Well, that may be the most obvious answer but it’s only half the story, which is probably why it’s one of the questions people most often ask us. Depending on your needs and wishes, either of these great W Trek tours might be the one for you so we’ve put together a short comparison to help you decide which Patagonia W Trek you should choose.
Here’s a handy table to help you compare the differences at a glance, and you can click on the individual categories or scroll down the page for the full details:
|7 Day W Trek Torres del Paine||5 Day W Trek Torres del Paine|
|Length||7 days (5 days trekking + 2 days travel)||5 days (3 days trekking + 2 days travel)|
|Trekking Map||7 day W Trek (76km/47mi) trekking map||5 day W Trek (60km/37mi) trekking map|
|Special Interest||Connect with nature, Hiking, Cycling||Connect with nature, Hiking|
|Season Dates||From September 29th 2015 to April 30th 2016||From October 4th 2015 to April 30th 2016|
|Book Cascada Tour||7 Day W Trek||5 Day W Trek|
Of course the most obvious difference between the seven day W Trek and the five day W Trek is the two day difference in length. For both treks, the first and final days are spent travelling to and from EcoCamp Patagonia deep in the Torres del Paine National Park. The journey to the park takes in a hearty local lunch en route and makes a second stop at the Cueva de Milodon, a cavernous cave where the remains of an ancient giant sloth were found in the 1890s. Once you’ve arrived, those on the seven day trek will spend six nights and five days trekking in the park, whilst those on the five day trek spend four nights and three days trekking.
Seven day W trekkers spend four of their six nights in the park at EcoCamp Patagonia, a speciality eco-friendly dome hotel ideally located for trekking in Torres del Paine National Park, whilst five day W trekkers spend three of their four nights at the same fantastic hotel. Prices include the cost of accommodation in cosy and comfortable Standard Domes, but for both the long and short treks you do have the option of upgrading to a Superior Dome, which features heating and a private bathroom. Both those opting for the five and seven day W Trek will spend one night in the Refugio Paine Grande, a mountain lodge on the slumbering shores of Lake Pehoe with hot showers and plentiful food. In addition, seven day W trekkers will also spend an additional night at another lodge, the Refugio Los Cuernos at the shore of Lake Nordenskjold.
French Valley Trail
(7 day & 5 day)
This challenging trek takes you along a steep trail into the the very heart of the mountains, to see the dramatic rock formations resembling a craggy, natural amphitheatre on a giant scale. The day ends with an overnight stop at the Refugio Paine Grande.
(7 day & 5 day)
This trail winds along the shores of Lake Pehoe until you reach the northern tip of Grey Lake. Here you board a boat that sails up alongside the spectacular blue-white Grey Glacier, shedding icebergs into the freezing lake.
The Tower’s Trail
(7 day & 5 day)
Surely the most famous of all Torres del Paine treks, the classic journey to the looming towers themselves. As you crest the final moraine slope you’re rewarded with an exceptional view of these monolithic pillars of stone, standing like sentries looking out over the Paine Massif.
Los Cuernos Trail
(7 day only)
This is actually the first trek on the menu for seven day W trekkers and is a great taster of what’s to come, with plenty of time to enjoy and appreciate the varied flora and fauna of the park. You’ll also admire the black slate horns, Los Cuernos, reaching into the sky.
Cycling Laguna Azul
(7 day only)
And now for something a little different. Whilst trekking is a great way to explore the park, cycling is perfect for allowing you to range further afield. This route takes you all the way to the picturesque Laguna Azul where you’ll enjoy a delicious boxed lunch with unbelievable panoramic views.
Both the five day and the seven day W Trek are classed as demanding, meaning they’re great for intrepid travelers with a taste for adventure. The two additional excursions that are included on the seven day trek are more or less the same level of difficulty as the other three treks available to everyone. However, it’s worth considering that just the effort involved in hiking and cycling for two additional days will take an extra toll on your body during the seven day trek. It may be best to spend a little extra time on stamina training before setting off on the seven day trek, just to make sure.
Both the five day and seven day W Treks are perfect for lovers of the outdoors and the natural world. You’ll get in plenty of trekking and still have lots of time to admire the unique natural environment, and animals and plants, of Torres del Paine National Park. The seven day W Trek also now includes a day of cycling for those who’d like to try something a little out of the ordinary.
On the seven day trek you start your journey to the park on a Monday and leave the following Sunday, whereas on the five day trek you begin your journey to the park on a Sunday and leave the following Thursday. That means there are always two start dates each week for you to hop onto if your travel dates aren’t flexible.
Both the seven day and five day trek run from around the very beginning of September until around the end of April. The only reason there’s a difference in the exact start dates is because the seven day W Trek starts on Mondays while the five day W Trek runs on Sundays.
|W Trek||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|Los Cuernos Trail||Valle Frances Trail||Grey Glacier Trail||Las Torres Trail||Eastern Lakes||leave
|Starting Point||EcoCamp Patagonia||Refugio Cuernos||Refugio Paine Grande||EcoCamp Patagonia||
|Finishing Point||Refugio Cuernos||Refugio Paine Grande||EcoCamp
(Trekking ends at
|appx. Walking Time||5 hrs||10 hrs||4 hrs||9 hrs||
|Distance||12 km / 7.5 mi||26 km / 16 mi||11 km / 7 mi||22 km / 14 mi||
6km / 4mi
|max Altitude Point||244 m / 800 feet||686 m / 2250 feet||244m / 800 feet||914 m / 3000 feet||180 m / 590ft|
|Short W Trek
|Day 1||-||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||-||Day 5|
We hope that’s answered one of the most common questions we get asked here at Cascada, but if you still have queries, let us know using the comments section below and we’ll be happy to get back to you!