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Patagonia W Trek Chile

Updated on September 12, 2014

Trekking one of the world's best trails

The Torres del Paine W in Chilean Patagonia is the shortest and easiest of Torres del Paine's two best-known treks. It's still pretty challenging though, with steep climbs, unpredictable weather and rough terrain.

Find out where to stay, how to get there and what to see.

How to Get There

From Puerto Natales

The Western end of the W is at Paine Grande Mountain Mountain Lodge (formerly Refugio Pehoe) in Torres del Paine. Get there by either taking a bus from Puerto Natales (7-8am, 2.30pm) to the Catamaran Dock at Pudeto (3 hrs 15 mins) and then the Catamaran to Paine Grande (30 mins, 9am 12pm, 6pm). Or, take the bus all the way to the Conaf Administration Center (4hrs 15mins), and then hike to Paine Grande Mountain Lodge (5hrs, 14km).

Punta Arenas - Windy City About Six Hours From Torres del Paine National Park

Punta Arenas is en route to Torres del Paine, and well worth a visit.

Torres del Paine W Distance and Trekking Time

About 75km (46 miles). In all, about 28 hours of hiking, depending on your fitness. The W Trek can be completed in three days at a push, but most people take five. Allowing for bad weather is a good idea.

Camping and Refugios

From West to East Campsites and refugios on the W are as follows:

1 Paine Grande Mountain Lodge

2 Camp Italiano

3 Camp Britannico

4 Refugio Los Cuernos

5 Refugios Torres Central and Norte

6 Refugio Chileno

7 Camp Torres

Hotels

There are no hotels on the W, but Hosteria Lago Grey is the closest to it, with Hosteria Pehoe and the Explora Hotel, Salto Chico, on the way to the start of the W if you travel there by Catamaran.

Booking Campsites and Refugios

Book refugios and campsites (essential in summer) with FantasticoSur and Vertice Patagonia, or via a tour operator in Puerto Natales.

Highlights

The Paine Massif - a collection of astonishing multicolored jagged peaks.

The Towers (Las Torres) after which Torres del Paine is named, are three granite spires - the tallest is Torre d'Agonsti at some 2800 metres.

Luminous Lakes - Torres del Paine's lakes are intense shades of turquoise, jade and blue

Grey Glacier - a 40 metre wall of ice, which calves massive icebergs into Grey Lake

French Valley - hidden glacier-clad valley

Difficulty

Of Torres del Paine's Treks the W is not the most difficult. There is really only one really steep climb - to The Towers. The biggest challenge is the weather, which may include high winds, sideways rain and snow.

Weather

Torres del Paine in Patagonia is famous for having four seasons in a day. Layers with a windproof, waterproof outer layer are the way to go. Summer temperatures range from 41F (5C) to 68F (20C), but high winds are common and sometimes incessant. It may snow at higher elevations even in summer.

The Torres del Paine W is the best choice if you you're pressed for time and don't want to camp. It takes in just about all the highlights of Torres del Paine except the John Gardner Pass, which flanks the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. The Pass is on the Torres del Paine Circuit, a longer and more challenging trek.

Hiked the W? Leave your comments

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    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I would love to go to Chile one day. We were planning to go a year ago before I got pregnant so now it's been put off for a few years.

    • profile image

      VillaDejaBlue 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • KellydeBorda profile image

      KellydeBorda 6 years ago

      Great information, very helpful lens! Blessed by an Angel!

    • profile image

      Fit_Over_40_Buzz 6 years ago

      This is a great lens. Thanks for making it. Very informative. I gave you a thumbs up

      cause I like your lens.