Torres del Paine

  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user PhillieCasablanca
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user Don Fulano
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user cordyph
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user cordyph
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user cordyph
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user cordyph
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user cordyph
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user PhillieCasablanca
  • Torres del Paine National Park - © By Flickr user re-ality
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user welsh boy
  • Torres del Paine National Park - © By Flickr user welsh boy
  • Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user welsh boy

Key information: Torres del Paine

    • The Torres del Paine National Park is beautiful, inspiring, and otherworldly. Incredible, iconic spires of heavily eroded granite surrounded by the glaciers, lakes, rivers and forests of Patagonia.
      • In the heart of this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve is the Cordillera del Paine, lying between Magellanic subpolar forest and Patagonian steppes.
        • The three dramatic, alien-seeming granite monoliths of the Torres del Paine form a silhouette never to be forgotten; set to full advantage by a triumphal glacial landscape.
          • This is wild, remote country. While you will be inspired by natures harsh beauty, you need to be well prepared. The weather can turn at any time, and be particularly horrible.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating93
  • Beauty37
  • Natural interest18
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma36
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating93

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Up to 10 days
  • Maximum Altitude: Around 1,200m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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Torres del Paine - © By Flickr user Don Fulano

WALK SUMMARY

Some 4,000km from the Chilean capital of Santiago, the Torres del Paine National Park demonstrates the full scale and drama of the South American continent. It is a spectacular region of granite towers and glacial scenery, similar geologically and geographically to Argentinas Fitzroy Massif, and internationally renowned as one of the most beautiful and untouched places on earth.

Chilean Patagonia is perhaps the nations most famous region. Cut off from the rest of the country by impassable mountains and violent storms, only by air or by sea or overland from Argentina can you penetrate into this astounding landscape. Islands, glaciers, icebergs and mountains all vie for fame. It is truly a natural, glacial wilderness.

Due to the regions isolation, indigenous flora and fauna flourish, from the unique Llama-like Guanacos to the native Rhea (somewhat akin to ostriches); a wonderful variety of flighted birds, too, and even the odd puma.

The area is full of resources for trekking, with a range of options suited to everyone from the puddin to the advanced hiker. Campsites and Refugios dot trails that are clearly marked and negotiate a series of natural wonders. Classic Torres highlights include:

  • W Route: The so-called "W" Route is the most popular route that hikers take to see the park. All the main sights can be seen from the trail, including from glacier to jagged spire. The whole "W" Route can be done by staying in either hotels, refugios, or campgrounds. The route takes roughly 5 trekking days to complete and usually starts at Laguna Amarga, or just to the right of Hosteria los Torres (on the eastern tip of Lago Nordenskjold). Despite reaching the parks eponymous cordillera lookout (mirador) on the first day, there is more than enough to carry on for: the Valle del Frances; a mirador betwixt the Torres del Paine and Cerro Paine Grande, the parks tallest mountain (3,050m); Lakes Nordeskjold, Pehoe and Grey; climbing alongside the goliath Glacier Grey up to Refugio Grey and its lookout in the heights.

  • Macizo Paine Route: This route takes in the classic "W" Route, before continuing on from Refugio Grey to circuit the back of the Torres cordillera. A high pass squeezes between Cerro Paine Grande and a smaller upland massif, along a vertiginous valley towards Lago Dickson, and then past Lago Paine and following the Rio Paine back to Nordenskjold. Takes 7 days of trekking to complete. There are five campsites and one additional refugio: the majority of this route is not reachable from hotels and thus is done by far fewer visitors.

Other park highlights:

  • Lago Nordenskjold; Mirador Cuernos; Salto Grande: An hour from the roadhead near Pudeto Ranger Station takes you to Mirador Cuernos viewpoint on Lago Nordenskjold, looking out across frigid waters to Cerro Paine Grande, the Valle del Frances and Torres del Paine. In the other direction from the same roadhead, a trail of a similar length takes you to the majestic Salto Grande Falls, where Nordenskjold violently decants into Lago Pehoe.

  • Salto Chico; Mirador Condor: Maybe two hours, half of which is on road, downhill from the Mirador Condor viewing point takes you to the Salto Chico falls.

  • Lago Pingo; Cascada Pingo; Zapata Glacier; Cerro Ferrier (1,500m): At the southern tip of Lago Grey lies a crossroads: three trails and a roadhead. A range of options:

-     An hours walk from this point takes you to the Lago Grey lookout with beautiful views up the narrow ribbon lake to the sheer Glacier Grey.

-     A slightly lesser distance in the opposite direction to Mirador Ferrier lookout, to gaze up at the Cerro Ferrier massif.

-     A much longer walk: follow a path adjacent to the Rio Pingo (Pingo river), then climb up onto the lower slopes of Cerro Ferrier, skirting around it until a trail diverges to a viewing point above Cascada Pingo. Back on the main trail, Lago Pingo soon looms above you between outlying spurs. One and a half hours or so more will take you to Mirador Zapata viewpoint, looking down Zapata Glaciers length from its heights. Return on the second day.

  • Lago Toro; Verde Lagoon: From a bridge over the Rio Paine where it enters Lago Toro, climb for 45mins to Lago Toro lookout point affording views both up the Rio Grande gorge and down Lago Toro. Another four hours on the same track takes you past Laguna and Laguna Honda, before tracking around the edge of Laguna Verde at its pristine waters.

  • Los Glaciares National Park (and the Fitzroy Massif, Argentina) is located immediately to the north, and Bernardo OHiggins National Park lies to its west.


To locate the Torres del Paine National Park in South Americas extreme south, click here. For a fantastic map of the park with trails, services, contours and distances, click here.

Other accounts: share your experiences

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Torres del Paine - ©By Flickr user cordyph

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Torres del Paine - ©By Flickr user cordyph...
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