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What's the Difference Between Cascada's 5 Day and 7 Day W Trek?

Two days!
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:
 

EcoCamp Patagonia - Torres del Paine W Trek Comparison Chart
  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)
Accommodation
  • Nights 1, 4, 5 & 6 in EcoCamp Patagonia
  • Night 2 in Refugio Los Cuernos
  • Night 3 in Refugio Paine Grande
Excursions
  • French Valley Trail
  • Grey Trail
  • The Tower’s Trail
  • Los Cuernos Trail
  • Cycling Laguna Azul
  • French Valley Trail
  • Grey Trail
  • The Tower’s Trail
Trekking Map 7 day W Trek (76km/47mi) trekking map 5 day W Trek (60km/37mi) trekking map
Physical Level Demanding Demanding
Special Interest Connect with nature, Hiking, Cycling Connect with nature, Hiking
Start Day Monday Sunday
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

 

 

Length

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.

Accommodation

standard dome ecocamp patagoniaSeven 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.

Excursions

hiking in torres del paine

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.

Grey Trail
(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.

Physical Level

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.

Special interest

cycling in torres del paineBoth 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.

Start day

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.

Season dates

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.
 

 
Pat 025  - Patagonia Torres del Paine 7 Day vs 5 Day W Trek - Trekking Chart
W Trek Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Trail Name arrive
in
Torres
del
Paine
NP
Los Cuernos Trail Valle Frances Trail Grey Glacier Trail Las Torres Trail Eastern Lakes leave
Torres
del
Paine
NP
Starting Point EcoCamp Patagonia Refugio Cuernos Refugio Paine Grande EcoCamp Patagonia

EcoCamp
Patagonia
 

Finishing Point Refugio Cuernos Refugio Paine Grande EcoCamp 
Patagonia
(Trekking ends at
Grey Viewpoint)
EcoCamp Patagonia EcoCamp
Patagonia
appx. Walking Time 5 hrs 10 hrs 4 hrs 9 hrs
3 hr 
 
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 
(5 Day)
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!