Torres Del Paine W Trekking Route

→ East to West

W Trek  Refugio Accommodation  Hotels  Luxury Lodges Glamping

Start at Estancia Sector and End at Grey Sector

Brief Descriptions

How many sectors can the W Trek be broken into?

The W trek can be broken into three sectors which are:

EASTERN END: The Estancia Sector
This includes the trek to the base of the Towers.
Hosteria Las Torres, and the Refugio Torre of Central, Refugio Torre Norte, ECO Camp and the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre.

CENTRAL PART: Cuernos Sector
This includes the trek into the French Valley.
Cabañas Cuernos, Domos Cuernos and Refugio Cuernos.

WESTERN END: Grey Sector
This includes the trek along Grey Lake to Glacier Grey.
Refugio Paine Grande and Refugio Grey.

NOTE: The information further below is for a W- Trek going East to West. If trekking West to East you can enter the W.Trek trail from Refugio Paine Grande. To do this you will need to cross over on the catamaran from Pudeto (pay the passage on board in cash) and from Paine Grande either go West to Refugio Grey (4hrs) and after that walk the entire W Trek West to East, or go East from Paine Grande walk straight to Domos Frances or Cuernos.

You can also take the boat from Hotel Grey across Grey Lake to Refugio Grey and start from there, again, West to East. 

Estancia Sector to the Mirador Las Torres (or Torres Base as it is also known)

Operated: Between September to end of April

Start: Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Torre Central, Refugio Torre Norte or ECO Camp. And, of course from the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre, which is located in this area.
End: Back at the same start point or at Refugio Chileno, Refugio Cuernos, Cabañas Cuernos or Domos Frances.
Trek Time: Allow 9hrs return time
Distance: Trail head to Torres Base and back: 18km. However, many people stay at Refugio Chileno to break this trek. Refugio Chileno is half way between Estancia Sector and the Torres Base (base of the Towers) and a 2hr trek up from the trail head beside Hotel Las Torres and 2hrs from the Torres Base.
Difficulty: Medium to high. Involves up-hill sectors, and scrambling up and over boulders.
Experience Required: None, but you need to be reasonably fit and accustomed to long walks.
Altitude Gain: 866m.

Description

This trek can be broken into four sectors:

Estancia sector to the entrance to the Ascencio Valley

This is the route up to Refugio Chileno and takes about 1hr 15min up a steady incline.

Entrance to the Ascencio Valley to Refugio Chileno

This takes about 45min and is mostly downhill. For the first 200 metres, on the right side of the trail is a steep drop down into the valley and the river below.

BE CAREFUL – THERE ARE OFTEN VERY STRONG WINDS AROUND THE ACUTE BEND WHERE THE PATH ENTERS INTO ASCENCIO VALLEY.

Refugio Chileno to the Glacial Moraine Sector

This takes about 1hr along an undulating trail, steep in short sections. There are two river crossings, with bridges, and a dense lenga (beech tree) forest (older than 100 years) to walk through.

The Moraine Sector

This takes 1hr approx, uphill, over and between large boulders of glacial moraine, which is the most difficult part and walking poles are very helpful. Since this part of the trek heads north, towards the Mirador, the wind is usually head-on and this makes it more strenuous and difficult than it would normally be.

Estancia Sector to Cuernos

(Hiking East to West) or on to Domos Frances (1hr past Cuernos)

Operated: Between September to end of April

Start: Hotel Las Torres, Refugio Torre Central, Refugio Torre Norte, ECO Camp or Refugio Chileno. And, of course from the Torres del Paine Welcome Centre, which is located in this area.
End: Refugio Cuernos, Cabañas Cuernos or Domos Frances.
Trek Time: Allow 5hrs one way.
Distance: 11km to Refugio and Cabañas Cuernos, and 13.5km if to Domos Frances.
Difficulty: Medium.
Experience Required: None, but you need to be reasonably fit and accustomed to long walks.
Altitude Gain: 250m

Description

This trek passes along the northern shore of the Nordenskjold Lake on the left, with its amazing dark-bluish water and on the right-hand side the breathtaking granite spires of Los Cuernos. The hike is along medium-difficulty terrain, with some hills, but every time you reach the top of a hill there is an amazing view. Just before arrival at Refugio / Cabanas Cuernos the trail passes through a beech-tree wood.

Cuernos Sector to Refugio Paine Grande via the French Valley

Operated: Between September to end of April

Start: Refugio or Cabañas Cuernos, or Domos Frances

End: Refugio Paine Grande

Trek Time: Allow 5hrs if trekking direct to Paine Grande and 10hrs if trekking into and out of the French Valley. If starting at Domos Frances take one hour of these times.

Distance: 24km if going via the French Valley and 13km if going direct to Paine Grande. If starting at Domos Frances these distances will be about 2.5km less.

Difficulty: Medium to high. Involves up-hill sectors, and scrambling up and over boulders.

Experience Required: None, but you need to be reasonably fit and accustomed to long walks.

Altitude Gain: 1,100m

Description

From sector Los Cuernos the trail undulates going up, down, across some streams and into wooded areas, but nothing too strenuous. After about 1hr it will pass by Domos Frances and then after another 1hr you will arrive to the un-serviced camping ground called Camp Italiano, which is at the entrance to the French Valley and a short-suspended foot bridge.

The French Valley part is a steady up-hill trail reaching an altitude of around 900m at the non-serviced Camp Britanico located about 1hr before at the “end” of the valley. However, if the weather is clear the views in the French Valley are spectacular, especially around Camp Britanico. Here, after traversing rivers and passing a beech-tree (lenga) wood, the skyline is dwarfed by granite spires and the “Paine Grande” – the highest mountain peak in the Park at 3,050m above sea level. The return trek will involve back-tracking until your reach the non-serviced camp ground called Camp Italiano, where the trail will veer right (if going to Refugio Paine Grande), across a suspension foot bridge to go over the Frances River and then the trail flattens out until reaching Refugio Paine Grande. From Camp Italiano to Paine Grande is about 2.5hrs.

Paine Grande to Refugio Grey

Operated: Between September to end of April

Start: Refugio Paine Grande
End: Refugio Grey
Trek Time: 4hrs
Distance: 11km
Difficulty: Medium.
Experience Required: None, but you need to be reasonably fit and accustomed to long walks.
Altitude Gain: 485m

Description

From Paine Grande the path ascends a hill to an altitude of 485m. This ascent is initially gradual and steady, becoming steeper the closer you get to the top of the hill. Once over the apex the path flattens out through a wood until it then drops down the other side towards Grey Lake. In parts the path is narrow and steep. Where the path follows the lake it is largely level, surrounded by old beech trees and bushes and if you are lucky you may hear the sounds of the Magellan Woodpecker. Once Grey Lake is in full view you will see glacial icebergs, which, if you have never seen such a sight is an amazing experience, but when you see Glacier Grey for the first time in the distance, the view is outstanding.

From Refugio Grey you either stay the night and the next day take the boat across Grey Lake (pre-booked by Experience Chile) to Hotel Lago Grey or trek back to Paine Grande. Alternatively, if you arrive to Refugio Grey early you can take the boat across the lake to Hotel Grey that same day. Other options are to do an Ice Hike on Glacier Grey and / or Kayak – both need to be pre-booked, which we can arrange.

Another option is to return back to Paine Grande (4hrs remember) and take the catamaran across the lake Pehoe to Pudeto.

END OF THE “W” (East to West)

Torres del Paine

W Trek Info

Why is it called the
W Trek?

The W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park is called so because the path marks out a “W” shape on the map. The total distance is around 55km.

View W Trek

Full Circuit Trek

W Trekking Route

W Trek & Circuit Treks

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