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Torres del Paine W Trek

All You Need to Know – Right Here

Refugios, Reservations and Itineraries

Open for Season 2021 – 2022

Custom Patagonia Experiences 

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 The Torres del Paine W Trek Trail

Introduction to the W Trekking Route

The Torres del Paine W Trek trail is considered to be one of the most breathtaking hiking routes in Patagonia and even the world. In addition, it has gained a reputation for being an incredible walk through a stunning, scenic wilderness.

Moreover, 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.

Our DIRECT EMAIL: request@experiencechile.org

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The Three Valleys of the W Trek

Running down the left part of the “W” the trail passes by Grey Lake; the middle part enters into the French Valley, then the right side of the “W” is up and into the Ascensio Valley, and on to the Torres Base.

Therefore, due to the natural “W” valley formations of this part of the park we end up with the trail name as Torres del Paine W Trek! One way, or the other, you will finish the trek at Refugio Grey, or at the Las Torres end. Alternatively, you can cut it short, and start or end, at Refugio Paine Grande, which is served by the catamaran that crosses Pehoe Lake from Pudeto.

Brief Descriptions of the Three Valleys

The Ascensio Valley (on the eastern flank) – will take you right up to the base of the towers that you’ll see in almost every photo of the W Trek. To get to the base of the towers the final part is a demanding ascent.

In the central part is the French Valley. Consequently, this is the middle section of the hike, and prominently features the stunning Glacier Francés, which you’ll be able to see up-close.

The final section of the trek runs parallel to Lago Grey (the Grey Lake, on the western side). This a world-famous geological phenomenon dominated by Glacier Grey (the Grey Glacier) at the end.

One of the great benefits of the W Trek in Torres del Paine is that it is an intermediate level hike along mostly not too challenging terrain, except the treks up to the Torres base, and also into the French valley, which involve steeper inclines. Moreover, the experience will have you staring at the snow-capped peaks, without forcing you to climb them. 

The Full Circuit Trek

NOTE: Information about the full “0” Circuit trek, which takes in the W trail too, is given further below, so please scroll down. 

Our DIRECT EMAIL: request@experiencechile.org

On This Page You Will Find

  • General information about the Torres del Paine W Trek Trail, also a link through to the Circuit Trek Trail.

  • Trail Maps, with daily trekking sectors both west to east and east to west, also with inclines marked.

  • Full trail SECTOR descriptions.

  • Refugio accommodation options as well as other hotel accommodation alternatives.

  • Itinerary options.

  • FAQ’s

Torres del Paine W Trek Trail Map Below

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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 in 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.

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

The Negatives of Arranging it All Yourself

1 – Suppliers often take a long time to get back to you.

2 – The dates you want are not available.

3 – You get some dates confirmed, but not others and then you need to start all over again.

4 – Other parts of your itinerary are booked and then you discover you cannot get into the refugios or other accommodation.

Previous Problems for Travellers have Involved

Fires in the Park, forcing it to close.

Strikes by locals, blocking roads.

Covid, premature end to the season, rapid evacuation of all travellers to home countries.

Cancelled and Delayed Flights

When any or all of the above happen, it is a “nightmare” for you to contact ALL the suppliers to change everything.

The Positives of Experience Chile Handling it All

1 – We spend the time securing the dates you want and if they are not available we can come up with alternatives.

2 – Firstly, we will get the W Trek confirmed first and then sort out the rest of your itinerary in Patagonia.

3 – The rates we use are special, trade rates and we then add a margin to these to get a total. We do NOT charge an extra fee for our service.

4 – You get a professional, LOCAL company on the ground in Patagonia that will be there for you if you have any problems during your trip.

Our Track Record

Established specialists in Patagonia for over 30 years.

We have handled groups up to 52 people, however, most of our clientele comprises couples and small groups of 4 to 8 to 20 people.

Partners to exterior travel operators for their clients.

Often we have “rescued” clients from problems caused by sudden changes to their plans as mentioned above.

 

Please, get in touch – Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

Experience Chile

Torres del Paine W Trek Offer

Free Night in Santiago

(Min. 2 People per Room)

& Free Park Entry Tickets

When we Confirm a Full W Trek Itinerary

with Accommodation Pre and Post the Trek

and Transfers in and Out

Our W Trek Rates will Include: 

All Meals (full board) at Refugios

or Alternative Accommodation (like camping)

For custom-built Torres del Paine W Trek itineraries, email us…

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The Big Question: Is it Best to Hike The Torres del Paine W Trek

East to West or West to East?

Many people ask the above question. In reality the only differences are that west to east means that the prevailing wind is mostly behind you (when it is blowing of course), and the oncoming views are of Cuernos once past Refugio Paine Grande. However, the trail route east to west basically means the reverse of what has just been said.

Looking Ahead

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.

W Trek Trail Sector Descriptions Below

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

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

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Full Torres del Paine W Trek Description

for Hiking East to West

from Torres Base to Glacier Grey

WITH TRAIL MAPS

Brief Descriptions of Trekking Sectors East to West

The Three Main Sectors of the W-Trek East to West Direction:

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The above Map covers the full W Trek, but the information below will take you from East to West

The W Trek can be broken into three main sectors. These include the:

EASTERN END (ESTANCIA SECTOR): You will begin at the Estancia Sector. This route includes the trek to the base of the Towers.

On this leg, you’ll visit Hosteria Las Torres, and the Refugio Torre Norte, Refugio Torre of Central, the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre and the Eco Camp.

CENTRAL PART (CUERNOS SECTOR):
On this leg, you will embark on a trek into the French Valley.

You will also get the chance to visit Domos Cuernos, Cabañas Cuernos and Refugio Cuernos.

WESTERN END (GREY SECTOR):
This portion of the trip includes the trek alongside Grey Lake to Glacier Grey.

This is where you’ll get the chance to visit Refugio Grey and Refugio Paine Grande.

Eastern Sector (Las Torres End) to the Mirador Las Torres (Torres Base)

The Las Torres Sector up to the Torres Base

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: From one of these points: ECO Camp, Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Torre Central or Norte. Also from the Welcome Centre.
End: After getting to the Torres Base, you can either stay at Refugio Chileno, or return to the Welcome Centre (or Hotel Las Torres, Refugios Central or Norte, or ECO Camp).
Trek Time: 9 hours return calculated from the Welcome Centre area.

Distance: 21.8km measured from the Welcome Centre and back. However, many visitors stay at Refugio Chileno to break up the distance.  In other words, this refugio is exactly halfway between the Torres Base and the Estancia Sector (Welcome Centre area).
Difficulty: Medium to High. This portion has a lot of uphill sections, and you’ll have to navigate your way up and over large boulders.
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: 870m above sea level.

The Four Main Sections of the Torres Base Trek:

Estancia Sector (effectively this is the Las Torres end) to the Ascencio Valley

This portion of the trip involves travelling uphill to Refugio Chileno, and this takes 1 hour and 15 mins on a steady incline.

Ascencio Valley to Refugio Chileno

Trekking through the valley will take around 45 minutes and it is mostly downhill.

Refugio Chileno to the Glacial Moraine Sector

This will take about 1 hour. However, this trail is only steep in short sections. During this part of the trip, you will walk through two river crossings and a dense beech, tree forest with over 100-year-old trees!

The Moraine Sector

This will take approximately an hour, and it involves climbing up, over and in-between glacial moraine’s large boulders.

Moreover, this is the most difficult portion of the trek and walking poles can come in handy during the steepest and windiest parts.

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Eastern Sector (Las Torres End) to Refugio / Cabins Cuernos or Frances

From the Refugio Chileno end to Refugio Cuernos or Frances

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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

End: Cabañas Cuernos, Refugio Cuernos or Domos Frances.
Trek Time: 5 hours.
Distance: 14.8km from Refugio Chileno to Domos Frances, but 11.3km if ending at Refugio or Cabins Cuernos.
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.

Description

This trek passes alongside the Nordenskjold Lake. Therefore, you’ll get to see its dazzling blue water whilst glancing at the stunning granite peaks of Los Cuernos.

The hike has some hills to climb, but you’ll be met with spectacular views each time you climb one. Before you get to  Refugio/Cabanas Cuernos you’ll pass through a beech-tree wood.

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Central Sector: Refugio / Cabins Cuernos to Refugio Paine Grande

From Refugio Cuernos or Frances to Refugio Paine Grande

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: Cabañas or Refugio Cuernos. Alternatively, you can begin from Domos Frances.
End: Refugio Paine Grande.
Trek Time: from Cuernos 5 hours for direct trek to Paine Grande, or 10 hours if you’d like to trek through the French Valley. If starting at Domos Frances take 1hr off these times.
Distance: From Frances 20.6km (via the French Valley) or 12.3km (direct to Paine Grande). However, if starting from Cuernos these distances will be about 2.5km longer.
Difficulty: Medium to High.
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: 754m above sea level.

Description

You’ll embark from the Los Cuernos sector, and after about an hour you will pass by Domos Frances. Following this, you will arrive at the unserviced camping ground called Camp Italiano, which is situated at the entrance to the French Valley. Consequently, because it is unserviced, there are no facilities here. It is just a place to pitch your own tent.

The French Valley is a steady uphill trail. Upon reaching Camp Britanico, which is towards the end of the valley, you will have reached an altitude of around 900m. Above all, if the sky is clear, the views in this area are amazing, especially around this campsite.

For the return trek you need to backtrack until you reach Camp Italiano. From this point, you’ll head towards the right 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 Refugio Paine Grande.

The journey from Camp Italiano to Paine Grande takes around two and a half hours.

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Western Sector: Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey

From Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: Refugio Paine Grande
End: At Refugio Grey
Trek Time: 4 hours
Distance: 11.6km
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.

Description

You’ll begin your trek from Paine Grande, where the trail will lead you up to a peak which reaches an altitude of 257m above sea level. Consequently, this climb is gradual initially, however, it will become steeper the closer to get to the peak.

However, after this, you’ll head down towards Grey Lake. In parts the path is narrow and steep, however, the path alongside the lake is largely level. If you’re lucky you may even hear the sounds of the Magellan Woodpecker! Once you have a full view of Grey Lake you will see glacial icebergs and the breathtaking Glacier Grey in the distance.

If you’re beginning from Refugio Grey, you can stay the night and take the boat across Grey Lake the next day to Hotel Lago Grey or travel back to Paine Grande.

Alternatively, if you arrive at Refugio Grey early-on you can take the boat to Hotel Grey on the same day. Additional options include embarking on an ice hike on Glacier Grey and/or kayaking. (Both options can be pre-booked through us).

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END OF THE “W” (East to West)

 

Complete Torres del Paine W Trek Description

for Hiking West to East

from Glacier Grey to Torres Base

WITH TREKKING TRAIL MAPS

Brief Descriptions of Trekking Sectors West to East

The Three Main Sectors of the W-Trek West to East Direction:1 A TDP W TREK LANDING NEW

Western End (Grey Sector):

This includes the trek alongside Refugio Grey and Grey Lake to Refugio Paine Grande.

Central Part (Cuernos Sector):

In the middle, this includes the trek into the French Valley.

Eastern End (The Estancia Sector, or Las Torres End):

You’ll begin from Refugio or Cabañas Cuernos (or Domos Frances), proceeding to Refugio Chileno and then up to the Torres Base.

The return trip will involve trekking down to Hosteria Las Torres, Refugio Torre Norte, Refugio Torre of Central, Eco Camp and the welcome centre.

NOTE:
You can begin this trek from Refugio Grey if you’re on the full-circuit trek from Los Perros.

or

If you have come over on the Navigation Grey boat from Hotel Grey.

or

In the case that you have travelled from Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey the previous day.

 

Western Sector: Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande

From Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: Refugio Grey
End: At Refugio Paine Grande
Trek Time: 4 hours
Distance: 11.6km
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.

Description

When beginning from Refugio Grey, the path is flat for the first hour and you’ll pass through a wood, cross over some small streams and then begin going up a slight slope.

There will be many opportunities to see Grey Lake. 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. The entire trek from Refugio Grey is said to take around 3.5 hours, but some people take 4 hours.

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Central Sector: Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio / Cabins Cuernos

From Refugio Paine Grande to Cuernos or Frances

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: Refugio Paine Grande.
End: At Refugio Cuernos, Cabañas Cuernos or Domos Frances.
Trek Time: 5 hours direct to Refugio and Cabins Cuernos or 10hrs via the French Valley. If you stay at Frances the trek time will be 1hr less.
Distance: to Domos Frances 20.6km (if going via the French Valley) or 12.3km if going direct. But, if ending at Cuernos add 2.5km.
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.
Highest Point: 754m above sea level.

Description

If you’re starting from Refugio Paine Grande, you’ll travel along the well-trodden path towards the Cuernos of Paine. The path is mostly level, however, it gets slightly steeper in parts.

Moreover, on the right, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Nordenskjold Lake, and after around two and a half hours you will arrive at a pedestrian, hanging bridge. On the other side of the bridge is the non-serviced campsite, Camp Italiano, but if you turn left after the bridge you will start to head towards the French Valley.

If you want to travel across the French Valley and back it will take 5hrs, but you can cut this short if you prefer.

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Central Sector: Refugio / Frances or Cabins Cuernos to Refugio Chileno

From Cuernos or Frances to Refugio Chileno

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: Domos Frances, Refugio or Cabins Cuernos.
End: At Refugio Chileno.
Trek Time: 5 hours one way.
Distance: 11.3km from Cuernos or 13.8km from Frances.
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.

Description

This trek passes through a distinctive beech-tree wood and continues along the northern shore of the Nordenskjold Lake. During the hike you will encounter medium-difficulty terrain. Therefore, this means that there are some hills, but you’re met with stunning views at the top of each peak.

At some stage, you will come across a fork where you will have an option to miss out Refugio Chileno and, instead, carry on towards to the start, or end, of the trailhead at Hotel Las Torres.

However, if you decide to head towards Refugio Chileno, you will walk uphill for about an hour and a half until you get to a point where the path narrows and bends quite sharply to the left. This is the entrance to the Ascensio Valley.

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Eastern Sector: Refugio Chileno to the Mirador Las Torres (Torres Base)

From Refugio Chileno (or Hotel Las Torres, ECO Camp or Refugio Central) to the Torres Base

Operated: Between September to the end of April

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Start: Refugio Chileno (or from lower down at the Welcome Centre, Hotel Las Torres, ECO Camp and refugios Norte or Central)
End: After getting to the Torres Base, you will end the trek back at the Welcome Centre (or Hotel Las Torres, Refugios Central or Norte, or ECO Camp).
Trek Time to the Torres Base: 2 hours up from Chileno, 2 hours back to Chileno and 2 hours down to Hotel Las Torres. Add an extra half an hour to your trip if you’re travelling back to down to Refugio Torre Central, Refugio Torre Norte, the welcome Centre, and add an hour if you’re heading to back to the Eco Camp.

Distance: 11km from Chileno to the Torres Base, but 22km round trip, plus 11km from Chileno down to the Welcome Centre area.
Difficulty: Medium to High. This portion has a lot of uphill sections, and you’ll have to navigate your way up and over large boulders.
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: 870m above sea level.

Description

The Four Main Sections of the Torres Base Trek:

Refugio Chileno to the Glacial Moraine Sector

This section will take around an hour. You’ll cross two rivers and pass through a dense lenga forest during this portion of the trip.

The Moraine Sector

It will take approximately one hour to travel over and around the large boulders of glacial moraine.

This part of the trek heads north towards the Mirador, which means that the wind is usually head-on, making this portion of the trek more difficult than it would normally be.

The Torres Base

Once you travel around the final bend of the path, you will see the sky-high ‘towers’ and a stunning blue-coloured lake at their base.

Most people take about half an hour to relax, enjoy some food and take in the view.

When you’re done soaking up the scenery, you’ll head back the way you came up; stopping by Refugio Chileno if you wish.

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END OF THE “W” (West to East)

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For Even More Information Please Click Through Here:

Torres del Paine W Trek West to East Torres del Paine W Trek East to West

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

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W Trek Refugios Along the Trail

Torres del Paine W Trek refugio accommodation youth 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.

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. 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

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Peak Season the Torres del Paine W Trek

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 One Year Ahead

All bookings should, ideally, be made up to one year in advance in order to secure your spot. However, if you have limited availability, 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

The winter months of Chilean Patagonia (late April to early September) present challenges to itinerary design that have to be worked around. 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. If 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.

Our EMAIL is: request@experiencechile.org

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What about The Torres del Paine O Circuit?

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.  This trek will take you off to more remote areas with even fewer traces of human life.

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. All gear and camping equipment is included as part of the program, so you won’t need to worry about bringing your own.

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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FAQ’s Torres del Paine W Trek

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. 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. How long does the W Trek take to walk on average?

Most people complete the W Trek in anywhere between four and five days but the pace that you set is up to you, our custom itinerary system is designed to allow you to plan out your time to suit your needs.

The trek itself is 74 kilometres in length and along mostly flat ground, although some inclines will be essential of course. The longest and most difficult days will conventionally see you hiking for anywhere between six and eight hours, this, of course, will include plenty of breaks to stop and take in the view.

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. Do 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.

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 wildlife can I expect to see?

Guanacos are close cousins of the Peruvian llamas and are often seen in Eastern sector of the Park.

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

Just make sure to bring some binoculars if you want a good view of condors!

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.

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.

Our Direct Request Email is: 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.

1 A TDP W TREK LANDING NEW

Please fill out form below:

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