Chile

W Trek - Self Guided 5 Days: West to East

5 Day trek in Patagonia, Chile

W Trek - Self Guided 5 Days: West to East

5 Day trek in Patagonia, Chile

Experience the exhilarating 5-day Self Guided version of the W trek (this itinerary runs West to East along the park trail), guiding you through trails that unveil glaciers, lakes, forests, and the iconic Paine Towers, fulfilling every trekker's craving for adventure. Named after the perfect W shape formed by the convergence of paths encircling the southern sector of the Macizo del Paine, this trek offers an unforgettable journey. The W Circuit highlights include Base Torres, Francés Valley, and Grey Glacier. *Refugios: These cozy rustic lodges in the park offer shared bunk (dorm-style) accommodation, with 4-6 bunks per room, and include bedding and meals. Departures available daily (subject to availability).

What is a self guided trek?

Our self-guided treks in Torres del Paine provide not only independence and convenience but also the opportunity to connect with fellow adventurers. You'll encounter many others embarking on the same journey, sharing experiences and camaraderie along the way. While we handle the logistics - from transportation to accommodation and meals - you'll enjoy the freedom to explore the well-marked trails at your own pace, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the park. Lace up your boots and join the community of explorers on this unforgettable adventure!

OVERVIEW: West to East W Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Torres del Paine National Park - Trek from Paine Grande to Grey

Day 2: Trek Grey to Paine Grande

Day 3: Trek from Paine Grande to the French Valley

Day 4: Trek from Los Cuernos / Francés to Torres Central

Day 5: Trek to the Base of the Towers – Return to Puerto Natales

*Refugios: Rustic Lodges in the park with shared bunk (dorm style accommodation), 4-6 bunks per room. All bedding and meals included.

*Camping: All gear is included (sleeping bag, tents, sleeping pad) and setup each night prior to your arrival (you will not carry camping gear from site to site).

Departures: All Days (Dependent on Availability)

TRIP PDF
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Torres del Paine National Park – Trek from Paine Grande to Grey

After breakfast at the hotel, head to the bus terminal to catch the 7:00 am bus. We recommend arriving at least 10 minutes before departure. The bus ride offers scenic views as you travel toward Torres del Paine National Park. Upon reaching Pudeto, board the catamaran that will take you to Paine Grande.

The hike begins through a narrow and winding valley leading to Los Patos Lagoon. As you progress, you will start to see parts of the vast Southern Ice Field and the ice floes of Grey Lake. After passing the sometimes very windy viewpoint, the path descends through a mountainous forest until you reach the Grey Refuge. From here, if you continue for about 10 minutes, you will arrive at the Grey Glacier lookout, where you will be face to face with this massive blue ice formation.

  • Distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 4–4.5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium
  • Accommodation: Grey Refuge (full bed) or camping
  • Meals: Box lunch and dinner

Enjoy breakfast in the dining room of the refuge and don't forget to ask for your box lunch. If you didn't have a chance to visit the hanging bridges the previous afternoon, you can use the morning to explore the spectacular panoramic views of the Grey Glacier. Today, you'll follow the same path as yesterday to return to Paine Grande Refuge. Rest and enjoy dinner in the dining room of the refuge.

  • Distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 4–4.5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium
  • Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner
  • Accommodation: Paine Grande Refuge (full bed) or camping


Optional: Panoramic View of Grey Glacier

For an unforgettable panoramic view of Grey Glacier, set off on an extra 3-4 hour round trip past the refuge toward the famous hanging bridges. This area offers the best lookout of the glacier. In addition to observing the impressive ice, you can see the depth of the ravine formed by rivers and waterfalls from the Olguín Range. If you're lucky, you might witness ice calving into the deep, freezing waters of Grey Lake.

Distance: 4 km (2.5 miles)
Time: 3–4 hours (round trip)
Level of Difficulty: Medium

Day 3: Trek from Paine Grande to French Valley

Today's trek takes you to the heart of the park, skirting the blue waters of Skottsberg Lake. After approximately 2.5 hours of walking, you will reach the Italiano Camp (park rangers), where your journey to the French Valley begins. Climb large rocks and continue through the forest until you reach the French Plateau. Here, you will be rewarded with incredible views of Los Cuernos, turquoise glacial lagoons, and astonishing hanging glaciers that tumble down the east face of Paine Grande Mountain (3,050 m.a.s.l.). If you're lucky, you might hear the loud noise of the glacier and falling water, and it is very common to witness an avalanche. Enjoy your box lunch and a well-deserved rest. Then, continue your walk to Los Cuernos or Francés Refuge, where you will have dinner and rest.

  • Distance: 17 or 19 km (10.5 or 11.8 miles), depending on accommodation
  • Time: 6–8 hours, depending on the starting point
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium to high
  • Accommodation: Refuge (simple bed) or camping
  • Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Trek from Los Cuernos or Francés to Central

Enjoy your breakfast and request your box lunch. During today's hike, you will pass through beautiful crystalline streams and admire the hanging glaciers from Almirante Nieto Mount at 2,670 meters. You may also see majestic condors gliding overhead and follow the fascinating waters of Nordenskjöld Lake. Continue along the trail until you reach Torre Central Refuge, where you can relax and enjoy dinner.

  • Distance: 12 or 15 km (7.5 or 9.3 miles), depending on accommodation
  • Hiking Time: 4–5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium
  • Accommodation: Refuge (simple bed) or camping
  • Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner

Day 5: Trek to the Base of the Towers and Return to Puerto Natales

After breakfast at the refuge, request your box lunch and prepare for the adventure ahead! Today's hike begins through the Ascencio Valley, where you will enjoy its extensive forests. During the final ascent, you will traverse an immense field of giant rocks until you reach one of the most iconic viewpoints in the world, the famous Base of the Towers lookout. At an altitude of 900 meters above sea level, marvel at the three granite towers (North, Central, and South) and the sparkling turquoise glacial lake at their base. Take some stunning photos and enjoy your box lunch before following the same path back to the Torre Central Refuge.

Upon arrival, take the "Las Torres" shuttle at 7:00 pm from the Visitor’s Center to Laguna Amarga, and then the regular bus at 7:45 pm back to Puerto Natales. The estimated arrival time in Puerto Natales is 9:30 pm.

  • Distance: 22 km (13.7 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 8–10 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: High
  • Meals: Breakfast and box lunch

Additional Trip Info

  • Camping and / or refuge accommodations according to your itinerary.
  • Refugio Program: Lodge accommodations are in shared and mixed dorms, with bunkbeds.
    *Full bed in Grey and Paine Grande refuges includes sheets, cover and pillow.
    *Simple bed in Central and Frances refuges includes a sleeping bag and pillow.
  • Camping Program: accommodations in Grey and Paine Grande include an already-pitched tent, sleeping bag, liner and mat.
  • Camping Program: accommodations Central and Frances include: tent is elevated from the ground at a height of 5.2 ft, sleeping bag, high-density foam mat, pillow
  • Welcome drink voucher.
  • Bus transportation to and from the park + shuttle bus ticket to the Visitor’s Center.
  • All Meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, according to your itinerary.
  • If you have any dietary restrictions, make sure to inform us upon reservation. Food restrictions will only
    be honored if they are informed in advance.
  • Catamarán ticket.
  • Entrance ticket to Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Guide/Porter services (additional cost)
  • Any service not specified in the program
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue
  • Airfare
W Trek and O Trek Trail Map
W Trek and O Trek Trail Map
Torres del Paine Patagonia - Weather and Seasons
Torres del Paine Patagonia - Weather and Seasons

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