5 Day W Trek Torres del Paine
"This landscape of blue, green and silver, of granite spires, glaciers, lakes, mountains and daisy-filled meadows, robs you of words. I quote Gerard Manley Hopkins to myself, the nearest I can get to doing justice to the view beyond the tent's opening flap: "The world is charged with the grandeur of God…" – words that could have been written for this place". Kate Kellaway from The Observer.
Trek Valle Frances
The Challenging 'W' Trek
The W Trek has become an icon of Patagonia and encapsulates some of the most dramatic parts of this amazing geological wonder. Within the southern tip of the South American continent, the Paine landscape has been dramatically sculpted by ferocious winds from Antarctica, powerful glaciers and the ever shifting continental plates. For you as the trekker, you will be witness to a rugged and spectacular landscape, dominated by jagged peaks and enormous glaciers.
Our expeditions run between October and March each year as this is when the area is accessible after the frigid winter. However nights can still get cold. Our expedition starts and ends in the acclaimed Eco Camp Patagonia where we will stay on nights 1, 3 and 4. This 5 day trip takes in all the best of the park for those that have more exploring of South America in their itinerary.
For those that love nature and want to walk the famous W Trek of Patagonia, our 5 day adventure is for you. If you would like to explore a little further why not try our Classic 7 Day W Expedition or our 9 day O Circuit.
Day 1 (Sun): Travel from Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine (L,D)
Day 2 (Mon): Trek Valle del Frances trail (B,LB,D)
Day 3 (Tues): Trek Pehoe - Grey trail (B,LB,D)
Day 4 (Wed): Trek to the Towers (B,LB,D)
Day 5 (Thur): Leave Torres del Paine (B,LB)
Note : B : Breakfast, BL : Boxed Lunch, L : Lunch and D : Dinner
Note : Please bring US$ in cash for buying extra drinks/snacks or souvenirs in Torres del Paine NP is suggested.
EXTRA NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION
The Eco Camp in Torres del Paine is an amazing place and many people like to stay on for a few more days after their expedition to soak up the atmosphere and to explore the region further. If you would like to extend your stay please let us know and we can arrange this for you.
Please note that all 5 day trips leave on a Sunday between October and March
Day 1, The Patagonian Adventure starts
Torres del Paine NP, Chile
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 our 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 whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen.
The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a view of the Torres. During summer the sun sets around 11pm, so upon arrival there's plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.
Day 2, The Paine Massif’s Heart: Valle Frances
Torres del Paine NP, Patagonia, Chile
After breakfast, we start our day driving towards Pudeto dock, located by the shores of Pehoe Lake. Once there we board the catamaran that takes us to the northern west sector of the Lake from where we’ll start the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep we go depends on our groups’ rhythm. An active walk leads us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif. From this point there is a truly wonderful view. Then we continue up the trail until reaching the upper section of the valley. The entire group of geological formations of the high valley can be admired here: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). It’s time to have a picnic and recover from the walk. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well. Next, we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until reaching the Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. Here we organise our luggage and enjoy a replenishing dinner.
Note : The excursion to French Valley varies throughout the season depending on the catamaran connecting Pudeto and Refugio Pehoe:
From October 1st to November 15th and from March 16th through April the navigation operates only once a day, therefore the hike will be limited and only reach Italian campsite. (From November 16th to March 15th the excursion operates on a regular basis)
Day 3, Glacier Grey
Torres del Paine NP, Chile
Today we hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern end of glacial Lake Grey. We enjoy a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails to the blue face of Glacier Grey. There's lots of time to marvel at this calving glacier during the boat ride across this lake, with its floating pieces of ice. From Lake Grey’s southern end we transfer to EcoCamp.
Occasionally the weather may not permit us to sail across the lake, or during Shoulder Season (October and April) the sailing might be cancelled if the required minimum of 10 passengers isn't reached. In this case we will get up early and trek about two hours along the Grey trail until reaching a sightseeing point offering a spectacular view of the Glacier. Then we return to Paine Grande and take a catamaran to Pudeto’s dock, from where we're driven back to Ecocamp.
Day 4, The big challenge: Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine NP, Chile
Time for a big breakfast and lots of enthusiasm - Our goal today is to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine NP! We walk from the camp site towards Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes as we climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading us towards one of the world's most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, 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.
Note : During Shoulder Season (October and April) the Towers Trek excursion might be cancelled because of weather conditions and safety considerations.
Day 5, Adios Torres del Paine!
Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile
We board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight.
- All ground transport as indicated in the itinerary
- 1 night in Refugios
- 3 nights at EcoCamp Patagonia (Standard Domes Upgrades Available to Suite or Superior rooms)
- Park fees for Torres del Paine National Park
- One expert English speaking trekking guide
- The porter service for this trip (see note in Pre Departure Information)
- Flight tickets (Santiago to Punta Arenas return approx AUD$500 approx)
- Insurance (this is mandatory and can be purchased from us).
- Voluntary tipping of guides and staff.
- Soft drinks or snacks not served with the meals included at the EcoCamp.
- Items of personal nature
Domed Eco Tents Chile