and plenty of water receptacles. If you need guidance on what to bring with you, please get in touch and we’re happy to provide more detailed information.

Q. Is W Trek Trek Difficult to Hike?

The W Trek is not particularly difficult to hike, although in some sectors the trail can be steep, narrow and slippery. It is important that you are physically in good shape and accustomed to long walks of several hours each day.

Q. What are the best accommodation choices?

Accommodation is basically split into two categories: Refugios (or hostels) on the actual trek, and hotels positioned around the Park.

However, there is also luxury camping and high-end luxury hotel lodges to be found in strategically-positioned places around the Park that give incredible, dramatic views of the Torres del Paine Central Masiff. The most popular choices for trekkers on the W Trek are either a refugio (hostel) or serviced camping.

Today & Five Day Forecast (C°)
Torres del Paine National Park

Date in Month/Day

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What about The Torres del Paine O Circuit?

Although we talk about the W Trek, you may have heard about the other popular trek in the Torres Del Paine National Park, the “O Trek”. The O Trek is a longer and generally more demanding trek that incorporates the W Trek route as well.  Moreover, this trek will take you off to more remote areas with even fewer traces of human life.

The Full Circuit Trek for Experienced Trekkers

Recommended for experienced trekkers only, the O Trek will take between seven to nine days and require you to camp at a serviced campsite.  Important to note is that all gear and camping equipment is included as part of the program, so you won’t need to worry about bringing your own.

Moreover, if you embark on the O Trek then you’ll be blessed with unique views of the Grey Lake and the Southern Patagonian ice field.

For more information on the O Trek, head to our dedicated FULL O CIRCUIT TREK page now!

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Our Email is: request@experiencechile.org

Q. How Long Does it Take to Walk the W?

In order to walk the full length of the W trek you need 5 days, however, this can also be done in a shorter period if you opt for the “Express” trek and cut it short. In terms of distance the trail measures around 62.7km from one end to the other, including entering the French Valley.

Q. Why is the W Trek so Popular?

The Torres del Paine W Trek is so popular because it offers a combination of a healthy walk along a path that can, in parts, demand more from you in terms of energy; a trail surrounded by dramatic and spectacular views in all directions as well as offering entry into the heart of some of the most impressive geological sights on Earth. Particularly, the three valleys the trail incorporates each lead to an iconic sight. In its entirety, it is a stunning outdoor experience.

Arranging the Torres del Paine W Trek for You

Here at ExperienceChile.Org our sole focus is to create and provide you with a custom-made Torres del Paine W Trek itinerary that fits together with the other places you wish to visit in Patagonia. In short, all you need to do is supply us with dates, numbers of people and your priority regarding accommodation options.

For example, maybe you prefer only refugios, or only serviced camping, or a mix; and then possibly you want the cabins at Cuernos. However, maybe you want top-end comfort?

For custom-built Torres del Paine W Trek itineraries, email us… request@experiencechile.org

Q. What activities can I add on to my W Trek?

Torres Del Paine national park is rife with additional activities for you to incorporate into your custom itinerary. If you would like to get involved in some kayaking or ice-hiking, just mention this to our travel experts and we’ll do our best to incorporate it.

Q. Why Would I need a guide for the W Trek?

A guide is not essential to the experience as the path is generally well-populated and well marked, however many of our customers who are first-time trekkers say that booking a guide is one of the best decisions they made for the trip. In addition, if you are a group of 6 or more people you do need to hire a local guide because of Park regulations.

The guide’s knowledge of the area and its history can really add to your experience. Also, having the responsibility of navigating in someone else’s hands will help you relax so you can just focus on the views and putting one foot in front of the other.

Q. What kind of pace do the guides set?

The guided tour is just that, guided. However, the pace of the trek is totally dependent on the speed of the slowest member. In general, guides will hike at the front of the group and make sure the group is comfortable with the pace.

Guides will also have a series of viewpoints or miradors planned out in advance, which serve as opportunities for an extended rest. If you need a slower pace than average, let us know ahead of time and we will make sure that we accommodate that in your itinerary.

Q. Where is the wildlife can I expect to see in Torres del Paine?

The main wildlife you can expect to see when hiking in Torres del Paine includes Guanacos, which are close cousins of the Peruvian llamas, and these are often seen in Eastern sector of the Park.

In addition, there is South America’s iconic wildlife like the condor, huemul deer, armadillo and many other recognizable creatures are all found in Torres del Paine National Park.

Above all, just make sure to bring some binoculars if you want a good view of condors!

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Which Direction on the W Trek Trail is Best to Hike?

Most important is to decide on which direction you want to hike the W Trek Trail. For this reason, many clients ask us, “is it better to hike west to east, or east to west?”. Basically, our reply is that in reality is does not matter that much. Markedly, the only real difference is that the prevailing winds usually blow from west to east. Therefore, if walking west to east the wind will, mostly, be behind you. However, the direction you will be able to walk will, mostly, be determined by the availability in the various refugios and serviced camping sites.

Looking Down

Moreover, much of the time is spent looking down at the trail ahead of you, therefore, unless you take time to stop and appreciate what is around it does not matter which direction you walk. In addition, if you do take your time, and stop to look around, you will see all that there is to see wherever you have started from.

To illustrate the W Trek Trail as clearly as possible we have published a map below. As can be seen, the map below shows the W Trek in its entirety along with the accommodation stop off places. In addition, below this map is a chart showing the inclines and distances of the trail.

Plan for Logistics

If hiking east to west, you will need to arrive to the Laguna Amarga entrance in Torres del Paine. Whereas, if hiking west to east, you will need to arrive to Refugio Grey either by boat from Hotel Grey, or get to Refugio Paine Grande by catamaran from Pudeto and then walk to Refugio Grey.

There is also an option coming from either the east or the west, which is to start at Paine Grande or end at Paine Grande, making the trek an “express” 3-night itinerary, opposed to the usual 4-night itinerary.

W Trek Trail Sector Itinerary Descriptions Below

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

For Even More Description Information Please Click Through Here:

Torres del Paine W Trek West to East / and W Trail East to West

Torres del Paine W Trek Itinerary Description East to West

Day 1 - Trek to the Torres Base (East to West Direction)

Hiking the Torres del Paine W Trek Trail East to West

The Eastern End

Sector 1, Day 1, Night 1

Trek to the Torres Base

Above all the Torres Base is the viewpoint at the foot of the three vertically-sided, “needle” like towers of granite. This is one of the iconic sights and destinations to get to on the W Trek trail.​

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Torres Base

Start from the Eastern Sector: From one of these points: ECO Camp, Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Torre Central or Norte. Also, from the Welcome Centre.

End in the Eastern Sector: After getting to the Torres Base, you can trek back down and either stay at Refugio Chileno, or return to the Welcome Centre, Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Central, Refugio Norte, or ECO Camp.

Difficulty: Medium to High. This portion of the trail has a lot of uphill sections, and you’ll have to navigate your way up and around large boulders during the final 1hr prior to arrival to the Torres Base.

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit, be able to have the energy to walk up some steep segments as well as navigate past some large boulders, go through narrow passages and be used to long walks.

Highest Point: 870m above sea level.

Trek Distance and Time

Welcome Centre area to Refugio Chileno: 6.1km / 2.5hrs

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Torres del Paine Trail Map Showing Path from Central to Chileno and Torres Base

 

Trail Description

Hiking up to and through the Ascensio Valley

To begin with we will start at a point just behind the Hotel Las Torres where there is a short suspension, foot bridge. Thereafter, from this point, heading in the direction towards Refugio Chileno and the eventual Torres Base, involves walking uphill, steep in parts, for about 1 hour and 15 mins on a steady incline, until you get to a sharp bend where the Ascensio Valley officially begins.

Sharp Bend

Specifically, at this bend, there are times when the colder air coming down from the higher elevations is “squeezed” as it comes through the narrow valley, and this results in very strong winds exiting the valley. Therefore, at this bend the wind can be ferocious, so you need to be careful. However, once passed this corner the trekking through the valley is mainly downhill towards Refugio Chileno and this will take around 45 minutes.

Halfway Point at Refugio Chileno

Located 2.5hrs from the Welcome Centre area, or 2hrs from Hotel Las Torres is Refugio Chileno. For this reason, the Refugio marks the half-way point going up to the Torres Base. Furthermore, this is an ideal place to drop off bags if you are staying here the night, or to stop for a short rest. In addition, here you can get a coffee, or other hot drink like hot chocolate as well as some biscuits.

In the event that you have spent the previous night at Refugio Chileno you may wish to do what so many people “strive” to accomplish, which is to get to the Torres Base for the summer sunrise. To this end it means departing Refugio Chileno maybe at 04:00hrs in the summer months, for the 2hrs trek up to the viewpoint at the Torres Base to catch the sun coming up and seeing its rays reflect off the gigantic towers.

Trek Distance and Time

Refugio Chileno to the Torres Base: 4.8km / 2hrs

Trail Description

First thing to remember is that this part of the trail involves two, distinct sectors. First, is the forest. Second, is the glacial moraine part. All things considered, departing from Refugio Chileno, allow about 1 hour to get to the glacial moraine sector.

During the first part of the hike, you will walk across two river crossings and through a dense beech, tree forest with over 100-year-old trees.

Glacial Moraine

From the point where the glacial moraine is located, the trek will take about 1hr to the Torres Base and involve climbing up and over large boulders that are strewn either side of the narrow path that navigates between them. In addition, this part of the trek heads north towards the Torres Base (the “Mirador”), which means that the wind is usually head-on, making this portion of the trek more difficult than it would normally be.

Arrival to the Torre Base

Once you have surmounted the brow of the steep ascent and exit the final bend on the trail, you will see the sky-high ‘towers’ and a stunning, blue-coloured lake at their base.

Having made it to this point, most people take about half an hour to relax, enjoy some food and take in the view.

After that, when you’re done soaking up the scenery, you’ll head back the way you came up; stopping by Refugio Chileno if you wish, unless you are staying the night there. However, if you are sleeping at the refugio, after a full day trekking a home-cooked hot meal is offered here, or further down at Hotel Las Torres there is a restaurant that offers more, traditional, restaurant level food.

Suggestions

The total return distance of this trail, if coming from the trail head by the Welcome Centre, to the Torres Base and back is around 21.8km. Therefore, in order to break this, most people opt to stay at Refugio Chileno for the night either before going to the Torres Base or on the way back from the Base. However, this option will depend totally on availability in the refugio, which must be prebooked.

Departure Accommodation

A  – Hotel Las Torres offers mid-level style, private rooms with en-suite bathrooms and hotel restaurant.

B – Refugio Las Torres Central offers dorm rooms with bunk beds and canteen-style restaurant.

C – Next to Central is the Refugio Las Torres Norte which offers dorm rooms with bunk beds, and meals are taken at Refugio Central.

D – ECO Camp is a luxury camping product offering up-market “Bedouin-style” dome-framed tents ranging from standard to superior and suite categories. Meals are taken in a large, communal “tent” where there is a lounge and small shop too.

E – Refugio Chileno is a hostel with dorm rooms and bunk beds, with a communal room for canteen-style dining.

Day 2 - Trek to Cuernos or Frances (East to West Direction)

Eastern Side of The Middle Part

Sector 2, Day 2, Night 2

Important to note that this area of the trail is either for a logistical rest, as in you “have” to stay here a night, or it is to set you up for the hike into the French Valley the next day.

 

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail View of Cuernos During the Trek

Start from: You can start from Refugio Chileno, Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Torre Central, Refugio Torre Norte, the welcome centre or the Eco Camp.

End at: Cabañas Cuernos, Refugio Cuernos or Domos Frances.

Difficulty: Medium.

Trek Distance and Time:

Refugio Chileno to Refugio, or Cabaña Cuernos: 11.3km / 5hrs

Hotel Las Torres to Refugio, or Cabaña Cuernos: 11.7km / 5hrs

ECO Camp or Welcome Centre to Refugio or Cabaña Cuernos: 13.7km / 6hrs

Domos Frances is a further 3.5km past the Cuernos area – 1hr past Refugio Cuernos.

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit and used to long walks.

Highest Point: 550m above sea level.

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Torres del Paine Trail Map Chileno to Cuernos and Frances

Trail Description

To begin with this trail passes alongside the northern shore of the Nordenskjöld Lake. Therefore, you’ll get to see its dazzling turquoise-blue water whilst glancing at the stunning granite peaks of Los Cuernos.

Another key point is that this hike has some small hills to negotiate, but you’ll be met with spectacular views each time you reach the top of each one. It should be noted that just before you get to Refugio/Cabanas Cuernos you’ll pass through a beech-tree wood.

Domos Frances

In order to get to Domos Frances you continue for a further 1hr along the trail beyond Cuernos, heading towards the entrance to the French Valley and you will come across Domos Frances.

Arrival Accommodation

A – Refugio Cuernos is a hostel with dorm rooms and bunk beds. Meals are served in a communal room in a canteen style.

B – Cabañas Cuernos are individual, private cabins with capacity for up to three people, with a small log-burning fire and outside deck, from which you can sit and admire the view to the lake. 

C – Domos Frances is a set of large dome-framed modules within which are partitioned bunk beds. Meals are taken in a communal dome.

Day 3 - Trek to Paine Grande via the French Valley (East to West Direction)

Western Side of the Middle Part – The French Valley

Sector 3, Day 3, Night 3

For one thing the middle part of the W Trek includes the French Valley. It should be noted that this valley is between the immense mountains of Paine and Cuernos. Consequently, either side of the trail there is the sight of dramatically visual hanging glaciers, vertically-sided walls of rock and forests. It is one of the three iconic destinations on the W Trek trail.

Trekkers have the option to enter or avoid this iconic part of the trail, and head directly to Refugio Paine Grande.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail in the French Valley

 

Start from: Cabañas or Refugio Cuernos. Alternatively, you can begin from Domos Frances.

End at: Refugio Paine Grande.

Difficulty: Medium to High – if entering into the French Valley.

Trek Distances and Time:

From Cabañas or Refugio Cuernos to:

Entrance to the French Valley: 8km / 2hrs

From the Entrance of the French Valley to Camp Britanico and Back: 10km / 5hrs

Direct to Refugio Paine Grande: 14.1km / 5hrs

To Paine Grande via the French Valley: 24.1km / 10hrs

From Domos Frances to:

The Entrance to the French Valley: 4.5km / 1hr

Then, From the Entrance of the French Valley to Camp Britanico and Back: 10km / 5hrs

Direct to Refugio Paine Grande: 10.6km / 4hrs

To Paine Grande via the French Valley: 20.6km / 9hrs

French Valley Entrance (Camp Italiano) to:

Refugio Paine Grande: 7.8km / 2.5hrs

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit and used to long walks. However, if entering the French Valley you will need to be physically in good shape to trek up steep hills and over slippery parts.

Highest Point: 754m above sea level.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Cuernos and Frances vis French Valley to Paine Grande

Trail Description

Given that you will be coming from either Refugio (or Cabins) Cuernos, or Domos Frances, this part of the trek will border the lovely, turquoise-coloured Nordenskjöld lake on the left, offering delightful views over the lake, the hills the other side and then more of the Patagonia landscape in the distance.

 Thereafter, about 1hr past Domos Frances you will come across the CONAF camping site (no services here). Moreover, this point also marks the entrance to the French Valley. However, there is also a CONAF ranger hut here where people often leave their loaded back packs, and take with them a smaller, and lighter day pack to trek into the French Valley.

The French Valley

To illustrate where the French Valley is on the map, when looking at the “W” trail shape, the French Valley is the middle part of the letter (the “A” part without the horizontal bit). Most important is that if you enter this trail (it is optional, because you can ignore it and go straight on to Refugio Paine Grande), you will need to hike up a steep uphill segment, that can be wet, or damp and, therefore, also slippery.

However, once past this area the trail it flattens a little, and it will eventually lead to the end of the valley where the Camp Britanico is located. It should be noted that this is a camp area only for specialist mountain climbers, who need permits to climb. Moreover, at this point the altitude is 900m above sea level.

In the Valley

The valley is known for its hanging glaciers and dramatic, vertical rock formations. Above all, if the sky is clear, the views in this area are amazing, especially around the Britanico campsite.

Most important, for the return trek you need to keep an eye on the time and if required backtrack to Camp Italiano earlier than planned if required. In brief, it is important to not be trekking the trail in the dark. From this point (at Camp Italiano), you’ll turn to the right, coming out from the French Valley, if you’re you are going to Refugio Paine Grande. Therefore, you will travel across a footbridge over the Frances River and then the trail levels out until you reach the refugio Paine Grande. It will take about 2.5hrs to get to Paine Grande from this foot bridge.

 

Arrival Accommodation:

Refugio Paine Grande is a large hostel comprising dorm rooms and bunk beds. It has a bar and large, canteen style restaurant as well as a small minimarket.

Day 4 - Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey (East to West Direction)

Western End

Sector 4, Day 4, Night 4

Specifically, this is the area where Grey Lake and the Grey Glacier are located.

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Torres del Paine W Trek View of Grey Lake and Glacier in the Distance

Start from: Refugio Paine Grande

End at: Refugio Grey

Difficulty: Medium.

Trek Distances and Time: 11.6km / 4hrs

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit and used to long walks.

Highest Point: 257m above sea level.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey

Trail Description

Now that you are on the final part of the W Trek, you’ll begin your trek from Paine Grande, where the trail will immediately ascend in a meandering upward pattern to negotiate the steep hill. Straightaway just past the summit the path flattens out and passes through a wooded area and here the altitude is 257m above sea level. Then, if you’re lucky you may even hear the sounds of the Magellan Woodpecker!  It should be noted that although the climb is initially gradual it will become steeper the closer you get to the peak.

Once past the wooded area the trail heads down towards Grey Lake. All things considered, in parts the path is narrow and steep, however, when it is alongside the lake it is largely level.

Mirador Grey

Another key point to this trail is that there is a viewpoint called “mirador Grey” (Grey lookout) from where a fine, panoramic view over Grey Lake and Grey Glacier in the distance can be admired (see photo below).

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Torres del Paine W Trek Mirador Grey

However, some people, on a short trek, will get to this viewpoint and then turn back to Paine Grande. This view, for most, is beautiful and “jaw dropping”.

Glacier Grey

Most importantly, Glacier Grey in the distance comes down from the vast Southern Ice Field that covers the southern sector of the Andes mountains. Moreover, it is the third largest area of land ice after Antarctica and Greenland. Unfortunately, measurements show that Glacier Grey, as it moves on average 25cm forward each day, is also losing its height in terms of ice cover to the staggering amount of just under 3.5 metres (11ft) each year.

After your night at Refugio Grey, you have the option to do some kayaking and / or ice hiking on the glacier (both of these activities must be prebooked, and this can be done via ExperienceChile.Org).

Arrival Accommodation

Refugio Grey is a “modern” hiker’s hostel with comfortable dorm rooms, indoor living room area and a communal outdoor deck.

Day 5 - Departing the W Trek from Refugio Grey

Day 5 Departing from the W Trek

Departing Refugio Grey

In the event that you do one, or none of the activities mentioned above, you can then take the Navigation Grey catamaran across Grey lake to Hotel Grey (again, you need a pre-booking), or you can hike 4hrs back to Refugio Paine Grande and take the catamaran across Pehoe Lake for the 25min trip to Pudeto.

 

Important to remember that once you get to Refugio Paine Grande, if you have time, you can have a snack or hot drink whilst you wait for the catamaran to arrive to the small jetty located on the lake shore, which is about 100mts down from the refugio.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Refugio Grey Exterior

Catamaran

Once aboard the catamaran the trip takes about 25mins to cross over to Pudeto. From the jetty here it is a two minute walk to the café and car park, from where your onward transport will be waiting to take you back to Puerto Natales or on to El Calafate, depending on what you have arranged with ExperienceChile.Org

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Torres del Paine W Trek Catamaran Pehoe Lake Paine Grande to Pudeto

 

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Refugio Grey to Paine Grande and Catamaran

Hotel Grey

This hotel is one of the “upper-end” lodges and its superior rooms, from the second floor and up, offer a view to Grey Lake and the glacier at the end. Staying here is useful for logistics either to end your W trek or start your W trek. In addition, ExperienceChile.Org can arrange an all-inclusive program with Hotel Grey, just ask us here: request@experiencechile.org

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Torres del Paine W Trek Hotel Grey View from Superior Room

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Torres del Paine W Trek Itinerary Description West to East

Day 1 - Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande (West to East Direction)

The Western End (Glacier Grey)

Sector 1, Day 1, Night 1

This part of the trek starts from near Grey Glacier. In order to get to Refugio Grey, which is close to Grey Glacier, you will need to either take the boat from Hotel Grey that crosses Grey lake or have hiked already from Refugio Paine Grande.

However, the other way to get here is to be on the Full Circuit Trek and have hiked around the back country and be coming from Camp Los Perros the previous night.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande

 

Start from: Refugio Grey

End at: At Refugio Paine Grande

Difficulty: Medium.

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit and used to long walks.

Highest Point: 257m above sea level.

Trek Distance and Time: From Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande: 11.6km / 4 hours

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande

Trail Description

People come to Refugio Grey because they have been hiking the Full Circuit, or because they want to walk the full W Trek in its entirety.

The full Circuit Trail takes in the back country and then meets up with the W Trek at Refugio Grey.  As a result, this is the first place of rest after Camping Los Perros.

In general, when beginning the walk from Refugio Grey, the path is flat for the first hour and you’ll pass through a wooded area, cross over some small streams, and then begin going up a slight slope, until the gradient steepens sharply for a short distance.

Grey Lake

In essence there will be many opportunities to see Grey Lake on your right side. However, on the uphill portion, you can pause and look back on the path you have travelled, whilst catching a glimpse of the spectacular Glacier Grey in the distance.

Furthermore, there will be a “mirador”, which means look out, that is effectively atop a flatten rock area and from here there is a spectacular view over most of Grey lake and the glacier at the far end.

Afterward, once past this point the path will continue upwards for a short distance until entering into a wooded area and this is the “summit” of the trail at 257m above sea level. Another key point on this part of the trail is, if you are fortunate, you may hear the sounds of the Magellan Woodpecker.

Following on, once past this wooded area the trail will descend a steep hill by way of a meandering path. Initially this is quite steep, but as you get closer to Refugio Paine Grande it flattens out.

It should be noted that the entire trek from Refugio Grey to Paine Grande takes between 3.5hrs to 4 hours depending on the speed of your walking.

Arrival Accommodation

Refugio Paine Grande is a large hostel comprising dorm rooms and bunk beds. Within its facilities is a bar and large, canteen style restaurant as well as a small minimarket.

Day 2 - Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio / Cabins Cuernos (West to East Direction)

Western Side of the Middle Part (The French Valley)

Sector 2, Day 2, Night 2

Refugio Paine Grande is located on the northern shore of Lake Pehoe, to the west of the French Valley entrance. The reason to stay here is in preparation to hike into the French Valley, or to get to Domos Frances and / or Refugio or Cabañas Cuernos.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Refugio Paine Grande to Domos Frances and Refugio Cuernos

Start: Refugio Paine Grande

End: At Domos Frances, Refugio Cuernos or Cabañas Cuernos

Difficulty: Medium to High (if going via the French Valley).

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit and used to long walks. However, if entering the French Valley, you will need to be physically in good shape to trek up hill and over slippery sections.

Highest Point: 754m above sea level.

Trek Distances and Time

From Refugio Paine Grande:

To the French Valley Entrance (Camp Italiano): 7.8km / 2.5hrs

Direct to Domos Frances: 10.6km / 4hrs

To Domos Frances via the French Valley: 20.6km / 9hrs

Direct to Cabañas or Refugio Cuernos: 14.1km / 5hrs

To Cabañas or Refugio Cuernos via the French Valley: 24.1km / 10hrs

From the Entrance to the French Valley (Camp Italiano):

To Domos Frances: 4.5km / 1hr

To Cabañas or Refugio Cuernos: 8km / 2hrs

Entrance French Valley to Camp Britanico and Back: 10km / 5hrs

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Refugio Paine Grande to Domos Frances and Refugio Cuernos

 

Trail Description

Starting from Refugio Paine Grande, you’ll travel along the well-trodden path towards the Cuernos of Paine. The trail is mostly level; however, it is undulating and therefore gets steeper in parts before it descends.

Moreover, on the right, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Nordenskjöld lake and its impressive, turquoise-coloured water. Then, and after around two and a half hours walking, you will arrive at a hanging foot bridge.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Footbridge at French Valley Entrance and Camp Italiano

 

Once you reach this bridge, on the other side is the non-serviced campsite, Camp Italiano, and here is also a CONAF ranger’s hut. It should be noted that many people leave their heavy, and not required, back packs here whilst they go into the French Valley, only taking a smaller and lighter day pack.

Most important is that the French Valley trail head is immediately to the left of the CONAF hut.

In the event that you want to travel into the French Valley and back it will take 5hrs return from this point, but you can cut this short if you prefer and not go right to the end where Camp Britancio is located. For example, you go only halfway in and then return.

The French Valley

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Torres del Paine W Trek in the French Valley

 

Entering the French Valley

Particularly, when looking at the “W” trail shape on the map, the French Valley is the middle part of the letter, the inverted “V”. If you enter this trail (it is optional, because you can ignore it and go straight on to Domos Frances or Refugios and Cabins Cuernos), you will initially need to negotiate a steep uphill segment, that can have scree on its surface as well as be wet, and therefore slippery. However, after this sector the trail flattens a little, but it will lead to the end of the valley where the Camp Britanico is located. It is important to note that this camp area is only for specialist mountain climbers, who must have permits to climb. Here, at this point the altitude is 900m above sea level.

The Scenery

As a matter of fact, the French valley lies between the base of the Paine Mountain on the left, and the Cuernos mountain on the right, if looking in from the entrance. On each side there are stunning hanging glaciers and dramatic, vertical rock formations. In addition, there is a thick forest of “lenga” beech trees.  Above all, when the sky is clear, the views in this area are outstanding, especially in the sector around the Britanico campsite.

Watch the Time

Considering that the full French Valley takes 5hrs to walk to the end and back from the entrance point (Camp Italiano), it is important not to lose sight of the time, because you do not want to be trekking in the dark.

Upon getting back to Camp Italian and the CONAF hut, you need to keep walking east. In other words, the Nordenskjöld lake will be on your right side. The trail is undulating and will go up, down and flatten out. After about 1hr you will arrive to the Domos Frances. In the event that this not be where you are staying for the night, a further 1hr along the path will lead you to the settlement of Refugio Cuernos and Cabins Cuernos.

Arrival Accommodation

On this part of the trek, you have three options for accommodation. The first is the Domos Frances, the second is Refugio Cuernos and the third is Cabañas Cuernos. In all cases you will need reservations in advance. These can be made via ExperienceChile.Org here: request@experiencechile.org

A – Domos Frances comprises large dome-framed modules that contain partitioned bunk beds areas. Food is taken in a communal dome.

C – Refugio Cuernos is a hiker’s hostel with dorm rooms and bunk beds. All meals are served in a communal room in a canteen style.

B – Cabañas Cuernos are small huts, or private cabins each with capacity for up to three people. However, mostly they are occupied by couples. Each hut has a small log-burning fire and outer deck. This I ideal if you want to sit and look at the lake in the distance below. Another benefit to staying at the cabins is the outdoor hot tub, although this is shared with other guests who care to use it.

All of the above options have shower rooms and hot water.

Day 3 - Domos Frances or Cabins / Refugio Cuernos to Refugio Chileno (West to East Direction)

Eastern Side of the Middle Part

Sector 3, Day 3, Night 3

This part of the W leads to the Ascensio Valley and the trail that ends at the iconic Torres Base. However, you have the option to either walk to Refugio Chileno, which is halfway up the trail towards the Torres Base, or you can go to the trail head where Hotel Las Torres, Refugios Central and Norte, and ECO Camp are all located.

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View from Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Between Cuernos and Chileno

 

Start: Domos Frances, Refugio or Cabins Cuernos.

End: At Refugio Chileno or Hotel Las Torres, or Refugio Central, or Refugio Norte or ECO Camp.

Difficulty: Medium

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you need to be physically fit and used to long walks.

Highest Point: 550m above sea level.

Trek Distances and Time

From Domos Frances to:

Refugio Cuernos and Cabañas Cuernos: 3.5km / 1hr

Then Refugio Chileno: 14.8km / 6hrs

Hotel Las Torres: 15.2km / 6hrs

Refugio Central: 17.2km / 7hrs

To Refugio Norte: 17.2km / 7hrs

And ECO Camp: 17.2km / 7hrs

From Refugio Cuernos and Cabañas Cuernos to:

Refugio Chileno: 11.3km / 5hrs

Hotel Las Torres: 11.7km / 5hrs

Refugio Central: 13.7km / 6hrs

And Refugio Norte: 13.7km / 6hrs

ECO Camp: 13.7km / 6hrs

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Domos Frances and Cuernos to Refugio Chileno

 

Trail Description

To begin with, setting off from Domos Frances you will initially pass through a distinctive “lenga” beech-tree wood. However, this scenery clears after a short while and on your right is the picturesque sight of the turquoise-coloured water of the Nordenskjöld lake.

Thereafter, the trail will go up and down, around the odd rock and be level in places. However, when you approach Refugio and Cabins Cuernos, again there will again be trees, as well as for a short period past the Cuernos accommodation until no longer and the path enters open space.

Short Cut to Chileno

Finally, you will come across a fork in the path. If you turn left and up, it will lead to Refugio Chileno, whereas if you continue straight on it will lead to Hotel Las Torres and beyond that, Refugio’s Central, Norte and ECO Camp as well as the Welcome Centre.

Forces of Nature

Above all, as long as you stop to look up you will see, weather permitting, at close range, the enormous Cuernos of Paine. The trail winds its way around the base of these two gigantic mountains. As mentioned in text above, to the right is the Nordenskjöld lake, the other side of which is the visual evidence of the power of geological forces. Markedly, it is clear to see the enormous hills created from sedimentary rock that has been deposited over millennia and literally bent into curves, and in places, from the horizontal to the vertical. All things considered; it is just mind boggling trying to imagine what force would have been required to do bend the rock in such a way.

Taking the Path to Chileno

In the event that you have taken the route to Refugio Chileno, you will eventually join the main trail up to Chileno on the side of a hill. At this point you will turn left, and you will then get to a sharp bend that marks the entrance into the Ascencio Valley. Most important is that here it can be extremely windy, with forceful gusts, so one must be vigilant.

From this point it is about 45mins, mostly downhill to Refugio Chileno.

Heading Down to the Trail Head

For those who head towards Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Central, Refugio Norte, ECO Camp and the Welcome Centre area, eventually, about 3km prior to reaching the end of the trail, you will spot some buildings in the distance and these are the Hotel Las Torres. As you get closer you will then see further in the background some small domes on a hilltop and these will be the ECO Camp. Below the ECO Camp is Refugio Central and Norte and the Welcome Centre.

Arrival Accommodation

A – Refugio Chileno – this is a small refugio offering dormitory rooms with bunk beds and a communal dining area in the stye of a canteen.

B – Hotel Las Torres is a proper hotel and offers private rooms to a mid-level category, with en-suite bathrooms and restaurant.

C – Refugio Las Torres Central is a largish hiker’s hostel with dorm rooms and bunk beds as well as a canteen-style restaurant.

D – Refugio Las Torres Norte, which is 50mts in front of the Central Refugio, offers dorm rooms with bunk beds, but all meals are taken at Refugio Central.

E – ECO Camp has positioned itself as is a luxury camping product based around everything being “eco-friendly”. Therefore, if you feel guilty about your carbon footprint, ECO Camp will help you offset some of it. It offers up-market “Bedouin-style”, metal-framed tents covered over in a hard, but durable plastic, and these range from standard to superior and suite categories. Furthermore, all meals are taken in a large, communal “tent” where there is a lounge and small shop too.

Day 4 - Refugio Chileno to the Torres Base (West to East Direction)

The Eastern End (The Torres Base)

Sector 4, Day 4, Night 4

The viewpoint at the foot of the three vertically-sided, “needle” like towers of granite is known as “the Torres Base”.  Considering the entire W Trek, this is considered to be “the” top of the iconic sights list, and therefore a key destination to get to on the W Trek trail

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Torres Base

Start from the Eastern Sector: From one of these points: The Welcome Centre, Refugio Chileno, ECO Camp, Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Torre Central or Norte.

End in the Eastern Sector: Once you have accomplished your goal of getting to the Torres Base, you can then trek back down and either stay at Refugio Chileno, or continue down to the Welcome Centre, Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Central, Refugio Norte, or ECO Camp.

Alternatively, you can come back down and depart Torres del Paine National Park.

Difficulty: Medium to High. It is important to note that on this trail there area lot of uphill sections. In addition, you will need to walk through some very narrow paths, around boulders and even “side climb” around the larger obstacles nearer the summit, particularly during the final moraine part of the trail.

Experience Required: You don’t need any experience to embark on this trek, but you do need to be physically fit. The final moraine part of this trek will require a lot of agility as well as energy to overcome mother nature’s natural obstacles.

Highest Point: 870m above sea level.

Trek Distance and Time

From Welcome Centre (also Refugios Central, Norte and ECO Camp):

To Refugio Chileno: 6.1km / 2.5hrs

From Hotel Las Torres:

To Refugio Chileno: 4.5km / 2hrs

 From Refugio Chileno

To Torres Base: 4.8km / 2hrs (and remember back is another 2hrs)

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Refugio Chileno to Torres Base

Trail Description

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Hiking up to and through the Ascensio Valley

Straightaway, in order to best illustrate this trail, we can begin from a point on the path where there is a short suspension footbridge, behind the Hotel Las Torres, and then head up towards Refugio Chileno. Beyond this point the trail leads to the eventual Torres Base.

From the Footbridge

Specifically, from the footbridge the path will, initially, be on a steady incline and steep in parts. After about about 1 hour and 15 mins of steady uphill walking, you will get to a sharp bend where the Ascensio Valley officially begins, which is also called “el paso de los vientos” (the windy pass). At this point (the acute-angled corner) there are times when cool air drops down the valley from the higher elevations that is then “compressed” as it passes through the walls of the valley.

Strong Winds

Consequently, the result is very forceful winds “escaping” the valley around the point where the bend is located. Most important is that some of the gusts can be very strong and hikers need to be careful when it is like this.

However, when you have passed the corner, the trail continues downward until you get to the Refugio Chileno. Following from the bend, the walk down to Refugio Chileno will take about 45 minutes.

Refugio Chileno Halfway Point

Chileno is, effectively the halfway point on the way to the Torres Base because it is: 2.5hrs hike from the Welcome Centre area, or 2hrs hike from Hotel Las Torres, and from Chileno it is 2hrs to the Torres Base.

Therefore, Refugio Chileno is an ideal place to drop off unnecessary bags if you are continuing to the Torres Base and coming back to stay here the night. In addition, here you can rest and get a hot drink.

The Torres Base Sunrise

Another key point for this part of the W Trek is, on the basis that you have spent the previous night at Refugio Chileno, you will have the opportunity to do accomplish what so many other people set as their target, and this is to be at the Torres Base for the sunrise (weather permitting). The only downside to this is that you need to depart Refugio Chileno around 04:00hrs!

Refugio Chileno to the Torres Base: 4.8km / 2hrs

Trail Description

After all the previous effort to get to Chileno, this final part of the trail involves two, distinct sectors. The first is the forest. The second is the glacial moraine.

All in all, the forest sector is very pretty and akin to a walk through a wood on a hill. It will involve crossing the river at two points, each time walking across a rather rustic-looking footbridge, as well as hiking up some short, steep inclines. Accordingly, allow about 1hr to traverse the tree part to the point where it will suddenly stop and you will be faced with a steep hillside covered in rocks, scree and boulders. This is the Glacial Moraine sector.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Footbridge on the Way to Torres Base

From the point where the glacial moraine is located, the trek will take about 1hr to the Torres Base and involve climbing up and over large boulders that are strewn either side of the narrow path that lies between them.

 

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Glacial Moraine Before Reaching the Torres Base

Arrival to the Torres Base

Once you have surmounted the brow of the final steep, ascent and exited the last bend on the trail, you will see the sky-high ‘towers’ and a stunning, blue-coloured (when the sun is shining) lake at their base.

Specifically, having made it to this point, most people take about half an hour to relax, enjoy a hot drink and picnic, and take in the view.

The Return Trek

After you’re done soaking up the scenery, you’ll head back the way you came up; stopping by Refugio Chileno if you wish, unless you are staying the night there. Thereafter, following on from a full day trekking, a home-cooked hot meal is offered at the Refugio Chileno (for overnight guests with reservations), or further down at Hotel Las Torres there is a restaurant that offers more, traditional, restaurant level food.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Trail at the Torres Base

 

Suggestions

The total return distance of this trail, if coming from the trail head by the Welcome Centre, to the Torres Base and back is around 21.8km. However, if starting from Hotel Las Torres it is a little less.

Therefore, in order to break this, most people opt to stay at Refugio Chileno for the night either before going to the Torres Base or on the way back from the Base. However, this option will depend totally on availability in the refugio and all trekkers must have reservations in advance.

Ask ExperienceChile.Org to make your W Trek All-Inclusive Itinerary: request@experiencechile.org

Day 5 - Departing the W Trek from Refugio Chileno

Day 5 Departing from the W Trek

Departing Refugio Chileno

In short, most people wiIl have done the trek up to the Torres Base and returned to Refugio Chileno. From here it is a steady decent down hill to where the trail head ends. This is a distance of around 6.1km to where the Welcome Centre, Refugios Central and Norte are located, as well as ECO Camp. The Hotel Las Torres is a little nearer at around 4.5km. Therefore, allow 2hrs to get down from Refugio Chileno to Hotel Las Torres and about 2.5hrs to get to the actual trail end.

Final Night Option

Many people decide to end with a final night at Hotel Las Torres or one of the refugios too. 

From any of the above-mentioned accommodations you will need to take the shuttle to Laguna Amarga, and pay for this service there, unless ExperienceChile.Org has prearranged for you to have a private transfer to meet you. Afterwards, from Laguna Amarga the regular bus will take you to Puerto Natales (approximately 3hrs, allowing for stops and slow drivers), or a bus to El Calafate, which ExperienceChile.Org can arrange.

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Torres del Paine W Trek Eastern End Trail Head Hotel Las Torres

Torres del Paine W Trek Accommodation

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Q. Where Should I Stay When Hiking the Torres del Paine W Trek?

You need to stay at either a refugio or serviced camping set up along the trail, or in a mix of hotels and refugios, or hotels only, but that will require extra transport to get you off and back on to the trail.

Q. Where is the Accommodation Located Along the Torres del Paine W Trek Trail?

Refugio and Camping Accommodation for the W Trek Trail is located in these areas:

The Eastern Sector (Torres Base)

Particularly, in this area is where Hotel Las Torres, ECO Camp, Refugio Norte and Refugio Central are located, as well as the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre. In addition, halfway up the trail to the Torres Base is the Refugio Chileno.

The Middle Sector (French Valley)

Notwithstanding the free CONAF camping site, in this area, which is the middle of the W, the part that goes into the French Valley, you will find Refugio Cuernos, Cabañas Cuernos and Domos Frances.

The Western Sector (Glacier Grey)

Meanwhile on the western leg of the W is the trail that runs alongside Grey Lake and eventually leads to the Grey Glacier. Subsequently, in an area close to Grey Glacier is the Refugio Grey

High End Hotels and Lodges for the W Trek

However, there are other, top-end, luxury hotels and lodges not located specifically on the trail, but from where there are daily, guided treks on the W Trek trail. Moreover, staying at one of these lodges enables you to come back to a luxury environment, great food, wines, private rooms as well as, in cases, luxury indoor pools and spa facilities.

See the ExperiencChile.Org Luxury Accommodation Page HERE.

 

W Trek Refugios Along the Trail

Torres del Paine W Trek refugio accommodation is similar to hostels that are dotted along the trail and provide a fun social space to unwind and re-charge after your day on the trail. However, we only book full-board accommodation, so all of your meals will be included throughout the duration of your trip.

Moreover, The refugios of Torres del Paine National Park vary in size and quality, so make sure to contact us if you’re unsure which option is right for you. Therefore, if you don’t mind a bit of a squeeze and love a chat with interesting people then these are the perfect choice for you.

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

Q. What is a Refugio?

A refugio is a hostel with dorm rooms filled with bunk beds. In addition, they will have communal, but segregated shower rooms, a communal dining room and some will have a small minimarket too.

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Above is a picture of a dorm room inside the Refugio Las Torres Central.

Torres del Paine W Trek refugio accommodation is similar to hostels that are dotted along the trail and provide a fun social space to unwind and re-charge after your day on the trail.

Making Friends

When you stay overnight in the refugios there is a jovial, friendly, holiday atmosphere. After all, everyone there is also on holiday and enjoying a spectacular adventure trek. Therefore, it is only natural that friendships are made, some enduring.

Those who decide to stay in the comfort of a hotel, or even a top-end luxury lodge, also enjoy this special, relaxed and friendly atmosphere and here too, it is common for hotel guests to strike up great friendships.

Size and Quality

Moreover, the refugios of Torres del Paine National Park vary in size and quality, so make sure to contact us if you’re unsure which option is right for you. Therefore, if you don’t mind a bit of a squeeze and love a chat with interesting people then these are the perfect choice for you.

For full information on the Torres del Paine W Trek Refugio Accommodation click through to our dedicated page here.

LINK TO REFUGIOS

However, we only book full-board accommodation, so all your meals will be included throughout the duration of your trip.

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

Q. How do I Book Refugios on the Torres del Paine W Trek?

Many people book their W Trek requirements via ExperiencChile.Org , with over 30 years’ experience and a presence in Patagonia. The reason for this is that they have established relationships with all the main suppliers in and around Torres del Paine. In addition, they understand the process involved in coordinating the complicated logistics that are involved. You need to decide if you want to trek west to east or east to west. More information about this is further below. You also need to ask yourself if you need a guide or wish to trek self-guided. Therefore, asking ExperienceChile.Org will be all you need to book the refugios on the W trek. Email: request@experiencechile.org

Q. Is there Food at the Torres del Paine Refugios?

All the refugios on the W Trek provide good, home-cooked food. Guests will receive, in this order, a hot dinner, breakfast and a box lunch to go.

Q. What is a Tent Like on the W Trek?

The serviced camping provided along the W Trek Trail includes a quality tent, already pitched for your use, usually on a platform, and inside will be a ground mat and sleeping bag. In addition, all of your meals will be taken inside the adjacent refugio, which is where the serviced camping spots are located. 

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How About Staying in Hotels and / or Luxury Lodges and Hiking the W Trek?

Please check out our accommodation options here: Link to ExperienceChile.Org Torres del Paine Accommodation Page

Or ask us by sending in an email to: request@experiencechile.org

Send Us Your Enquiry

Experience Chile works hard to offer truly bespoke experiences. However, for us to deliver the best service possible, we need some basic information from you to get started such as the number of people travelling, your flight details, your per person budget, and what spectacular scenery you want to view!

Once we get your request, our team of travel experts will start planning your custom travel itinerary around Torres Del Paine National Park.

Our Direct Request Email is: request@experiencechile.org

VIP?

Do you require special provisions because of a political or celebrity career? You can use an alias when making an enquiry and mark yourself as a VIP in the request form. Most importantly a director will contact you personally.

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