Hike one of the world’s great treks with the company that knows it best
Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is a scenic wonderland without parallel—likened by many to the combined splendor of Yosemite and the Grand Tetons—a place to which all serious mountain-lovers must make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. This trek—which we pioneered in the mid-1980s—is a full circuit of the Paine massif, including the famous “W” route, and takes you through the kind of rarely traveled terrain you’d expect to find at the ends of the earth. Few other U. S. companies operate the full circuit, and no one else does it with our level of experience and support.
Accompanied by top local guides, all with extensive mountaineering backgrounds, you’ll hike deep into the remote wilderness of southern Chile. Here, glaciers of millennia past have receded from the granite rock of the Cordillera Paine, leaving a cluster of craggy peaks rising 8,000 feet above the surrounding grasslands. The jaw-dropping vistas of monolithic rock spires and snow-capped mountains, the huge expanse of the Patagonia Ice Field, the tranquil azure lakes, and the golden plains bright with wildflowers make this, beyond a doubt, one of the most unforgettable treks you’ll ever take.
7 days moderate to strenuous trekking
- Make a complete circuit of the Paine massif—one of the "Great Treks" of the world—including the famous "W" route, with its scenic highlights of the southern side of the circuit!
- Trek with the company that first pioneered this route in the 1980s
- Go where other hikers seldom venture—MTS is one of the few U. S. companies to operate the full circuit, and no one else does it with our level of experience and complete support
- Hike along the enormous Grey Glacier, more than five miles across and ten miles in length!
- Sip "glacier" cocktails made with thousand-year-old ice
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Punta Arenas End Location: Punta ArenasDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Punta Arenas
Mornng arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan. Your trip leader will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. In the evening the group will gather for a pre-trip briefing.
Day 2 : Paine National Park
From Punta Arenas we’ll drive about three hours across the Patagonian plains to the quiet fishing and mining town of Puerto Natales on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Here we’ll stretch our legs a bit and have lunch. We'll continue driving toward Paine National Park and take in the first spectacular views of the Paine range (weather permitting). There is also a very good chance of seeing guanacos (relatives of the camel and llama) up close in this area of the park. We will arrive at our hotel accommodations early in the evening. Because it does not get dark in the Austral summer until around 11:00 p.m., you will have plenty of time to admire the landscape and photograph as we drive toward the park.
You will be awed by incredible views of the surrounding vistas, including the granite pillars of the Torres del Paine.
Day 3 : Torres del Paine
We'll get an early start for our all-day hike to the Torres del Paine. First we walk towards the Ascension River, crossing it via a suspension bridge, then continue hiking along the river over a low pass into the Ascencion Valley, where we'll pass through beech forests before reaching the talus-covered slopes below the towers. A 30-minute hike up the rough talus and boulders will bring us to a spectacular viewpoint where the towers rise majestically before us, and the glacial lake is visible below. This is one of the most scenic spots in the world! We'll enjoy a box lunch en route, and return hike to your hotel. (Approx. hiking time: 8 hours, 2,296ft elevation gain)
Day 4 : Hike to Campamento Seron
Another early start so we can enjoy impressive views of the Paine Towers and the peak of Almirante Nieto. We begin our walk through a tall deciduous beech forest, where we may spot the Magellanic woodpecker. Our path leads through the foothills of Cerro Paine and grassland areas before arriving at the old Seron Camp. (Approx. hiking time: 6 hours; Approx. distance: 10 miles, 656 ft elevation gain)
Day 5 : Lago Dickson
This is a long day, and though our hike has some ups and downs, it is mostly flat. We'll continue hiking west, skirting Lago Paine. Along the way we’ll have incredible views of the northeast peaks of the Paine Massif, including Cabeza del Indio (Indian Head), Escudo Cubo, and Dickson. Camp at Lago Dickson.
The horses will be turned back at this point, but porters will arrive to carry the communal camping gear over the pass (you will still carry your raingear, gaiters, jacket, lunch, etc. in your daypack). You will be given waterproof bags for the clothing and other items you’ll need for the next three days. The rest of your belongings will go back with the horses and you’ll meet up with them again at Lago Grey.
(Approx. hiking time: 6-8 hours; Approx. distance: about 11 miles, 670 ft. elevation gain)
Day 6 : Lago de los Perros
Today we'll hike west toward the Paine Pass and the immense Patagonia Ice Cap. The Dickson Glacier is visible here, pouring into Dickson Lake from the ice cap above. We enter into primeval beech forests and hike up the Río de los Perros, reaching Lago de los Perros and the hanging glacier in the mid-afternoon. Continue hiking for a half-hour to reach the Perros campsite, located in a peaceful old-growth forest. (Approx. hiking time: 6 hours, 1,148ft elevation gain)
Day 7 : Cross the Paine Pass
We start our hike eary and ascend along the banks of the Rio Perros to reach Paine Pass (4,000') after about three hours (altitude gain of 1,500 feet). Once on top, we'll have fantastic views of the Patagonia Ice Cap and the 25-mile-long Grey Glacier, lying 2,000 feet below us on the west side of the pass. We'll descend scree slopes to the treeline and enter the forest along the left bank of the Grey Glacier. This part of the hike is very strenuous; we'll have to pick our way carefully over numerous fallen logs and descend steep, slippery trails that can get very muddy at times. We'll continue to skirt the Grey Glacier, encountering buttresses, climbing and descending steep and slippery trails, crossing avalanche gullies, and fording some fast-moving streams. Arrive at Lago Grey and camp overnight near the refugio, where hot showers are available. (Approx. hiking time: 10-12 hours, 3,280ft elevation gain)
Day 8 : Grey Glacier – Lago Pehoe
Today we'll visit the Grey Glacier, a 30-minute walk from the refugio, with the opportunity to observe icebergs calving into Lago Grey—a truly spectacular experience. Then we can take off for a leisurely hike to our next camp at Lago Pehoe, with fantastic views of the glacier behind us and the Paine massif rearing up above us on our left. (Approx. hiking time: 4 hours. 600ft elevation gain)
Day 9 : French Valley
Today's hike takes us into the French Valley, one of the most spectacular cirques in the Paine Range. During this hike into the southern cirque, we'll walk below massive glaciers that descend from Paine Grande (the highest summit in the Paine range), and below the enormous granite sweep of the horn-like cuernos. The views are fantastic from here. Again, we have two hiking options. We can hike straight back to camp (Approx hiking time: 4-5 hours, 1,900ft elevation gain) or up to the mirador (viewpoint) above Camp Británico—another 4-5 hours roundtrip hike—for one of the most impressive views in the park (weather permitting)!
Day 10 : End Trek
From our camp we'll take a catamaran across the lake, enjoying fantastic final views of the cuernos and Paine Grande. We’ll meet with our vehicle and drive to the impressive waterfalls of Salto Grande, then continue to Puerto Natales. Later we'll have a celebration dinner at a restaurant in town.
Day 11 : Punta Arenas – Depart
After breakfast we'll depart Puerto Natales for a three-hour drive to Punta Arenas. In the afternoon we'll board a flight to Santiago, where you'll connect with your international flight home.
If you can't bring yourself to depart South America just yet (and we certainly couldn't blame you!), consider joining one of our extensions, including Easter Island and the Atacama Desert, among others. Ask our Regional Specialist for details!
DATES: Best time to go: January - February, December Departures: Jan 12 - 22, 2015 Jan 26, 2015 - Feb 5, 2015 Feb 9 - 19, 2015
The atmosphere of the Hotel CostAustralis' rooms has been created to put guests even more at ease than they would be at home. The staff work daily to surpass our guest's expectations and provide pleasant and memorable experiences.
To achieve this, the hotel's 110 rooms have been designed to provide complete comfort and rest. They are decorated in a sober but elegant fashion, employing the region's most beautiful woods. Every room has a full private bath, strongbox, cable TV, domestic and international direct dialling, thermo-acoustic windows, independent heating and wireless internet access.
Hotel CostAustralis prides itself on providing everything that you need for a restful night so that you will wake up each day with energy to continue enjoying your marvelous Patagonian adventure to its fullest.
Hotel Las TorresPaine National Park
Surrounded by towering mountains, this hostería sits in a grassy field at a considerable distance from nearby towns. Simple, comfortable rooms come equipped with all the welcome essentials but in elegant harmony with the awe-inspiring surroundings.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Sergio "TC" Bahamondez
Sergio was born in Puntarenas, Chile, and grew up in Tierra del Fuego, where he developed his love for the outdoors. He studied psychology at La Plata University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has a degree in Patagonia Biodiversity from Magallanes University. Sergio has more than 10 years of experience as a tour leader, and his explorer’s spirit has taken him to nearly every continent. He is an excellent ambassador of his country and its culture—his enthusiasm and sense of adventure are absolutely contagious! Sergio is best known in Patagonia by his nickname, “TC,” and we know you’ll be captivated by his engaging smile.
André Labarca, a mountaineering and scuba instructor, fell in love with Patagonia at first sight and has made it his home for the last 10 years. He has participated in more than ten mountain expeditions in the region, accomplishing many first ascents, including the summits of the North and South Towers of the Torres del Paine. André has a great interest in the development of sustainable tourism and is always looking for other regions to explore within Patagonia. A very enthusiastic guide, André’s love for nature and respect for the mountains is infectious to all who travel with him.