A Starters Guide to Trekking Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine National Park is set in the southern Chilean Patagonia. Over 180,000 hectares of ancient forests, granite peaks, glaciers, lakes and rivers make up the Torres del Paine.
The unbelievable landscape forms one of South America’s most beautiful national parks. With just over 250,000 visitors a year from all over the world, how should you go about the world famous trek in Torres del Paine?There are several options, which we have outlined them below.
The most popular and common W Trek takes you to each of the park’s most famous highlights: Base Torres, French Valley and Grey Glacier. Generally, this trek has a duration of 4 days and is doable for anyone with a bit of hiking experience. A good level of fitness is a must, though. You can choose to hike on your own, or follow along on a guided trek instead.
During the night, you sleep in refugios (or camps), set among the superb mountain sceneries. Generally, all bedding and meals are provided so that you only need to carry along a small backpack!
Full, or O Circuit Trek
If you consider yourself a more experienced hiker, then this trek is ideal for you. The circuit not only takes you to the famous highlights of the park, but also allow you to circle around the more remote, northern part of the park.
This 7-9 day route is a couple of days longer and, basically, simply adds to the famous W Trek with a passage to the north. While this added section does not have refugios, you can still camp and enjoy the stunning views on the edge of mountain range.
Off the Beaten Track
Torres del Paine is packed with lush, contrasting landscapes. If you want to enjoy many of them to the fullest, escaping the main Paine range is the way to go!
Head to the much lesser visited sites including Silencio Valley, Bader Valley, Pingo Valley and Sierra Baguales. Some off-the-beaten-track trails are only visited by about 100 people a year!
You can also experience the park in a completely different way. While primarily popular for its hiking trails, you can add to your experience by kayaking, horse riding or mountain biking at the end of your trek!
When to Travel
The Torres del Paine National Park is located in the very south of Chile. The park can be visited year-round, with pros and cons during each season.
During spring, the months of September and October, is a great time to visit as vegetation starts to re-appear and winds are reduced.
November and December is when summer starts, with temperatures starting to hit their peak. However, it also starts to get busy, especially along the W Trek routes.
The busiest period to visit the park is in January and February, with summer in full swing. While daylight hours are along and temperatures at their highest, it can also be the windiest time to visit.
As the fall starts to set in, the temperature and visitor numbers fall in March and April. You will be able to explore the park pretty much on your own. Many refugios may be closed, which is definitely a point to keep in mind.
Winter runs from June to August, almost all of the Refugios are closed because of unstable weather and cold. For some, though, the snow covered Paine is the perfect way to enjoy the scenery!
How and when would you take on Torres del Paine? Let us know in the comment section below.
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