Torres del Paine O Circuit Trek
Opening dates for the 2021-2022 season:
The Torres del Paine O 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.
The day before departure, the guest must go to the office in Puerto Natales to receive an induction talk, as well as vouchers, maps, and any other necessary documents (office is open Monday through Friday: 09:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m; Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m; closed on Sundays and holidays).
Day 1: Transportation to Torres del Paine National Park and Hike to Serón Campsite.
At 6:30 am you must be at the Puerto Natales Bus Station (Rodoviario located on Avenida España 1455) to take the 7:00 am bus to Torres del Paine National Park. You will enter the park through the Amarga Lagoon Checkpoint, where you need to show your ticket and then take a bus to Cerro Paine Reserve's Welcome Center. There, you will enjoy the striking silhouettes of the Torres del Paine and Almirante Nieto mountains, and your first hike will begin. It will lead you through a huge lenga beech forest draped with lichen called "old man's beard." After going through the forest, in the distance you will behold a large valley covered by daisies and bordered by the Paine River on the right. The river will accompany you during the second half of your hike until reaching Serón Campsite, where you will dine and sleep.
4-6 hours hiking, 13 Km., mid-difficulty, Elevation gain 250 m
Day 2: Hike to Dickson.
This will be a long but unforgettable day of hiking. The first part of the trail will take you up and down the slopes of Paine Hill, where you will feel the power of the wind. You will then begin your descent and walk along the shore of the Paine Lake, which on clear days acts as a mirror for the mountain peaks around it. If the weather is good, you will be able to see the northeast peak of the Paine Massif, including peculiar shapes and silhouettes such as "Cabeza del Indio," "Escudo," "Cubo," and Dickson. You will spend the night at the Dickson sector, located by the glacial lake next to the Southern Ice Fields that give this sector its name.
6 - 8 hours hiking, 18 Km., Elevation gain 200 m,high difficulty
Day 3: Hike to Los Perros.
Today you will begin to go towards the southwest. Along the way, you will see the Dickson glacier falling into the lake of the same name. You will enter a beautiful lenga beech forest, where you will see Magellanic woodpeckers tapping the beech trees. Right in the middle of the forest, you will find a clearing. Stop there for a moment to look forward and backward and you will be able to see glaciers in both directions. Amazing! Further on, you will cross Los Perros Glacier, with incredible views of its lake. Thirty minutes later you will arrive at Los Perros Campsite, located in a quiet, ancient forest.
4 - 5 hours hiking, 9 Km., Elevation gain 360 m, high difficulty
*In the Perros Sector, the meal service is provided with lunch boxes and there is no restaurant service
Day 4: Hike to Grey Glacier
Today will probably be the most exhausting but also the most spectacular day of your trip. Warning: there will be slippery and swampy terrain, as well as steep climbs and descents. You must leave Los Perros early in the morning. On the first part of the trail you will cross through swampy land followed by a long, steep climb to the windy John Gardner mountain pass. Once up there, the breathtaking view will make you feel quite small. Right in front of you will be one of the huge tongues of the Southern Ice Fields, filled with cracks and ice of the rarest shades of blue and green. A landscape where you do not know where the glacier ends and the clouds begin. Once you have caught your breath, a long descent through the rocks will begin, to then go around the Grey Glacier, which will be within sight all the way to the Grey Lake. A few kilometers past "El Paso" site, you will cross two impressive suspension bridges over 50 meters long that cross huge gorges, offering an amazing view of the Grey Glacier, a scene that is hard to forget.
9-12 hours hiking, 22 Kms. High Difficulty, Altitude gain, 620 m
Day 5: Hike to Paine Grande Sector.
On this day, we will have a gentle hike to Paine Grande. In the morning, you will have the option to go on Kayak beside the Grey Glacier (Kayak Excursion’s fee is not included in this program and it requires previous reservation). The first part of the trail will have many uphill and downhill climbs. You will go through forests of Antarctic beech (ñirres), Dombey's beech (coigüe) and Chilean firebush (notros), with the majestic Paine Grande Hill (the highest peak in the mountain range at 3,050 m) and its hanging glaciers to your left. We will stay overnight at Paine Grande Sector, where you can enjoy the stunning view of Cuernos del Paine.
4 hours hiking, 11 Kms., Altitude Initial: 130 m, Highest: 388 m, mid-difficulty
Day 6: Hike to Francés Valley
On this day you will visit another one of the most iconic and magical places in the park, the striking Francés Valley. The hike will begin with an easy walk towards the Italiano Campsite. There, you will begin the climb up through the valley and then reach the "Francés Lookout Point" after 1.5 hours. Up there, you will see one of the hanging glaciers of Paine Grande Hill up close and, if you are lucky, you will witness an icefall (avalanche). With that impressive sight still in your mind, you will cross through a lenga beech forest leading to the Británico Sector. Get ready, this might be the only time in your life when you will enjoy such a sight: the magnificent Francés Valley flanked by its colossal mountains and granite walls. Their unique shapes and colors will astound you. On the way back, we will go through the same trail until we arrive at Italiano Campsite. Then, we will reroute to the east on our way to Frances campsite where we will spend the night.
8-9 hours hiking, 20,5 Km, highest altitude: 762 m, high difficulty
Day 7: Hike to Central Sector
With the spectacular Cuernos del Paine to your left, and the colors of the Nordenskjöld Lake to your right, you will walk towards Central Sector. This day the hike will be more relaxed, there will no steep slopes, and the journey will be shorter and faster than the days before. A few kilometers before reaching the Central Sector, you will leave Los Cuernos behind to go around Almirante Nieto Hill (2,670 m), a massif with a changing climate. At night, just like throughout the rest of your adventure, you will be able to enjoy the relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere at the Central Sector, have a well-deserved beer and share your experiences and stories with other hikers. If you feel tired after so many days of difficult hiking, you can stop by the Hotel Las Torres Spa for a well-deserved massage, or to try the famous cordero al palo (spit-roasted lamb). These services are not included in the program.
4 - 5 hours hiking, 14 Km., Elevation gain 200 m, mid-difficulty
Day 8: Hike to Base Las Torres
Today, you must get up early to visit the most iconic place of the park, Las Torres Base Lookout Point. First, you will walk through the pampa, cross the Ascencio River and then climb about 3 km up to Los Vientos mountain pass. Here you will enjoy magnificent views of the valley, lakes and glaciers. You will continue on until reaching the Chileno Mountain Refuge, and then go deep into a lenga beech forest up to "La Morrena,” where the hardest part of the hike begins. After 45 minutes of ascending up a rock trail, you will reach the spectacular Las Torres Base Lookout Point where you will be able to enjoy the grandeur of Torres Sur (2,850 m), Central (2,800 m), and North (2,600 m). After taking in the spectacular scene, you will return to the Central Sector where you will take the bus back to Puerto Natales at 7:00 p.m.
7 - 9 hours hiking, 19,5 Km., highest altitude 870 m, high difficulty
2021-2022 rates per person in US$:
(1) Camping price based on 2 people minimum, single supplement: US $160 per program.
(2) Only campsite available at Serón and Perros sector.
(3) Accommodation at hotel only available for the last night, all the other nights are spent in mountain hostels (refugios) or camping.
(4) Reservations for a minimum of 2 guests and a maximum of 8 guests per guide.
(5) Single Supplement for private program: US $1,500.
Groups and Departures during season:
Departures from 15 September 2021 to 30 April 2022 (campsite) and from 20 October 2021 to 30 April 2022 (mountain hostel/hotel).
Without a Guide: Every day.
Guided Group: First Tuesday of every month (ask for availability). (and the possibility to add a second departure date every third Tuesday of the month, this needs to be confirmed). Min. of 2 and max. of 8 people per guide. Private Guided Group: Every day.
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.
"It was such a great trip! Much more secluded and a lot less traffic on the O side of the circuit. Food was great as were the accommodations. The only bit of feedback (which is more for the park) is that the distances were pretty far off (by about 1.35 average for the whole park) which is pretty significant for an 8 day trek. We expected to hike a total of 76 or so miles which turned out to be closer to be 100. But overall we had a great time and the park was absolutely beautiful. Thanks for following up and for all your assistance and coordinating :) " Bri