Torres Del Paine.. Trail Talk


Something you have to see to believe. And we mean really see it.. Not one of those fly down, spend three days doing the “W” trek as quick as you can and then fly home. We mean.. slow down, take it all in, and really enjoy the beauty of this amazing national park.


Torres Del Paine is arguably the most popular national parks in all of South America. Found in the southern part of Patagonia on the Chilean side just outside of a town called Puerto Natales. It’s one of those places that sadly people fly just to do the hike and say, “I have traveled to Chile”. You get a mix of true backpackers that have been on the road for months pinching pennies to get by and people that have loads of money just flying down for the weekend to get “the picture” of the towers in that beautiful morning light before flying back home the next day.


Preparing for a trip into Torres Del Paine National Park is like preparing for the world to end. When you’re doing a trek like this you have to prepare yourself with enough food for 5-10 days along with clothing for all different types of weather. Luckily, with the amazing fresh water supply you don’t have to carry water, or even a filter for that matter! Choosing which hike to do in the park is the first beast to conquer. The three major hikes to do in this national park are as follows..


Option One: The Towers.


This hike consists of a short trek to the base of the towers. You honestly could do this trek in a day, but most the common choice would be to hike it partially one day, camp at either Torres Campsite, Refugio Chileno, or Eco Camp, and then wake up before sunrise and hike the rest of the way to the base of the towers. Torres Campsite is your best bet for getting up to the towers the quickest in the morning—it’s the closest to them, and the cheapest camp too!! Of course if camping isn’t your thing you should stay at the Refugio or at the super expensive and fancy hotel at the entrance of the trail  ~fanc-ay with the pinky out~.


Option Two: The “W” Trek.


This trek consists of 3-6 days hiking in a “W” shape. You have the choice to start on the East side of the park and do the tower leg of the “W” first, or start on the west side of the park and begin with the Glacier Grey leg of the “W”. This is totally up to the hiker and what they want to see. People say east to west is better for the scenery and vice-versa, but honestly, it’s all gorgeous! Be sure to consider the forecast when deciding which side to start on..You’re going to probably want better weather on the towers part of the hike so you can see the towers in all their morning glory. Keep in mind, when doing the “W” trek, you have to pay for a ferry to get you from the west side of the park back to the entrance or vice-versa.


The “W” trek is the most popular trek in the park. There are lots of people hiking it, and loads of beauty to get lost in. It’s tough with the weather and elevation gains, but totally worth the work! (This is the trek we did.. Check out this Torres post to read about our trek.) Here, you can find a map of the trek and different camping opportunities along the way.


Option Three: The “O” Circuit.


This circuit can be anywhere from 8-10+ days. We have heard of people doing it quicker, but when your taking the trail less traveled, why rush through the amazing creation around you? Here again, you have a few choices of which route you want to take to start your journey. You can either start on the west side of the park or the east side, and you have to decide if you’re going to do the “W” section first or last. There are pros and cons to all the options. First.. Starting on the west side of the park means that you have to pay for a ferry ride to and from the starting point at Refugio Paine Grande. Starting on the east side means no extra charges for a ferry ride, but you see the towers right in the beginning. After you make the decision of what side of the circuit you want to begin on, you have to decide if you want to do the “W” section first or last. We have heard people talk about both options. The biggest decision here is if you want to deal with all the people that are on the “W” first, or if you want to enjoy a bit quieter route first and then get bombarded with people at the end. The choice is yours.. click here to learn about what we decided when discussing this option!


{Traveler’s Tip.. Check out this Torres Del Paine Map to get an idea of what the routes look like.}


{Traveler’s Tip… Be sure to bring cash with you!! There are no ATMs out in the wilderness 😉 You’ll need cash for that $7 beer you crave, camping at the refugios , and the boat across the lake.} 


Be sure to really consider the physical state you’re in.. This trek is difficult. As you’re hiking remember to stop and just enjoy the scenery around you.. and know that you will get soaked, you will have good weather, but you will also have bad!! Obviously, this isn’t a very detailed outline of the Torres Del Paine Trip.. There’s way more you need to know.. You can read more details and travelers tips here.



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