2:30 PM from Puerto Natales bus station
9:30 PM at Puerto Natales bus station
The W trek is the most famous route in Torres del Paine National Park. The level of difficulty is medium during most of the tour. Although in some areas the difficulty is high, it’s possible to avoid those parts of the route most of the times.
The lodgings can be in camping or shared room in refuge (recommended). They are located in the different sectors of the park: the first two nights in Central Sector, the third night in French Sector and the fourth in Sector Paine Grande.
The 5-day W Trek tour is a self-guided tour with a very easy to follow trail. Also, it includes everything you need to enjoy this experience (transfers, accommodation, food, access...).
Each sector of the park hides places and landscapes that can’t be missed: Mirador Base Torres, Mirador Británico, Valle Francés and Glaciar Grey. In them, you will enjoy colossal mountains, glaciers of a deep blue and forests of a beauty that seem taken from fantastic stories.
Are you ready for the adventure? This is what the experience will be like:
The day before the tour starts, there’s a briefing at 6:00 p.m. in the office, where everything will be explained to you in order to make the tour and you will be given all tickets, permits and welcome kit.
The adventure will start taking a bus at 2:30 p.m. that will take you to the access of Torres del Paine National Park, where you will have to register as a visitor to access.
Once inside the park, you will take a transfer that only takes few minutes to the Central Sector. You will do the check-in at the “refugio” or campsite Base Torres Sector where you will spend the first two nights.
During the afternoon, you can enjoy the surroundings. It will be already 6:00 p.m. and yo won’t have time to do a complete route, but you can take advantage to do a small one.
Whether you stay in a campsite or in a refuge, you will dine in the latter with all the travellers, just like for all the meals. It's time to rest and take strength for the next day.
Breakfast is served between 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. every day. When you finish your breakfast you can pick up your lunch-box which you'll can enjoy whenever you want. Since you will be returning to sleep at the same refuge, you will only have to carry in your backpack what you need to spend the day.
The Torres del Paine hike starts by crossing the Ascencio River Valley, from which you will face a 3 km climb. It will be worth it when you are in front of a beautiful panoramic view of the lakes and valleys offered by the Paso de los Vientos.
Once you have reached the Paso de los Vientos, you will start the descent passing by the area of the Refugio Chileno. You will discover totally different ecosystem while crossing the Lengas Forest to reach La Morrena.
Here you will be able to leave your backpack in a "guarderia" so as not to ascend loaded to the spectacular Base Torres Viewpoint. This is the hardest climb of the day but when you get there, you will see that it is worth the effort.
From this viewpoint you can enjoy the views of the famous towers that give their name to the Torres del Paine National Park. After discovering one of the most impressive landscapes in Patagonia, you will return to the Central Sector along the same route. In this case, it will be much easier because it is downhill.
When you arrive at the refuge, you will have free time to have a drink with other travelers, chat and have dinner.
After breakfast, the third day of the Torres del Paine W trek begins, maybe the least demanding. The terrain is quite flat and during 13.5 km, only 200 meters of unevenness are accumulated.
You will walk next to the Nordenskjöld lake and cross some small rivers. You can also go down to the beaches that are formed. The background of this beautiful landscape is the Cerro Almirante Nieto and the Cuernos del Paine.
Without a doubt, day 3 is the best day to enjoy the scenery without rushing, as the tour is done in about 5 hours, so we advise you to take it easy and stop to observe the incredible landscape. When you arrive in the French Sector you’ll find one of the smallest and most welcoming refuges on the route and, in our opinion, with the best food ;).
The second last day starts with a gentle walk to the Italian Camp. There, many travelers take advantage of the "guarderia" to leave their backpacks and not to carry them during the route.
This quiet start gradually becomes more complicated and becomes the most difficult route in the entire Torres del Paine trek. The French Valley increases in slope, especially in the two kilometers before its viewpoint.
At this point is your choice. If you have started the route early and have the strength, you can continue to the British Viewpoint. This walk is especially difficult because of the slope, but the wonderful views it offers make it worthwhile.
To finish the route, we return along the same walk and pick up the backpack from the "guarderia". Afterwards, we continue bordering Lake Skottsberg until we reach the Paine Grande Sector.
This stretch is easier, but you will notice the tiredness since the route has more than 20 km in total and a lot of accumulated slope.
The last refuge is the biggest of all and has a fantastic location: in front of Lake Pehoe.
The last day of the Torres del Paine W trek has a high difficulty due to the inclination of the route. However, you can leave your luggage in the refuge and not carry it, which makes it much easier.
The route starts bordering the Cerro Paine Grande. You will have already seen it from the camping site or refuge because of its more than 3000 meters high. As we border it, we will be able to see the wonderful views of its hanging glaciers.
The first stop is the viewpoint of Grey Lake, on which you will see numerous pieces of glacier floating.
Some travelers finish their ascent here. While others, continue to the Grey refuge, from where you can see the Grey Glacier very close.
To return to the Paine Grande Sector, the road is downhill, so the journey will be easier and faster. It is important to keep to the times on this route because at 6:30 p.m. you will have to take a catamaran. You will sail across Lake Pehoé to Pudeto and once there, a bus will take you back to Puerto Natales.
You will arrive around 9:30 p.m. at the city bus station. Here, we will put an end to this magical adventure through Chilean Patagonia.
The 5 days W trek starts from Puerto Natales. If you are travelling from Santiago de Chile, the best option is to take a flight to Punta Arenas. From Punta Arenas, you can take a bus that is just 3:15 hours away and will bring you to the Puerto Natales bus station. Another very common starting point is El Calafate (Argentina), there are buses that connect this Argentinian city directly with Puerto Natales which is a 5 hours journey.