7 unforgettable days of hiking the W-Trek

The Torres del Paine national park is famous for its well-known W-Trek, named after the shape of the most popular hiking route. There are different ways of how to hike the “W”, depending on which end you start your trip. You will also find different suggestions on duration and recommended days to do the hike.

We decided to start at the East and booked 6 nights camping in the park, as we wanted to take it slowly and have enough time to wander around rather than rushing from one camp to the other with packing up and carrying our tent after every night. Our route could have been easily done in 5 days or less, but still we don’t regret the extra time and surely enjoyed every minute in the park. Only tiny shortfall was the total weight of our food, that we had to carry along for all days in addition to our hiking and camping gear.

In the following you find an overview of our route with the key facts for every day. You can find the details and pictures of the single days in the respective posts (they will follow bit by bit).

In total we hiked a little more than 100 km. Every day was special in its own unique way. The landscape of the Torres del Paine national park is very diverse, reaching from all kind of glaciers, turquoise lakes, impressive mountains and endless forests and grasslands. Furthermore it allows you to experience wildlife animals as close as it can get. We crossed paths with foxes, horses, bunnies, guanacos (like alpacas) and even a puma (in save distance though).

Day 1 – Arrive in the park at Camp Central

Route: Lagoon Armaga to Camp Central (Las Torres)
Duration: 2 hours
Metres of height: ~100 m
Length: 7 km

Easy and slow start to get a first impression of the park.

Day 2 – Hike to the Mirador Las Torres aka “the three towers”

Route: Camp Central – Camp Chileno – Mirador – Camp Central
Duration: 6 hours
Metres of height: ~850 m
Length: 19 km

The trek can get crowded with tourist groups that visit for the day to see the apparent highlight of the park. The towers are impressive indeed! The campamento Torres (45 min before the towers) is not available for hikers any more. You have to hike from Camp Chileno or Central (Las Torres).

Day 3 – Camp Central to Camp Frances

Route: Camp Central – Camp Cuernos – Camp Frances
Duration: 5 hours
Metres of height: 400 m
Length: 15,5 km

This route was my personal highlight of the total trip. The panorama is stunning with endless turquoise lakes at the one and glaciers on the horizon on the other side. The last bit from Camp Cuernos to Camp Frances is a bit tricky though and takes 2 hours, instead of less than an hour as indicated on all signs and maps in the park.

Day 4 – Camp Frances to Mirador Britanico

Route: Camp Frances – Mirador Valle Frances / Britanico – Camp Frances
Duration: 5 hours
Metres of height: ~650 m
Length: 13,4 km

The campamento and Mirador Britanico as indicated on the maps cannot be reached and hiked any more. The way finds a sudden end at a nice lookout over Valle de Frances.

Day 5 – Camp Frances to Camp Paine Grande

Route: Camp Frances – Camp Italiano – Camp Paine Grande
Duration: 2,5 hours
Metres of height: ~100 m (~300 m down)
Length: 8 km

The way leads to a part of the park, which was burnt down a couple of years earlier. Together with the strong winds this area gets a very rough and wild atmosphere, again with an impressive panaroma all way long.

Day 6 – Camp Paine Grande to Glacier Grey

Route: Camp Paine Grande – Camp Grey – Glacier Gray – Camp Paine Grande
Duration: 6 hours
Metres of height: ~750 m
Length: 24 km

This was the only route where the destination was the highlight, and not the way itself. The hike can get a bit tiring with the stormy wind, but the look-out to the glacier Gray at the end of the trek is totally worth any struggle.

Day 7 – Leave the park from Camp Paine Grande

Route: Camp Paine Grande – Administration Office
Duration: 5 hours
Metres of height:
Length: 18,5 km

Walking out of the park provides again a different perspective and landscape of the park. In total we were only 5 people along the whole distance. A great ending to one of our best adventures so far – not only during our current journey, but in our whole lives.

As mentioned earlier, every single day was impressive in its own way and showed a different side of the beautiful national park. We were very lucky with the weather, despite the strong Patagonian winds with up to 90 km/h. So bring good equipment, especially regarding the tent. You can read more about our preparation recommendations in this post.

2 comments

  1. Susanne

    Where are the pictues? We want pictures!!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Conny

      We work on them! 🙂 It`s not easy to have some time for editing between all the hikes, impressions and new friends 😀
      But we have loads of them, so stay tuned

      Reply

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