Torres del Paine: W Circuit

The truck is moves easily along the gravel path. Through the window you can see the first mountain peaks and smell the water close by as you begin to feel giddy in your seat. We are close to Laguna Amarga, the first stop in Torres del Paine National Park. We go down with our backpacks and when we finally touch the earth we hear the echo of our footsteps, and then we begin to understand why everyone talks about this place. The beautiful solitude, the natural isolation in one of the southernmost corners of the world. We have 5 days to do the W Circuit and complete 4 stages: Base Torres, Los Cuernos, French Valley and the Grey Glacier. Each one will take us further and further into the wilderness, defying our physical will and rewarding us at every step with the discovery of the new – floating glaciers, hidden mountains, forests of millennial lengas – and that adrenaline that comes into our hearts and bodies with every thrilling adventure.


  • Torres del Paine National Park
  • Trekking to Mirador Base Torres
  • El Chileno Lodge
  • Los Cuernos Lodge
  • Trekking to French Valley
  • Trekking Gray Glacier




You should be in the bus terminal to take the bus (regular) at 2:15 p.m. from the Rodoviario company. Departure at 14:30 hrs from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park (PNTP) and after almost two and a half hours and 112 km you will arrive at Laguna Amarga Administration at 16:30 hs. During the journey you will make a small stop at Cerro Castillo, a border town on the way to the park, 54 km from Puerto Natales. Once you have entered the park by Laguna Amarga Administration, you will buy your ticket and then take a shuttle to the Torres (Estancia sector) and the first refuge – “Torre Central” – to spend your first night among the stars and mountains.

You will begin the first stage of your tour: an hour and a half ascent in the direction of the “El Chileno” lodge. The level of difficulty is high so we recommend starting early (at around 9am) and take advantage of the morning. During the initial climb you will encounter the first views of the surrounding lakes and the hanging glacier of Monte Almirante Nieto (2,670 masl). Once in the lodge, you can recover your energy and leave your luggage here where you will spend your second night (if there is no space, the alternative is to return to Torres Central, although this would mean two additional hours of trekking). You will continue for an hour through an ancient forest of lenga and then reach the base of the “Morrena” (sediments deposited by a glacier when descending from topographically higher areas and dragging materials along with it). After climbing the moraine (about 45 minutes) you will arrive at one of the most impressive sections of the National Park – the “Mirador Base Torres” – from where you can appreciate the impressive South Tower (2,850 masl), Central Tower (2,800 masl) , North Tower (2,600 masl), Condor’s Nest and Torre Glacier.

Today you will undertake a trek of medium difficulty that will take you around the Paine Massif by the base of Cerro Almirante Nieto. We recommend that you start early (at 9 o’clock) to make the most of the daylight. After a half hour’s walk from the “El Chileno” lodge, you will run into the “Atajo”, a path on the right which will take you to “Los Cuernos”, your next lodge. During the hike you will see Lake Nordenskjöld, the hanging glaciers and some specimens of local flora such as “Ciruelillo” or “Notro”, which blooms in December, reddening the landscape. After about four or five hours of walking you will arrive at “Los Cuernos”, where you can rest in what is considered by many to be one of the most welcoming hostels in the entire circuit.

* Depending on availability we recommend staying in the “Cabañas Los Cuernos” (for 2 people) that has a spectacular view and a private HOT TUB which is shared by guests staying in the cabins, so do not forget your swimsuit! (see additional rates).

* If you stay in Refugio Torre Central the night before, the trail is perfectly demarcated and takes the same amount of time to reach the Los Cuernos sector.

The stage that you will start today has a high level of difficulty so we recommend starting the tour at 8:00 a.m. The first 2 hours are quiet and you can enjoy the view of Lake Nordenskjöld until you reach “Campamento Italiano”. At this point we recommend contacting CONAF staff so you can leave your heaviest bags and start the climb with only a small backpack (with water, food and shelter). You will begin the ascent through the French River Valley until you reach the French Glacier Viewpoint (1h30) and then continue the ascent until you reach the viewpoint of the “British” sector which offers some of the most impressive scenery in the entire national park. Here you can see the Paine Grande, Cathedral, Leaf, Mask, Sword, Shark Fin and North Horn. The return is by the same path until you reach “Campamento Italiano” and then to sector Pehoé to the “Paine Grande” lodge, where you will spend the night.

We recommend starting the hike today at 9:00 am as you are expected to trek back and forth to the Gray Glacier Viewpoint (difficulty: average). After walking for an hour and a half you will arrive at the first viewpoint from where it is possible to observe the immense glacier in the distance. On a path that passes by the west bank of Lake Grey, you will arrive after 1h30 / 2 hours to the main viewpoint where you can enjoy the views of Grey Glacier, Cordón Olguín and some icebergs. The return will take you along the same path until you reach the Pehoé sector to go to the pier from where the catamaran crosses Lake Pehoé. You should be at the pier at 6:00 p.m. to set sail at 6:30 p.m. to the Pudeto sector where your transport will be waiting for you to take you back to Puerto Natales (approximate time of arrival at Pto. Natales Road: 10:00 p.m.)

* It is important to take into account hike times so you can arrive on time for the departure of the Catamaran. During the trekking to the glacier, you can leave your backpacks in the Refugio Paine Grande. It is a free service for passengers staying in the refuge.


– All transfers mentioned in the itinerary
– 4 night accommodation
– Trekking to Base de las Torres
– Trekking to Cuernos del Paine (Los Cuernos shelter)
– Trekking to French Valley
– Trekking to British viewpoint
– Trekking to Grey Glacier viewpoint
– Breakfast & Lunch mentioned in the itinerary

Not include:

– International and / or Internal Flights
– National Parks, Reserves and Museum Tickets (except for exceptions mentioned in the itinerary)
– Optional excursions
– Tips
– Medical or Cancellation Insurance

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