Patagonia: The Torres del Paine W Trek, by Wildland Trekking.
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most pristine and remote wilderness areas the world. The W-Trek is the most iconic trekking route in the Park, and it is for great reason! The dramatic granite towers and spires will draw you in, and in you shall go! The W-trek will take you along the shores of stunning glacial lakes encompassing electric blue icebergs. You will experience sheer rock spires as tall as the sky and the magnificent, southern Patagonian ice cap. Additionally, you have the opportunity to walk on prehistoric glaciers and kayak around icebergs in a glacial lake!
The beauty of this raw and dramatic landscape will help you understand why the park is designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Wildland International is an active partner of the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund, which helps educate local children, is creating a local recycling program, conducts W-trail restoration and much more. Keep your cameras ready and get ready for an unforgettable adventure with Wildland International. Here’s details from Wildland Trekking:
DAY 1 Arrive at airports in Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales, Chile. Pick up and shuttle to Puerto Natales. Overnight here.
DAY 2 Drive to Torres Del Paine National Park. Guides brief you on effective trekking techniques, and give overview of the natural and cultural history of the area. Begin trekking up the Ascencio Valley, with views of the Ascencio River. Arrive at Refugio Chileno, stop for water and snacks. Continue through a forest of native lenga (beech) trees, hike to a glacial moraine (a ridge made from earth pushed by the glacier).
From the moraine, trek another hour to reach the most amazing view of the Torres del Paine rock towers. The views of the granite towers and glacial lake are breathtaking. Later head back to a refugio for dinner and the night. Today, you trek about 12 miles (about 19 km) at an elevation gain-loss of 2,430 feet, for approx. 7 hours.
DAY 3 Trek along Lake Nordenskjold (named after a Swedish geologist who contributed to the study of glaciology). Great views of the hanging glaciers above on Mount Almirante Nieto. Stop for lunch, then trek to next refugio. Today, you trek about 8.1 miles at an elevation gain-loss of 750-900 feet, for approx. 5-6 hours.
DAY 4 Trek to the French Valley, one of most picturesque valleys in Torres del Paine National Park. Unique for hanging glaciers and granite walls, spires and glacial lakes. People often witness glaciers calving (dropping giant icebergs), and you can hear this natural symphony in the granite amphitheater well. Continue trekking to Lodge Paine Grande, for views of the Paine Grande and Los Cuernos. Today, you trek about 13-15 miles (about 7-9 miles) at an elevation gain-loss of 2,200-2,350 feet, for approx. 8 hours.
DAY 5 Trek along and kayaking on Grey Lake, with views of electric-blue icebergs and the magnificent Grey Glacier. Hike to the northeast coast of Lake Grey, where you’ll paddle through the floating icebergs of Lake Grey (guides will help you). Kayak near Grey Glacier for a view of the river of ice. Then hike to the new Grey Lodge, with some free time till dinner. (Note: this day’s activities are good-weather dependent.) Today, you trek about 7 miles (about 11 km) at an elevation gain-loss of 670 feet, for approx. 4 hours.
DAY 6 Explore west side of Grey Glacier. Upon arrival, disembark on the land in between the ice (“nunatak”) and walk on it till you reach the ice. Guides brief the group on safety aspects, and teach proper techniques and correct use of equipment. After the brief, begin an exploration of Grey Glacier, for about three hours. See crevasses, rivers, lagoons and tunnels in different tones of blue.
Return to zodiac and ride back to the docking point for lunch. After lunch, board a larger boat and explore perimeter of Lake Grey to get up close with the icebergs. Later, depart for Puerto Natales, where you overnight in a lodge and enjoy a last dinner together.
DAY 7 Drive to airports in Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales. OR, choose to remain in either city and Wildland Trekking can help arrange extra activities in Patagonia.
- World-famous national park
- Comfortable backcountry lodges
- Ice hike across an ancient glacier
- Kayak on a glacial lake
- Phone: 800.715.4453. More contact info here.
- Length: 7 days/72-km/45-mile trek
- Departs: Contact operator for info on dates for 2021 and 2022.
- Accommodations: hotels; mostly a refugio-to-refugio trek. From operator: “Refugios are inviting backcountry huts/lodges with beds, kitchens, chefs and staff, dining rooms, bathrooms/showers, dorm-style with communal, coed bedrooms that contain 6-8 beds. Bathrooms are gender-separated with hot water, showers and flush toilets,” though operator adds “these exact accommodations not guaranteed.”
- Price: est. $4,150 USD, but check directly with operator for current price (includes all in-country expenses, gear, meals, lodgings, transportation; but not international flights)
- Difficulty: please discuss with operator.
- Note: Itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances that range from bad weather to availability of refugios.
- Who is Wildland Trekking?