Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most pristine and remote wilderness areas the world. The “W-Trek” is the one of the most iconic hiking routes in Patagonia’s famed park.
For five days, you will trek along a stunning pocket of the planet that house glacial lakes with icebergs, glaciers and towers or dramatic spires of granite rock that along a route that loosely resembles a W on the southern Patagonia ice cap. And— you will also kayak and explore the area by paddle! Here’s what all that looks like:
DAY 1: Arrive at the airport in either Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales, Chile.
DAY 2: Drive to Torres Del Paine National Park. Before your trek begins, your guides will give you an overview of the region you’ll be exploring, as well as pointers on good trekking techniques for the expedition. Begin tour with a trek up the Ascencio Valley, stop for a break at a refugio, continue trekking through a forest of lenga (beech) trees, to a glacial moraine, and for your first view of Torres del Paine rock towers. Dinner and overnighting at a refugio. About 12 miles (19 km) of trekking at an elevation gain/loss of 2,430 feet, approx. 7 hours.
This photo and top: trekkers at the base of the Towers in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia. (Credit: Mark Tucan/iStock)DAY 3: Trek along Lake Nordenskjold, with views of Mount Almirante Nieto. Stop for lunch, trek to the next refugio, for dinner and overnighting. About 8.1 miles of trekking, at an elevation gain/loss of 750-900 feet, approx. 5-6 hours.
DAY 4: Trek to the French Valley, “one of most picturesque valleys in Torres del Paine National Park …[with] hanging glaciers and granite walls, spires and glacial lakes.” Continue to Lodge Paine Grande. Trek about 13-15 miles (7-9 miles), at an elevation gain/loss of 2,200-2,350 feet, approx. 8 hours.
DAY 5: Trek along and kayaking on Grey Lake. Trek to Grey Lodge. (Note operator states: “This day’s activities are good-weather dependent.”) Trek about 7 miles (11 km), at an elevation gain/loss of 670 feet, approx. 4 hours.
DAY 6: Explore the west side of Grey Glacier. Do some ‘serious ice-trekking’ on the Grey Glacier, with the help and instructional input of guides. Then board a zodiac to rendezvous for lunch. For your last afternoon in the Patagonian wilds, you can explore the environs of Grey Lake. Overnight in a lodge, and have a final dinner with your group.
DAY 7: Drive to airport. OR, you can choose to remain in Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales, where Wildland Trekking can help arrange other excursions in Patagonia.
Patagonia: The Torres del Paine W Trek | WILDLAND TREKKING
Phone: 800.715.4453 | 928-223-4453 | More contact info here.
Length: 7 days; approx. 72 kilometres/45-mile trek.
Departs: contact operator directly for current depart dates.
Accommodations: hotels, but mostly this is 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./approx. from $4,360 USD (includes in-country expenses, gear, meals, lodgings, transportation; but not international flights). But you must contact operator for current pricing.
Difficulty: Operator defines this as “Level 3.” Ask for specifics on this designation.
Note: The operator states that the itinerary for this tour may be subject to change, depending on circumstances that can range from bad weather to availability of refugios to political or social circumstances.