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Hiking Patagonia – The W-Trek

Hiking Patagonia - The W-Trek

Valle del Francés


Magnificent steep mountains, glaciers, turquoise lakes, and lovely valleys are all in abundance on the W-Trek in Torres del Paine, probably the most lovely trek I’ve ever skilled.  Don’t let the lengthy distances discourage a visit to this fascinating place.  On a regular basis, effort, and sweat concerned in touring to this a part of Chile is value seeing this unreal place in individual.

The under itinerary is for the typical 30 yr previous in average form.  If I had extra time, I might have most popular so as to add a further day to the itinerary, as I might have felt much less rushed.

W-Trek spit up in four days


  • Day zero: Arrival to Refugios Torre
  • Day 1: Refugios Torre – Las Torres – Refugios Torre (20km / 12mi)
  • Day 2: Refugios Torre – Camp El Frances (13km / 8mi)
  • Day three: Camp El Frances – Mirador Britanico – Camp El Frances (17km /10.5mi)
  • Day four: Camp El Frances – Gray Glacier – Camp Paine Grande (32km / 20mi)
  • Day 5: Departure

Valle del Francés

Day 1:  Hike to Mirador Las Torres

The first day begins with a hike to Base Las Torres, which is an out and again 20km trek.  The starting of the hike began and ended at Refugios Torre, the place breakfast and dinner was served.  Renting tents and buying a meal plan made trekking that a lot simpler since gear and meals didn’t need to be carried.

After breakfast, lunch luggage have been picked as much as deliver on the hike. The lunch luggage have been comparatively the identical on a regular basis, however they tasted superb resulting from being completely beat and famished from all of the climbing.  Lunch bag all the time included:  a bottle of water, gigantic sandwich, granola bar, path combine (peanuts, cashews, raisins, and so on), an apple, and a bit of chocolate.  The plan was to hike as much as Las Torres, eat lunch on the prime, after which come again right down to the location.

Lovely Valley on the best way to Las Torres

The hike to Las Torres was fairly superb. It’s not extraordinarily troublesome, particularly as a result of we left nearly all of our belongings on the campsite.

Hike to Las Torres

If you get to the highest, you’ll see an enormous physique of turquoise coloured water.   If you lookup, you’ll see three large granite towers.  It took us about 10 hours to do the entire journey as a result of we spent a very good period of time on the prime.  Plus you need to take footage of every part alongside the best way since every thing is so lovely.

The Lovely Las Torres

Day 1: Hike to Las Torres

Day 2:  Hike Alongside Lake Nordenskjold

Day two began at Refugios Torre and ended at Domos & Camp El Frances, for a distance of about 13km.  This was the primary day climbing with backpacks since we have been shifting to a unique camp website.  The first 5km was tremendous windy however began to quiet down as time went on.  Ultimately, the path will get very near Lake Nordenskjold on the left with big steep mountains on the appropriate.

Meals is provided to the campsites alongside the path utilizing horses

The views of Lake Nordenskjold have been unbelievable on the best way to Camp El Frances.  When the solar hits the water, the turquoise colour radiates all through all the panorama.

Lake Nordenskjold

Watch out crossing a few of the rivers, in any other case your foot will slip off a dry rock and into the river.  This occurred to me and climbing 5km with one moist foot shouldn’t be enjoyable.

River Crossing

The seashore alongside Lake Nordenskjold is a superb place to cease for lunch.

Seems to be like a Maldives seashore with Swiss mountains mixed. Unbelievable.

We have been fairly sore from yesterday’s hike, so we relaxed and ate dinner upon arriving to Camp El Frances.  The Domos at this camp website was the “glamping” (glamorous tenting) portion of our journey. The amenities appeared comparatively new once we arrived.

These domes jogged my memory of a hostel as a result of there have been four bunk beds in a single big room (eight individuals complete), however the perk is that there’s a toilet/bathe in every dome. Additionally, you don’t should unzip your tent and stroll outdoors with a flashlight to go pee!

Not a nasty view from Domos & Camp El Frances

I used to be actually impressed that that they had such good high quality meals at this website as a result of it’s not an simply accessible location. It have to be loopy troublesome to ship meals to Camp El Frances as a result of you possibly can’t drive a truck or take any type of motor transportation by means of the paths.

Domos & Camp El Frances

Day three: Hike in Valle del Francés

Day three consisted of climbing from Camp El Frances up by way of Valle del Francés and again for a complete of 17km.  Since we have been staying in the identical campsite for 2 nights, we didn’t have to hold our luggage throughout this hike.

Valle del Francés is surely is probably the most lovely valley I’ve ever seen!

Getting into Valle del Francés

Experiencing all 4 seasons in at some point is a standard expertise on this a part of the world.  The starting of this trek began very chilly and wet with hats, gloves, and rain jackets being worn.   Nevertheless, towards the top of the hike it was completely sunny and heat.

Sporting layers is an absolute should!  You’ll continuously be including and subtracting layers all through the day whereas on the W-Trek.

Steep mountains the place we noticed avalanches

As we walked via the valley, we heard one thing that appeared like loud thunder or explosions.  Seems it was a steep mountain was experiencing a number of avalanches close by.  Fortunately, the avalanches have been a protected distance away.

About half approach via Valle del Francés, wanting again at Lake Nordenskjold and Camp El Frances

The hike into Valle del Francés is on an incline, nevertheless its not too steep in comparison with the day one hike to Las Torres.  Plus, the world is so insanely lovely you’ll overlook your even climbing. 

Superb geological buildings carved by glaciers

The path was a bit rocky and in the direction of the highest, so that you undoubtedly have to do a little bit of climbing. The surroundings was fairly breathtaking with the rivers and the glaciers interrupting the hike.  If you get to the highest, you could have a 360 diploma view of the mountain “skyline.”  We have been completely happy that the solar made an look to showcase these magnificent views.

We made it to the highest of Mirador Britanico in Valle del Francés

The stroll down was quite a bit simpler than strolling up. It was fairly a aid that it stopped raining as a result of the rain could make the rocks fairly slippery.

Day three: Valle del Francés

Day four: Hike to Gray Glacier

The longest hike of the journey got here on day four, with a distance of 32km.  Ideally, this could have been damaged up into two separate days, however I didn’t have sufficient time keep in Patagonia for a further day.  Despite the fact that this hike was the longest distance, it was fairly straightforward as a result of it was comparatively flat a lot of the means.

This hike begins at Camp El Frances, stops at Camp Paine Grande, heads to Gray Glacier, after which ends again at Camp Paine Grande.  As soon as we reached Camp Paine Grande, we checked-in and dropped off our luggage.  That method we might hike to Gray Glacier with out carrying something.

Leaving the world of Valle del Francés

Mountains on the best way to Camp Paine Grande

The first half of the hike had towering mountains on one aspect and insanely coloured azure lakes on the opposite.  The flat trails and delightful surroundings made this one of many best elements of the W-Trek.

Lake Pehoe – the brightest and colourful lake I ever noticed

Alongside the best way you’ll see a number of lakes, however if you get nearer to the campground, Lake Pehoe has a extra vibrant shade of turquoise in comparison with what was seen on the prime of Los Torres.

Virtually on the campsite

We needed to hike to Gray Glacier that very same day, so we instantly dropped off our heavy luggage in our assigned tent after checking in.

Camp Paine Grande

After dropping off our luggage, we proceeded to Gray Glacier, which was about 11km away.  This a part of the hike was a bit extra steep, windy, and cloudy.

Distinctive Vegetation

On the best way to Gray Glacier

A number of giant lakes encompass the W-Trek, every with their very own distinctive shade.  On the best way to Gray Glacier, the path hugs Gray Lake, named after its colour and for being fed by Gray Glacier.

Gray Lake

Gray Glacier was large, however the climate wasn’t tremendous cooperative.  By the point we acquired there, it was actually foggy.  A bit disappointing, however can’t actually complain since we had fairly phenomenal climate for a lot of the day.

Gray Glacier

After seeing Gray Glacier, we rotated and headed again to Paine Grand Campsite for dinner. There’s a restaurant situated at this campsite and it was completely packed.

The campsite itself was rather a lot louder than the opposite websites, however I feel the campsite serves as a hub for a lot of vacationers.   Many individuals begin the W-Trek right here, whereas others finish right here, like we did.   It’s an enormous noisy campsite and also you’ll right here individuals chatting all through the night time.

Day four: So many various lakes

Day 5: Heading Residence

Being proper subsequent to the Catamaran pier, Camp Paine Grande is was a very good campsite to finish the trek.  After an evening of howling wind, we awakened early, had breakfast, packed up our belongings, and headed to the dock for the Catamaran.  The Catamaran crosses Lake Pehoe and goes from Campsite Paine Grande to Pudeto, the place buses are ready to take us to Puerto Natales.

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Hikers Boarding Catamaran

From Pudeto, we purchased bus tickets to experience again to Puerto Natales. There have been a ton of buses (we took a bus referred to as, Bus-Sur) and I feel all of them run in sync with the Catamaran schedule. The buses appeared to be ready for the gang of individuals to get off the boat.  We purchased tickets immediately from the bus driver with the journey taking about 5 hours.

After we arrived at Puerto Natales, we took one other bus to Punta Areanas.  Lastly, as soon as we arrived to Punta Areanas, we flew again to Santiago.

Day 5: Heading Residence


In conclusion, the W-Trek in Patagonia is a difficult epic hike in one of the crucial distant locations on the earth.   With unparalleled magnificence and awe inspiring sights, all of the planning and time concerned to get to this location is properly well worth the effort.

Lake Nordenskjold