W Trek - Torres del Paine (Camping - Self Guided)

5 Day trek in Patagonia, Chile

W Trek - Torres del Paine (Camping - Self Guided)

5 Day trek in Patagonia, Chile

This 5 day camping version of the W trek takes you along trails reaching glaciers, lakes, forests and the mighty Paine Towers, feeding your trekking-hungry soul every step of the way. The name “W” comes from the formation of a perfect W with the coming together of the paths that surround the southern sector of the Macizo del Paine. The principal attractions of the W Circuit are: Base Torres, Francés Valley and Grey Glacier.
*All camping gear is supplied and set up upon arrival to your nightly destination.

Group guidance: Tuesday and Thursday's

Private guided: Every day

Self Guided: Every Day

+$320usd single supplement for solo campers

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Day 1: Arrive at Torres del Paine National Park - Hike to the Base of The Towers

2.5 hour drive
8 hours Hiking
Distance: 22km (13.7 miles)

We will After breakfast at your hotel in Puerto Natales, your packed lunch will be delivered, and you'll catch a 7 am public bus departing straight to Torres del Paine National Park. Journey across the vast Patagonian plains before reaching the entrance at Laguna Amarga, where it is required to register with CONAF (park rangers). Board the "Las Torres" shuttle bus that will drop you off at the Visitor’s Center. Register with the Cerro Paine Reserve and walk a short distance to Refugio Torre Central. Whether your accommodation is a shared-dorm room in the Refugio or camping, make sure to check-in prior to beginning your hike.

Today’s trek follows the Ascensio Valley as it snakes through windswept hills and wide-spread beech forests. During the final ascent, you’ll traverse an immense boulder field until reaching one of the most iconic mountain viewpoints in the world, the Base of The Towers. At a height of 900 meters (2953 feet) above sea level, marvel at the sheer granite walls of the (north, south, central) towers and the brilliantly turquoise glacial lake below. Take some photographs and have lunch before following the same path downwards to Refugio Torre Central. After a long day of hiking, enjoy a warm dinner at the lodge.

Distance: 22 kilometers (approximately 13.7 miles)

Time: 8-10 hours

Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

Accommodation: Refugio or Camping Torre Central

Meals: Packed lunch + Dinner

DAY 2: Trek to Refugio Los Cuernos

4-5 hours hiking
Distance: 12km (7.5 Miles)
Difficulty - Moderate

Enjoy breakfast and request your packed lunch in the dining area. Today, the trail leads you deep into the park towards Refugio Los Cuernos, one of the more secluded mountain lodges. Navigate over crystal clear streams, admire the hanging glaciers off of Mt. Almirante Nieto (2,670 meters or approximately 8,760 feet), and search for condors as you border the mesmerizing green-blue waters of Lake Nordenskjold. Follow the well-marked trail until you reach Refugio Los Cuernos, where you’ll unwind for the evening.

Distance: 12 kilometers (approximately 7.5 miles)

Time: 4-5 hours

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Accommodation: Refugio or Camping Los Cuernos

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, and Dinner

DAY 3: Explore the French Valley

6-7 Hours Hiking
Distance: 17km (10.6 miles)
Difficulty: Demanding

Set out on an early morning adventure for a full-day hike to the heart of Torres del Paine Park. Following breakfast, organize your packed lunch and prepare for a day filled with breathtaking Patagonian landscapes. Traverse through the Frances Campsite, and after 2-2.5 hours of hiking, you'll reach the base of the French Valley. Leave your backpack at the Italiano Ranger Station and commence your journey up the valley.

Ascend through a vast boulder field and follow a tree-lined ridge until you reach the French plateau (Mirador Frances). Here, you'll be greeted by stunning vistas of Los Cuernos (the Horns), turquoise glacial lagoons, and magnificent blue hanging glaciers cascading down the east face of Paine Grande (3,050 meters or approximately 10,007 feet). If you're fortunate, you may even hear the thunderous roar of water and ice cascading down, as avalanches are common in this area. Capture some memorable photographs and enjoy your packed lunch before descending back to the Italiano Ranger Station.

Retrieve your backpack and hike to Refugio Paine Grande (approximately 6.25-7.5 miles). Take it easy for the evening and indulge in a delicious meal at the lodge.

Distances: Mirador Frances: 17km (approximately 10.6 miles )

Time: Mirador Frances: 6-7 hours

Level of Difficulty: Demanding

Accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande or Camping Paine Grande

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, and Dinner

DAY 4: Grey Glacier (Optional hike to suspension bridges)

4.5 Hours Hiking
Distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)
Difficulty: Moderate

Begin your day by trekking through a narrow, winding valley leading to Laguna de Los Patos. As you progress, catch glimpses of the expansive Southern Patagonian Ice Field and the iceberg-studded Grey Lake. After encountering the occasionally very windy lookout point at Glacier Grey, the trail descends through a hilly forest until you stand face to face with the majestic Grey Glacier.

Distance: 11 kilometers (approximately 6.8 miles)

Time: 4-4.5 hours

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Accommodation: Refugio or Camping Grey

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, and Dinner


Embark on an extraordinary journey for an unparalleled panoramic vista of Grey Glacier. Extend your adventure by an additional 3-4 hours (round trip) beyond Refugio Grey to reach the renowned suspension bridges. Upon crossing the second suspension bridge, gaze down upon the vast expanse of deep blues and tiny turquoise lagoons adorning the magnificent Grey Glacier. With luck, witness the spectacle of ice calving into the icy depths of Grey Lake.

Distance: 4 kilometers

Time: 3-4 hours (round trip)

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

DAY 5: Trek to Refugio Paine Grande – Return to Puerto Natales

4-5 Hours Hiking
Distance: 11km (6.8 miles)
Difficulty: Moderate

On your final day in the park, you have two options:

Option 1:

Retrace your steps along the trail to Refugio Paine Grande to catch the 11:30 AM catamaran departing for the Pudeto boat dock. From there, board the 1:00 PM public bus back to Puerto Natales. Anticipate arriving in Puerto Natales around 4:30 PM.

Distance: 11 kilometers (approximately 6.8 miles)

Time: 4-4.5 hours

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Meals: Breakfast, Packed lunch

Option 2:

If you missed the opportunity to visit the suspension bridges the previous day, spend the morning exploring the breathtaking panoramic vistas of Grey Glacier. Afterwards, follow the same trail back to Refugio Paine Grande to catch the 6:30 PM catamaran to the Pudeto boat dock. From there, board the 7:00 PM public bus back to Puerto Natales. Expect to arrive in Puerto Natales around 10:00 PM.

Distance: 4 kilometers

Time: 3-4 hours (round trip)

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Additional Information - Restrictions and Suggestions:

Additional Information - Restrictions and Suggestions:

• This itinerary is not suitable for children under the age of 10.

• Participants should be capable of carrying their personal belongings throughout the program. We suggest utilizing 40-liter backpacks.

• For those desiring to lighten their load during the hike, we provide luggage storage in Puerto Natales.

Departure Details:

• Departures are available every day (subject to availability) from October to April.

Program Adjustments:

• All outings are contingent upon weather conditions.

Pre-Trip Briefing: Expect a briefing at our local partner's office in Puerto Natales the day before your journey.

Camping: Enjoy fully-supported camping, including a two-person tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag, with all meals provided along the route. Your daypack should contain lunch (provided) and personal items for each overnight stop.

Refugios: Accommodations at refugios consist of dormitory rooms. Some refugios offer sleeping bags and pillows, while others provide sheets, blankets, and pillows.

Luggage Storage: You can safely store your luggage with our local partners in Puerto Natales, or at your selected hotel.

Optional Excursions: Availability varies for these excursions and must be booked and paid for in advance, as they are not included in the trip price. Contact us for further details.

Boat Trip on Glacier Grey: Experience a boat trip on Day 5 from Refugio Grey to the southern end of the lake, followed by a private transfer to Puerto Natales. This option skips the hike from Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande, but allows for an optional hike to the Ferrier lookout (3hrs, 5.6km, 651m elevation gain) after the boat trip. USD $130 per person.

Kayaking in Front of Glacier Grey: Enjoy kayaking in front of Glacier Grey on Day 4 or 5. USD $180 per person.

Ice Hike on Glacier Grey: Experience an ice hike on Glacier Grey on Day 4 or 5. USD $240 per person.

Single Supplement: Solo travelers incur a single supplement of USD $360.

Getting to the start of the W trek: The trip begins and ends in the Chilean town of Puerto Natales, a touristic bus is provided in the package to/from Torres del Paine National Park. Flights are recommended from Santiago to Puerto Natales, in the case there are no flight direct to Puerto Natales from Santiago, you can fly into Punta Arenas, ground transfers can also be arranged from the Argentina town of El Calafate at an extra cost.

Additional Trip Info

  • Transport on a regular bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park and back.
  • 2 nights in Central Sector, 1 night in the Francés Sector and 1 night in the Paine Grande Sector, depending on availability.
  • Campsite includes: tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
  • All meals: breakfast, lunch (box lunch) and dinner.
  • Box lunch on return day to Puerto Natales. Pehoé Lake Catamaran.
  • Torres del Paine National Park entrance fees.
  • Welcome Kit: Includes sleeping-bag liner, microfiber towel, water bottle (stainless steel), a map and a journal notebook. This kit will be given to you at the office in Puerto Natales when you show your voucher.
  • Guide (additional cost)
  • Any service not specified in the program. Additional activities
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue
  • Gratuity
  • Drinks
W Trek Trail Map - Torres del Paine

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