Torres del Paine Circuit

Best Hikes of Patagonia
Trip Length: 9 Days
Group Size: 2-12
Difficulty
From:
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Do you have what it takes to take on the wildest corners of Torres del Paine? Embark on the Ultimate Adventure's Challenge!

Experience one of the most epic treks on Earth: the Paine Circuit (also called "O Trek"). Circle the immense Paine Massif for 9 days of epic views and endurance, led by expert guides on an unbelievable adventure through the heart of this vast and untamed wilderness. A trek well worth the sweat! 

 

Highlights

Highlights

  • Go on a trekking adventure into the wild.
  • Trek to John Gardner Pass.
  • Visit Grey and Dickson Glaciers.
  • Complete the round trip of Paine Massif.
  • See the famous Towers in Torres del Paine.
  • Porters to carry your backpack. You only carry your daypack!
  • Optional: Kayak around the Grey Glacier. (extra cost)
  • Optional: Upgrade to EcoCamp Domes.

Itinerary

Day 1: The Patagonian Adventure Starts

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

You will be picked up from the airport or your hotel in Punta Arenas and driven to Torre Central Camp, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. Alternatively, you can start your trip in El Calafate. On the way, we’ll make a couple of stops. First, we’ll stop in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of Last Hope Sound (Ultima Esperanza), where we can enjoy a hearty local lunch, before departing for the park.
The day ends with our arrival at Torre Central Camp, nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and with a prime view of the majestic Torres. Sunset is usually around 11 PM during the summer months, meaning that there will still be enough daylight for you to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizons once you arrive.

Overnight camping in Las Torres area. (Optional upgrade to EcoCamp domes)

Day 2: Camp Torre Central to Camp Dickson

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The day will start at Camp Torre Central where you will embark on your hike to Dickson Lake. The trail will lead you northwards along the eastern bank of the Paine River. We will stop at a natural lookout point to take in a stunning panoramic view of Paine Lake before we descend and continue west across open grasslands towards Refugio Dickson. Our campsite will be situated in the Dickson Valley, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and the crystalline waters of Lake Dickson. The stunning Dickson Glacier and parts of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field can be spotted in the distance from the campsite, where we will spend the night complete with a nutritious dinner and soothing hot shower.

Overnight camping in Dickson area.

Day 3: Camp Dickson to Camp Perros

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

We will continue our trail along the Los Perros River in what will be the wildest and most remote grounds that we will cover on the trek. We will pass under the Los Perros Glacier, where it merges into a small lake, and then cross virgin beech forest before reaching the beautiful Laguna Los Perros. Here, we will set up camp at Camping Los Perros and enjoy the tranquil evening.

Overnight camping in Los Perros area.

Day 4: Camp Perros to Camp Grey through John Gardner Pass

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

This day marks our ascent to the Circuit’s highest point, the John Gardner pass, a must-do for any serious trekker. From an altitude of around 1300 mts (4000 ft), we will be able to feast our eyes on an awe-inspiring view of the Grey Glacier, an enormous fractured mass of ice which towers over the valley below. The John Gardner pass is one of the most famous sectors of Torres del Paine and a must-do for any serious trekker. We will then continue south along forested slopes with more beautiful views of the Grey Glacier before reachingGrey Campground on the shores of Lake Grey.

Overnight camping in Grey area.

Day 5: Camp Grey to Pehoe Lake

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

During the morning, we will take some time to rest, replenish and revel in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Grey. After this, it is time to make our way along the eastern side of the Lake through clearings of gorgeous Calafate bushes. The view over the lake, with its numerous giant icebergs drifting across the waters, is a true wonder to behold. The trail after this point becomes flatter as we descend through a shallow dry valley towards the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoe, where we will set-up camp and rest for the night.

*Optional Kayaking around Glacier Grey: This excursion starts at 9 AM and lasts 2.5 hours. You will kayak around huge floating icebergs towards the eastern side of the glacier to get closer to the giant ice wall. Min. age is 15 years old / Max. age is 65 years old.
(Note: Kayaking option is only available between November 1st and March 19th)

Overnight camping in Pehoé area.

Day 6: French Valley

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

After breakfast at Lake Pehoe, we will begin the challenging trek along a steep trail leading to the very heart of the Paine Massif in the French Valley, - How far we go depends on our group's trekking rhythm. A swifter walk will lead us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south-east face of the Massif, where we will be treated to fantastic views of the valley. We will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley's geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After our upward trek, we will pause for a picnic and relax for a while. The day's trek will end as we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest to Camp Frances.

Please note: An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is also available.

Overnight camping in Francés area.

Day 7: Los Cuernos

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Once we have finished breakfast, we will begin the day's trek to Camp Torre Central along the Cuernos trail, which will take us along the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. Today's walk is less strenuous yet richer in the diversity of terrain that we will cover. It will, therefore, be the perfect opportunity to take in the park’s charming flora and fauna and learn more about the vast variety of species along the way. We will pause throughout the walk-in and eat our box lunch, rest our legs, and admire the stunning surroundings. The trek ends as we arrive at Camp Torre Central where we will enjoy a hearty meal and prepare for tomorrow's big challenge.

Overnight camping in Las Torres area. (Optional upgrade to EcoCamp domes)

Day 8: Trek to the Tower's Base

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The goal of our penultimate day of the Paine Circuit is to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine National Park! We will walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending up Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead us to that iconic base-view of the Towers, the three gigantic granite monoliths that are the remains of a great cirque sheared away by glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us with the glacial lake visible below. Is there a 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 Camp Torre Central for a well-deserved dinner.

Overnight camping in Las Torres area. (Optional upgrade to EcoCamp domes)

Day 9: Adiós Torres del Paine

Punta Arenas, Chile

We will board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight to Santiago.

 

Accommodation

Tents & campsites (nights 1-8)

Typical mountain tents are used with enough room for 2 people overnight in comfortable conditions. We provide all the camping gear. But you should bring your own mat and sleeping bag. Our team will set up the tents in the camping site. On nights 1, 7 & 8 at Las Torres and on nights 4, 5, 6 at Grey, Pehoe and Francés, you enjoy dinner and breakfast in the refugios. On nights 2 and 3 at Dickson and Perros there will be a comfortable dining tent for dinners and breakfasts. Additionally, the camping sites along the trek will have mountain bathroom facilities in good condition.

  • Day 1: Camping Torre Central at Las Torres area
  • Day 2: Camping Dickson
  • Day 3: Camping Perros
  • Day 4: Camping Grey
  • Day 5: Camping Lodge Paine Grande at Pehoe area
  • Day 6: Camping Cuernos at Frances area
  • Day 7: Camping Torre Central at Las Torres area
  • Day 8: Camping Torre Central at Las Torres area
Optional upgrade to EcoCamp Domes on nights 1, 7 and 8.

Besides, those nights all Circuit hikers are welcome to join evening activities in EcoCamp's bar and Yoga Dome before returning to their campsite to sleep!

About Ecocamp

Ecocamp Patagonia is located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, with a unique view of the majestic granite towers. The region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon and the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, EcoCamp offers upscale camping in geodesic domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants.

Choose between dome comfort:

EcoCamp Patagonia Suite Dome
(Heating & Private bathroom, 28m²/300ft²)

Suite Dome EcoCamp Patagonia 1920x1281Suite domes were designed to further our goal of providing comfort in a natural setting with minimal environmental impact, and also maintain the hotel’s familiar and cozy vibe. The domes have comfortable double or twin beds, a wood stove and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

EcoCamp Patagonia Suite Dome Loft
(2 floors, Heating & Private bathroom, 37m²/398ft²)

Suite Loft  (4)Suite dome lofts are two-storey domes which fit up to four people and have comfortable double or twin beds both up and downstairs. These domes, ideal for families or groups of friends, come with a wood stove, a private terrace and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

EcoCamp Patagonia Superior Dome
(Heating & Private bathroom, 23m²/250ft²)

Superior Dome InteriorSpacious, comfortable and equipped with private bathrooms, Superior Domes are the optimum choice for trekkers wanting that bit more space and comfort at the end of a long day’s walk. Each Superior Dome has comfortable queen-size or twin beds, a propane heater, skylight windows and a private bathroom with a sophisticated composting toilet

EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome
(Shared bathroom, 10m²/108ft²)

Standard Dome TwinEcoCamp Standard domes were the world's first lodge accommodation in geodesic shape. They are resistant to the strong Patagonian winds, and come equipped with two single beds (doubles on request), cozy fleece blankets and feather quilts. There are windows in the ceiling for stargazing. Standard domes include shared bathrooms which are large, comfortable and gender divided.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we will not be involved in the Standard Dome sharing option this season. All standard domes will be reserved for individual travelers or travelers from the same reservation group.

Included

Included

  • All ground transport as indicated in the itinerary
  • Regular bus tickets between El Calafate<>Natales if starting/finishing in El Calafate (check the last section)
  • 8 nights camping* including all equipment EXCEPT a mat and sleeping bag
  • Park entrance fees for Torres del Paine National Park
  • One expert English speaking guide
  • Porter service for this trip (see below)

Meals:

  • Day 1: Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 2: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 3: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 4: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 5: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 7: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 9: Breakfast, Box Lunch

Not included

  • Flight tickets.
  • Insurance. (appropriate insurance is mandatory for this trip)
  • Voluntary tipping to guides and staff.
  • Cash to buy optional extras such as drinks, snacks or souvenirs in Torres del Paine National Park Personal items.
  • Mat and sleeping bag.

Facts

Departures

Regular Departures are available every Wednesday from October to March.
>> Do you want a private departure for this trip? We can do it, just send us an email.

Optional for this trip

Upgrades to EcoCamp Patagonia*

  • 3 nights upgrade to an EcoCamp Standard, Superior or Suite Dome on a double basis (days 1, 7 and 8)
  • Subject to availability. To be confirmed by your Travel Experience Designer.
  • EcoCamp dome upgrades are not available during peak season (From 15 December 2018 to January 20, 2019).

Kayaking around the Grey Glacier on Day 5

  • Price: CLP 66,000
  • Duration: 2.5 hours departing at 9 AM
  • Available from November to March 19
  • Minimum: 3 passengers
  • Maximum: 12 passengers
  • Includes: Neoprene suit, waterproof jacket and boots, poogies (kayak gloves), skirt and life-jacket
  • Min. age: 15 years old / Max. age: 65 years old

Starting / finishing point

The trip starts on Wednesday and finishes on Thursday with a pick-up and drop-off in Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales or El Calafate. Please visit our Weekly Transfer Board for details of pick-up and drop-off times from both Chile and Argentina.

Physical demands

This is the right trip for energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. During this trek you will walk a total of 134kms /83mi. On the map, in the itinerary section, click on the walking person icon for daily information.

To enjoy this trek it is essential to be in shape before you arrive. It is not wise to regard this trek as a means of getting into shape or losing excess weight. Start a program of conditioning well before departure.

Group size & guiding staff

  • 8 travelers is the most typical group size, plus guiding staff.
  • Maximum 12 clients.
  • Guide to passenger ratio: 1:6

Children

  • Those 14 years of age or older are considered adults and are welcome.
  • Children aged between 12 and 13 might be accepted in this program if their legal guardian sends a formal letter stating that their child is prepared for such an intense trekking trip and authorizes the hiring of a private guide in case the child cannot perform well during the trek.
  • Children under 12 years of age cannot participate in this trip.
  • This trip does not offer a special discount for children.

Transport

In Torres del Paine and throughout Patagonia, transportation is in minivans that normally seat 8 to 14 people. Pick-up/drop-off times as shown on the Weekly Transfer Board are approximate and will be confirmed by our local operations team closer to departure. An exclusive toll-free emergency number will be available for anyone needing additional support while in Chile.

Weather

The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the winds that circle the Antarctic landmass, making the weather hard to predict. Fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning; even in summer (December to March) you should come prepared to find strong cold winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfall. Summer’s average temperature is 11ºC (52ºF), ranging between 2 to 24ºC (35 to 75ºF).

What you need to bring

We will send you a complete pre-trip info brochure once you have made your booking which includes the things you need to bring in detail.

Here are some of the general items we recommend:

  • Cash to buy extra drinks,snacks or souvenirs in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Mat and sleeping bag
  • A day backpack (20-30lt)
  • Backpack or duffel bag (70 liters)
  • Waterproof or water resistant trekking boots
  • Gaiters
  • Waterproof parka and pants
  • Inner layers (ideally fleece or wool)
  • 3 changes of clothes
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking socks
  • Sandals (for after hikes)
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses
  • Towel
  • Trekking Poles
  • Long underwear (we do not recommend wool)
  • Extra change of socks
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Extra insulating layer

Porter service and luggage handling

The porter service for this trip is included in the trip’s price. During the trek, your belongings will be divided into three portions. One portion you will carry yourself in your daypack comprising of your lunch, water, camera, sun cream and the clothing you will layer on and off during the day. The second portion is your sleeping bag and sleeping pad (you need to bring these with you to Torres del Paine) which will be carried for you throughout the trip. The third portion is the change of clean clothes and other items you will need at night in the campsites - these will be carried for you in waterproof duffel bags as follows:

On day 1 we will provide you with two small 15-liter duffel bags and in the first bag, you will put clothes needed for the following nights: 2 (Dickson), 3 (Los Perros), 4 (Grey) and 5 (Pehoe). Upon arrival at Pehoe, you will be given a second bag in which you can put clothes and any items needed for night 5 (Pehoe) and day 6 (Cuernos), before returning to Camp Torre Central on day 7 where the rest of your luggage will be waiting for you. You are allowed to pack up to 5 kgs (11 lbs) in each duffel bag.

Itinerary modifications

The weather in Patagonia can make planning difficult at times. We reserve the right to change the order of the days in any itinerary at the discretion of the trip guide. The trip guide can modify, change, or eliminate part of the itinerary based upon safety/weather considerations.

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Group size and price

- The base price for this program is the price per person for groups from 4 passengers up.
- The operating minimum is 2 people. If your reservation date does not have the minimum of 4 passengers, a sales assistant will contact you to inform you about the price difference to pay.
- You can check the prices per person for groups of 2 and 3 people in the drop-down list in this reservation section.

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We are a Chilean owned adventure tour operator, based in Santiago de Chile, operating adventure tours in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Our base prices are in Chilean Pesos (CLP), but we charge prices in USD based on the exchange rate valid on the day of payment.

Destinations | Chile

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