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Guide to hiking Torres Del Paine W circuit

Torres del Paine hike adventure emma tryon globemad

 

What to pack |   Camping and trekking equipment   |   Food   |   Transport   | 

Accommodation (All campsites and refugios)   |  Costs   |  The route   |   Print friendly route

 

Getting to grips |

Torres Del Paine is a stunning national park with a range of routes. You can hike a W trek, a O trek and a Q trek. Each is longer than the former and is named based on the letter shape assigned to it. We will focus on the spectacular BIG W, completed over 5 days. You can choose to trek west to east or east to west; we will focus on the west to east route. The campsites and refugios vary in price (See Below) and there are several ways to space out where you sleep; we will focus on the cheapest possible way to do it.

Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales does a great talk every day at 3pm. It’s designed to help you get to grips with everything you need for the trek. It is a great way to meet people that will be trekking at a similar time to you. They also let you take free gas that has been left by other hikers!

 Guide to the best way to hike Torres Del Paine W trek

What to Pack |

The weather can vary beyond belief on the track, so you have to be well prepared. Because you have to carry everything it is best to work with layers you can build up or take off as needed.

We have put together a comprehensive list on what you may want to pack >>>

Torres del Paine trek adventure top tips globemad

 Guide to the best way to hike Torres Del Paine W trek

Camping and trekking equipment |

We have included this in the packing lists and if you need to rent anything, check out the rental costs from Erratic Rock below.

Camping |

Tent | Light weight and low to the ground is ideal due to very strong winds

Sleeping bag | Try to match it to the season you trek in.

Sleeping mat | Essential to keep the ground from sapping your body heat.

Head torch | Very useful at night time.

Multi Tool | Useful for everything you don’t expect.

Small cooking stove | preferably for gas cans.

Gas cans | Many can get by with one. Check out our awesome cooking and food tips for the trek >>>

Pan with lid and Handle | The pan can double up as your bowl!

Plate | Optional, you may prefer to save washing and eat out the pan.

Fork, spoon, knife

Cup

Lighter & matches | Always have a spare!

Scrubber and some form of soap

 Guide to the best way to hike Torres Del Paine W trek

Trekking |

Backpack | 50 – 60 Liters

Daypack | It should fit inside your main pack. This will be great for sections where you can leave your main bag at a camp.

Dry sack | Essential for keeping your valuables dry in a storm.

GPS and Compass | The path is predominantly easy to follow, but it may be a good idea take a GPS or compass uncase you get a little lost.

Walking Poles | surprisingly important, especially if you are carrying a lot weight. Really do recommend these. You can rent them in Puerto Natales.

First Aid | Plasters, anti-histamine, pain killers ect

Drinking bottle| You can fill up water at refugios and many streams

 Guide to the best way to hike Torres Del Paine W trek

Food and Drink |

Food is soooo important! How much to take, top tips, meal ideas, drinks, snacks, how much gas you will need, where to buy everything and more.

We have put together an entire section on THIS >>>

Food for 5 days hardcore trekking Torres Del Paine

 Guide to the best way to hike Torres Del Paine W trek

Transport |

Getting to the area |

Transport for getting there depends on where you’re coming from (of course!) So, just a few little pointers.

There are several Airports in the region. El Calafate in Argentina is the best to use as it is the closest that actually receives flights from a range of places you are likely to be coming from.

There are ways of getting directly to the National Park from El Calafate, but this is more expensive as it has to be part of a bus tour. It costs around 1700 ARS [Learn about Blue Dolar Rate!]

The best way is to Bus to Puerto Natales and use this as your base for setting up. It costs 450 ARS from El Calafate. Then the return is 15.000 CLP (15 GBP / 22 USD) back to El Calafate after your adventure.

Getting TO the National Park |

Once in Puerto Natales buy an open return bus ticket from Puerto Natales to Torres Del Paine. This costs 13.000 -15.000 CLP (13-15 GBP / 19-22 USD) Maria Jose is the cheapest company.

The latest times are printed on the ticket and designed to work well with your trek.

Getting AROUND the National Park |

Once you are in the park, the bus stops 3 times. It stops as Porteria Laguna Amarga, then Lago Pehoe, then Centro de Visitantes y administration. There is a boat across Lago Pehoe and the rest is up to you. Check out THE Route for more info

 Guide to the best way to hike Torres Del Paine W trek

Accommodation |

Campsites|

Refugio & Campsite Grey: 6.000 CLP (6 GBP / 10 USD) Per person per night

Refugio & Campsite Paine Grande: 7.000 CLP (7 GBP / 12 USD) Per person per night

Campsite Italiano: FREE

Refugio & Campsite Los Cuernos: 7.000 CLP (7 GBP / 12 USD) Per person per night

Refugio & Campsite Chileno: 8.000 CLP (8 GBP / 14 USD) Per person per night

Campsite Torres: FREE

Refugios |

Note, not all campsites have refugios, don’t get caught out!

The refugios vary from 25.000 – 40.000 CLP (25 – 40 GBP / 34 - 55 USD) per person, per night. This is JUST for the bed, so you will still need to take your own sleeping bag. Alternatively, you can pay around an extra 15.000 CLP (15 GBP / 22 USD) for the bedding.

Food at refugios is also very expensive ranging from around 6.000 CLP (6 GBP / 10 USD) for breakfast to 15.000 CLP (15 GBP / 22USD) for lunch and evening meals, drinks are also extra.

It is always best to book in advance. By visiting Erratic Rock’s daily meeting, you can get the latest prices and get help booking your bed.

Costs |

Essential Cost |

All based on starting your trip in Puerto Natales and looking to do it the cheapest possible way!

 5 days food: Bought in Puerto Natales costs 16.000 CLP (16 GBP / 23 USD) Top tips on planning your meals >>>

Open return bus ticket from Puerto Natales to Torres Del Paine: 13.000 -15.000 CLP (13-15 GBP / 19-22 USD) Maria Jose is the cheapest company.

Park Entrance Fee: One off fee until you leave the park is 18:000 CLP (18 GBP / 25 USD)

Lago Pehoe boat cost: 15.000 CLP

Totally campsites costs: 6.000 CLP (6 GBP / 11 USD) per person if you’re lucky, or 13.000 (13 GBP / 19 USD) if you’re not. All is explain in The Route

 

Rental costs |

This depends on what you already have. Erratic rock has everything you need and is fairly priced. You can shop around, but there is not a lot in it.

Cost shown below are per item, per day |

Torres del paine equipment rental price list

 

The Route |

Map |

Use THIS link to Google to pick out a MAP that YOU like the look of.

Also note, they give you a map on arrival at the National Park its self.

 

For a photo free text version |

We also put this page together to make it super fast, to copy paste and print >>>

 

Full W Trek |

Note, heavy camping bags, full of food, really will slow down your usual average, we are basing timings on the National Park averages.

 

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)

Torres del Paine hike adventure photos globemad boat ride lago pehoe
Day 1: Where you take the boat across Lago Pehoe

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

Torres del Paine hike adventure photo globemad
Day 1: Beginning of the trek after the boat ride

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

Torres del Paine hike travel photos globemad

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 Grey.

Torres del Paine Glacier  hike adventure photos globemad

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.   You may even want to brave a swim! Of course this is obscenely dangerous…

Torres del Paine hike adventure travel photos globemad
Day 1: Glacier Grey

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.

Torres del Paine hike adventure canoeing globemad
Day 1 or 2: Canoeing bay near camp Glacier Grey

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

Torres del Paine hike adventure photos globemad campsite
Day 1: Glacier Grey Campsite

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.

Torres del Paine trek adventure photos globemad
Day 2: Where the path flicks back on its self

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

Torres del Paine hike adventure emma tryon globemad
Day 2: The Bridge to Camp Italiano

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

Torres del Paine trek adventure photos globemad
Day 2: Camp Italiano

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.

Torres del Paine hike adventure photos globemad
Day 3: Awesome views for miles from the top of the Frances valley

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.

Torres del Paine trek adventure photos globemad
Day 3: Los Cuernos campsite and refugio option

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.

Torres del Paine hike adventure emma tryon globemad
Day 4: Typical path on the trek.

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.

Torres del Paine hike adventure photos globemad
Day 4: Camp Torres

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.

Torres del Paine hike adventure photos globemad
Day 4 or 5: Torres Del Paine Mirador

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.

Torres del Paine trek adventure photos globemad
Day 5: The last bridge before the hotel!

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.

Torres del Paine trek adventure photos globemad
Day 5: The waiting spot for the bus back to the entrance.

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!

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

The Print Friendly Route |

For a practical full blown, ready to print version, all text no pictures. Please click here >>>

 

To our photo journey through this beautiful land, check THIS out >>>

Hiking inspiration ideas Patagonia emma tryon globemad

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4 Responses

  1. Prady
    | Reply

    Thanks for posting your experience. It was helpful. We are planning to go to Torres del Paine NP in March for 3 days and 2 nights. Which hikes would you recommend? We are thinking about hiking the Base of Torres, Grey Glacier (would like to do kayaking), not sure about the third one yet. Is it achievable?
    Are there any other private buses we can take later in the day (after 4pm) from the national park to Puerto Natales?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Globemad Emma
      | Reply

      Hiya, it will be SO beautiful in March.

      The layout of the route makes it harder to do smaller sections of it, there is very little transport within the park, it is geared up to do things in a row really.
      I’ll try to make two suggestions, but I would also say if you have 3 days 2 nights you would have to go VERY fast and cut out some parts, if you can spare an extra day it would be worth it.

      Option 1:
      Day 1: Boat and Trek to the first viewing point of Glacier Gray and then returning to the boat area to sleep. (This means missing Kayaking)
      Day 2: Trek as much as you can (Missing the Frances valley/middle of the ‘W’) and try to get Refugio/Camp Chileno or some other accomadtion on the east section of the W. This would be quite an extreme day, but has been done.
      Day 3, hiking to Base of Torres then head back down and out the park.

      Option 2:
      Could include Kayaking, but is a bit more risky due to lack of internal transport.

      Day 1: Boat and Trek as fast asyou can to Glacier Gray, go Kayaking and sleep there.
      Day 2: If you get up really early you should be able to get back to the boat on time. Take the boat back then make your way to accommodation near the east side of the ‘W’ / near the base of Torres.
      You will need to double check boat and bus timings on your first day.

      BUSES: Most of the buses leave the park at 14:30 to head back to Puerto Natales. Some people that had booked package deals had buses leaving latter in the day, but they were quite expensive and might have other restrictions on them.

      To be honest 3 days 2 nights might just be a bit too short for what you’re hoping to do. I know it’s frustrating, we spent ages trying to weigh it all up.
      Really hope this helps, have an epic time!

  2. Ana Rios
    | Reply

    Hi I just found this and was thinking to do this at the end of April do you think it’s too late to book this? Also I’m a female who will be going alone, do you feel this will be an issue? I’m not sure about the wildlife here

    • Globemad Emma
      | Reply

      Hiya Ana, end of April is the very end of the recommended season, but can certainly still be a great time to travel. If you head to Puerto Natales you will be able to check with locals If it is still safe. If you are well prepared it should be fine. The tracks are very well trodden and there are often others on the trail, most of the year round. If any paths are deemed unsafe they typically close them. Wildlife shouldn’t be a big problem, its rare people encounter anything on the trails, but I guess there is risk in everything. http://www.erraticrock.com are a GREAT hostel and trekking company based in Puerto Natales, great for hiring equipment and meeting people to trek with. They also do a free hiking briefing every day!

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