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Guide: Best cheapest way to Hike the W trek, Patagonia

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Day 1

Most buses leave Puerto Natales around 07:00, you should buy you ticket the day before. The bus takes a couple of hours and drops you inside National Park.   There are 3 possible stops. (Porteria Laguna Amarga, then Lago Pehoe, then Centro de Visitantes y administration)

Get off at the second stop, where you can take a have your lunch whilst you wait for the boat across Lago Pehoe to Refugio and Camp Paine Grande.   (The boat takes around one hour)

From here the track becomes very apparent. You are heading north west up the track towards Refugio and Camp Grey.

You reach and then pass Laguna Los Patos on the way.

After Laguna Los Patos, you have some beautiful trekking alongside the glacial waters. As you near the Lago Grey sign post,  look out for slight detours off the main path so that you can make the most of viewing the epic Glacier Gre

After arrival, you will want to allow around an hour to walk to and explore the Glacier Mirador (view point) from the campsite. It is only 15 minute walk each way, but it is well worth exploring the area once you’re there.  

Note you can pay to go canoeing and ice trekking from Grey if you wish. Canoeing is around 80.000 CLP (80 GBP / 140 USD) per person, ice trekking a bit less.  

There is a little shop near the campsite and the facilities in general are good.


Camping cost at Grey: 6.000 CLP per person per night. There is hot water for showers and indoor cooking facilities.


Day 2

A great addition to today’s hiking is to leave your bigger backpack after packing up your tent and walk 1 to 2 hours up the track to view the glacier from above. Naturally as far as you walk up, you will need to walk back.  

Once back at Grey, you can pick up your backpack and head back up the track from the previous day. It involves a lot of uphill scrambling and may take longer than the previous day. We estimate around 3.5 to 4 hours.

Before you reach Refugio and Camp Paine Grande there is a sharp turn left where you can begin heading towards Camp Italiano. We estimate 2.5 to 3 hours for this section.

You know you have reached the camp when you see an awesome rope bridge crossing river.

Don’t forget to check into your campsites, it helps them track you if anything goes a bit wrong


Camping cost at Italiano: Free. It is much more basic, but still has a cooking area, toilets and a stream for drinking water.


Day 3

Hurray! On day 3 you can leave your gargantuan beast of a backpack to trek up and down the Frances valley.

Day three still involves a lot of walking but seems restful by contrast. There is a lot of scrambling involved and winds can pick up. You may see avalanches, but don’t fear, they are from afar.   It takes around 2.5 to 3 hours to trek up the valley to the 360 panoramic view point.

Depending on your trekking style you can get back down pretty quickly. If the camp is quiet at Italiano, you may be able to stay an extra night there. Technically, they say you should only stay one night, but they can be flexible if it is quiet. If not, then you have to allow an additional to 2 hours to trek to Refugio & Campsite Los Cuernos.


Camping cost at Italiano: Free. It is much more basic, but still has a cooking area, toilets and a stream for drinking water.

Camping cost Los Cuernos: 7.000 CLP per person per night. There is hot water for showers and a decent cooking shelter.


Day 4

Depending on whether you set off from Camp Italiano or Los Cuernos and whether you choose to trek all the way up to Torres view point, you have anywhere between and 20 and 28 km to trek today. You are aiming for Camp Torres. The trail follows the lake for some time before swinging up into the final valley.

The paths are generally smoother and easy to follow. The track is beautiful and it undulates greatly throughout. As you will be carrying less and the paths are more straight forward, you may find your hiking speed picks back up today. It can take 8 to 11 hours depending on your pace and what you actually decide to do.

It is worth asking about a weather prediction when you check in Camp Torres. This way you can work out whether to go straight up or wait for the next day.


Camping cost at Torres: Free. It is basic, but still has a cooking area, toilets and somewhere to get water drinking water.


Day 5

If you are blessed with a good weather prediction, plan to get up or an epic sunrise. The path upto the view point is really steep and involves much traversing across shale and often fighting high winds, so allow much time and take it carefully. In day light it should take 45 minutes to one hour up, allow more time if you are braving it before sunrise.

You can then make your way back to camp to have breakfast and pack up. From here it can take 3 to 4 hours to hike down to Hotel Los Torres. It is all downhill, so take it easy on your knees.

You can get a bus from Hotel Los Torres to Porteria Laguna Amarga for 2.500 CLP. The buses are set up so they ensure you arrive in time for your bus back out of the park, usually around 14:30.

If you want to save the money, you can hike the road in 1 to 1.5 hours. You are just following the road, so it isn’t that pretty, but if you have the time and would rather spend the money on hot chocolate later, it is worth it!

 Guide: Best cheapest way to Hike the W trek, Patagonia

The buses drop you back off in the main bus terminal in Puerto Natales.


Torres del Paine trek adventure top tips globemad


Food for 5 days hardcore trekking Torres Del Paine


Ooo and don’t forget, every day at 3pm, Erratic Rock do a great prep talk in Puerto Natales www.erraticrock.com

Guide: Best cheapest way to Hike the W trek, Patagonia


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