Torres del Paine Circuit Trek
The Circuit Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia Chile is a 150km trek through one of the most beautiful places on earth. En route are giant granite spikes, bright blue wind-whipped lakes, iceberg-loaded rivers and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, a vast junction of glaciers.
This is a guide to trekking the Torres del Paine Circuit anti-clockwise, which avoids walking into headwinds while on the John Gardner Pass.
Torres Central to Camp Séron
9 km, 4 hrs
A mostly flat trek through pampas and some woodland. Camp Seron is a manned campsite between the Paine River and wildflower meadows nearby. There is a small shop, which sells trekking supplies and rents out sleeping bags, mats and tents. Be prepared for mosquitoes.
Camp Séron to Camp Coiron
9 km, 3 hrs
Another nearly flat trek across pampas, wildflower meadows and bog. Camp Coiron is a wild campsite in a wood with no facilities. Most trekkers stop at either Camp Séron or Coiron, but it is possible to trek straight from Torres Central to Dickson in a day, missing out both of them.
Camp Coiron to Refugio Dickson
10 km, 3 hrs
Gently rising trek across pampas and bogs. A change of footwear is useful here as the bogs are quite deep and may well go over the top of your hiking boots.
Dickson Refugio's setting is stunning, with mountains on one side and Lago Dickson and Glaciar on the other. A friendly campsite and shop caters for hikers preparing to trek the challenging John Gardner Pass.
Refugio Dickson to Camp Los Perros
9 km, 4 hrs
The trek now climbs through woodland to the base of The Pass and Los Perros Refugio. Look out for the Los Perros Glacier, which occasionally glints through the trees. Also the Magellan red-headed woodbecker.
Camp Los Perros to Camp El Paso
12 km, 6 hrs
The circuit now climbs up on to the John Gardner Pass, which looks out across Grey Glacier to a vast field of ice. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is one of the world's most extraordinary sights and the reason many people come to Torres del Paine.
Next comes the Circuit mud slide. The trek plunges 700 metres through a muddy forest to Camp El Paso. Grabbing hold of tree trunks will help to slow you down, but walking poles are useful too.
Camp El Paso to Camp Los Guardas
6 km, 3 hrs
An easier up-and-down trek now runs parallel to Grey Glacier. Most hikers don't spend the night at here, but head on to Refugio Grey, which has more facilities and, and which fast hikers will reach in an hour.
Los Guardas is a free campsite.
Camp Los Guardas to Refugio Grey
4km, 2 hrs
The trek continues alongside the mind-blowing Grey Glacier to Refugio Grey, where you camp beside a beach or stay in dorm rooms. Refugio Grey also serves meals.
Refugio Gray to Paine Grande Mountain Lodge
11 km, 3.5 hrs
An undemanding trek to Paine Grande Mountain Lodge, an oversized refugio by Lago Pehoe. On the way, Grey Mirador is the place to see and hear Grey Glacier shredding giants slabs ice into the lake below.
The Torres del Paine Circuit then follows the same route as the shorter Torres del Paine W (Full Circuit).