Torres del Paine Circuit Trek
The Torres del Paine circuit is one of the world's classic trekking routes.Breathtaking views together with glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests and abundant wildlife provides the trip with constantly changing sceneries and experiences.
Day 1, Wednesday, The Patagonian Adventure starts
The trip begins with you being picked up from your hotel in Punta Arenas or Punta Arenas airport in the morning and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. Alternatively, you can start your trip in Calafate (see the weekly transfer board for EcoCamp's pick up & drop off schedule). En route we make a couple of stops - First in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of "Seno de Ultima Esperanza", where we enjoy a hearty local lunch, and second at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The journey is scenic and highly atmospheric, featuring many wild birds and wonderful Patagonian landscapes.
The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia (optional), nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and with a prime view of the majestic Torres. Sunset is usually around 11pm during the summer months, meaning that there will still be enough daylight for you to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon once you arrive.
For more details about trek distance and walking time, click here to check out our Trekking Chart.
Day 2, Thursday, EcoCamp to Camp Dickson
The day will start at EcoCamp as you prepare for your hike to Dickson Lake. The trail will leads you northwards along the eastern bank of the Rio Paine. We will stop at a natural lookout point which will afford us a stunning panoramic view of the Lago Paine below, before we descend and continue west across open grasslands towards Refugio Dickson. Our campsite will be situated in the Dickson Valley, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and the crystalline waters of Lake Dickson. The stunning Dickson Glacier and parts of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field can be spotted in the distance from the campsite, where we will spend the night complete with a nutritious dinner and soothing hot shower.
Day 3, Friday, Camp Dickson to Camp Perros
We will continue our trail along the Los Perros river in what will be the wildest and most remote grounds that we will cover on the trek. We will pass under the Los Perros Glacier, which merges into a small lake, and cross a virgin beech forest before reaching the beautiful Laguna Los Perros. Here, we will set up camp at Camping Los Perros and enjoy the tranquil evening.
Day 4, Saturday, Camp Perros to Camp Grey, through John Gardner Pass
This day marks our ascent to the highest point of the circuit as we reach altitudes of around 1300 mts (4000 ft) from which we will be able to feast our eyes on an awe-inspiring view of Grey glacier, an enormous fractured mass of ice with towers in the valley. The John Gardner pass is one of the most famous sectors of Torres del Paine and a must-do for any serious trekker. We will then continue south along forested slopes with beautiful views of the enormous Grey Glacier (more than 28 km in length) before spending the night camping at Grey Campground on the shores of Lake Grey.
Day 5, Sunday, Camp Grey to Pehoe Lake
During the morning, we will take some time to rest, replenish and revel in Lake Grey's surroundings before making our way along the eastern side of Lake Grey through clearings of gorgeous Calafate bushes. The view over the lake, with numerous giant icebergs drifting across the waters, is a true wonder to behold. The trail after this point becomes flatter as we descend through a shallow dry valley headed towards the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoe, where we will set-up camp and rest for the night.
Day 6, Monday, Valle Frances
After breakfast at Lake Pehoe, we will begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that leads to the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far in we go depends on our group's trekking rhythm. A swifter walk will lead us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif, where we will be treated to fantastic views of the valley. We will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley where we will be able to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley's geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After our upward trek, we will pause for a picnic and relax a while. This day's trek will end as we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest which will take us to camp cuernos.N.B. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is also available.
Day 7, Tuesday, Los Cuernos
Once we have finished breakfast, we will begin our day's trek to EcoCamp Patagonia through the Cuernos trail, which will take us along the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. Today's walk is less strenuous yet richer in the diversity of terrain that we will cover. It will therefore be the perfect opportunity to take in the park’s charming flora and fauna and learn more about the vast variety of species along the way. We will pause throughout the walk in order to have a box-lunch, rest our legs and admire the stunning surroundings.The trek ends as we arrive at EcoCamp (optional) where we will enjoy a hearty meal and prepare for tomorrow's big challenge.
Day 8, Wednesday, Base Trek las Torres
The goal of our penultimate day of the Paine Circuit will be to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine National Park! We will walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending to Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead us to that iconic base-view of the Towers - Three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp for a well-deserved dinner (optional).
Day 9, Thursday, Depart Torres del Paine!
We will board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight to Santiago.
The weather in Patagonia can be difficult to deal with at times. We reserve the right to change the order of the days in any itinerary at the discretion of the trip guide and based on operational considerations. The trip guide can modify, change or eliminate part of the itinerary based on safety/weather considerations.
The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. In addition, the strong marine influence and the affect of the Southern Patagonia Ice field make the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rain and even snow. Even in summer (December to March) you should come prepared to find strong cold winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfall. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºCmax, 2ºC min). However, just as quickly as the weather turns nasty, it can become lovely and sunny. So come prepared for all types of weather!
This is the right trip for energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. To enjoy this trek it is essential to be in shape before you arrive. It is not wise to regard this trek as a means of getting into shape or losing excess weight. Start a program of conditioning well before departure.
Every Wednesday from October 26th 2016 to March 22nd 2017
Rates valid until March 2017Prices based on 4+ people
Your booking is based on Chilean pesos (CLP), but you pay in US$ (USD), using the exchange rate valid on the day of payment which will be shown in your order. This exchange rate may vary between the date you pay your deposit and the date you pay your outstanding balance, but rest assured this is the best way to keep our prices competitive and ensure the best rate for you!
* How do group supplements work?
If there are just 2 or 3 people signed up for a given departure each traveller pays a supplement as indicated above; for 4 or more people signed up no supplement applies. 4 weeks before the trip starts if more people have signed up for the same departure we recalculate the new trip price and adjust the final amount owed (in the 2nd and final payment) by each traveller.
Starting / Finishing Points
The trip starts on Wednesday and finishes on Thursday with pick ups and drop offs in Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales or El Calafate. Please visit our Weekly Transfer Board for details of EcoCamp pick up and drop off times from both Chile and Argentina.
Group Size & Guiding Staff
8 travelers is the most typical group size, plus guiding staff. Maximum 12 clients. Guide to passenger ratio: 1:6
In Torres del Paine and throughout Patagonia transport is in minivans that normally seat from 8 to 14 people. Pick up / Drop off times shown in the Weekly Transfer Board are approximate and will be confirmed locally by our operations team. An exclusive toll-free emergency number will be available for anyone needing additional support while they are in Chile.
Porter Service and Luggage Handling
The porter service for this trip is included in the trip’s price. During the trek, your belongings will be carried in three portions. One portion you carry yourself in your daypack - this will be comprised of your lunch, water, camera, sun cream, etc. and the clothing you will layer on and off as the weather and terrain change during the day. The second portion is your sleeping bag and sleeping pad (you need to bring these with you to Torres del Paine) which will be carried for you throughout the trip. The third portion is a change of clean clothes and items you will need at night in the campsites - they will be carried for you in our waterproof duffel bags as follows: On day 1 at EcoCamp we will provide you with two small 15 litre duffel bags and in the first bag you will put clothes needed for night 2 (Dickson), day 3 (Los Perros), day 4 (Grey) and the morning day 5 (Pehoe). Upon arrival at Pehoe you will be given the second bag in which you will have put clothes and any items needed for night 5 (Pehoe) and day 6 (Cuernos), before returning to EcoCamp on day 7 where the rest of your luggage will be waiting for you. You are allowed to pack up to 5 kgs (11 lbs) in each duffel bag.