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Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek – A True Patagonia Challenge (With Video & Map)

  • Updated: December 6, 2019
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On this page you will find a comprehensive and impartial guide to the Torres Del Paine Full Cuircuit Trek.

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Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek

Route Overview

One of the greatest and undiscovered treks on our planet, the Torres del Paine Full Circuit is a vibrant mix of stunning landscapes and unrivalled views.

Located on the southern tip of South America, the Torres del Paine National Park was made a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978 and hosts some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the Americas. 

Home to spectacular glacier, emerald lakes, ancient forests and tranquil rivers, the Full Circuit of Torres del Paine is fast becoming one of the most popular treks in South America.

The trek is 130km long and hikers generally take 7 to 9 days to complete it, although more experienced trekkers often do it in under 5 days! However, the John Gardner pass is often closed due to bad weather and it is always advised to add a few extra days in to your itinerary to accommodate this.

When the pass is closed the best option is to hike back to Campamento Los Perros and stay there for another night or two.

The Full Circuit takes hikers on the standard 'W' Trek before continuing around the backside of the park to Refugio Dickson. Trekkers then climb and over John Gardner Pass before descending back down to Campamento Grey.

The circuit is considered a fairly good entry level trek as the elevation remains relatively flat and trekkers generally stay near sea level.

Therefore, unlike some of the more famous treks in Nepal, altitude sickness is not an issue on the circuit. The trail is very well signposted, making it near impossible to get lost. Water can be found throughout the circuit and ranger stations are dotted along the route.

The only concern along the route is the weather. Patagonia is famously windy and produces frequent storms that often make trekking quite dangerous. Always be aware of the weather forecast and, if travelling with a guide, follow their lead and advice.

Please Note:

As of 2016, the CONAF has now limited the amount of people who can hike the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trail to 80 persons per day. Visitors must reserve a place if trekking solo without an operator and you’ll need to take the trail in a counterclockwise direction. It is also advised to book campsite early as they book up exceptionally quickly, particularly the free camp sites!

Regional Map

The Torres Del Paine Full Circuit is situated within Chile near the southern tip of South America.

The park itself is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales and 312 km north of Punta Arenas.

Route Map

Torres del Paine Waterproof Trekking Map (English/Spanish Edition)

The best map we have found for the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit the Torres del Paine Waterproof Trekking Map by Sergio Zagier.

The map provides a compressive satellite relief, contour lines, shelters, timed trails, camping and inns.

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Typical Itinerary for Torres del Paine Full Circuit Trek

Below is a detailed Torres Del Paine Full Circuit itinerary. Please note that this is a typical Torres Del Paine Full Circuit itinerary. There are sometimes great differences in trek length depending on weather and trekking experience. The itinerary provided is the standard 8 day trek option.

Click each day to read more.

Day 1: Puerto Natales - Campamento Serón (12 km)

Day 2: Campamento Serón – Refugio Dickson (18km)

Day 3: Refugio Dickson – Campamento Los Perros (11 km)

Day 4: Campamento Los Perros – Paso (12 km)

Day 5: Campamento Paso – Refugio Grey – Paine Grande (21 km)

Day 6: Valle del Frances – Los Cuernos (22,5 km)

Day 7: Los Cuernos – Campamento Torres (20 km)

Day 8: Torres – Puerto Natales (10 – 15 km)

best-hikes-in-patagonia-torres-del-paine-trek

Video Overview

A beautiful video overview of the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit by Backpacker Steve.

The video is very detailed and is 12:29 long.

Recommended Guidebook

Trekking Torres del Paine: Chile's Premier National Park and Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park

The one guide book that stands above all other is Trekking Torres del Paine: Chile’s Premier National Park and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park by Rudolf Abraham. The guide book covers eight major trails within the park including the Full Circuit and the ‘W’ Trek. Maps, tips and detailed information is provided for each trek and the book is a must for trekkers hiking solo.

Other guide books available include Fodor’s Chile: with Easter Island & Patagonia (Travel Guide), Backpacking in Chile: Travel Guide & Trekking Guide for Independent Travelers and Torres del Paine (Chile) 1:50 / 100,000 Trekking Map, GPS, waterproof by Trekking Chile.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Torres Del Paine Full Circuit

Below we have provided detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions on the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek.

1.

How much does the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek cost?

The cost of a Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek varies depending on when you book flights, when you trek (out of season tends to be a little cheaper) and whether to trek with a local or western trekking agency, or independently.


We have provided a detailed Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek Cost article here but in summary you should budget for the following key expenses:


  1. Visa, Vaccinations, Insurance etc:~$300-$500
  2. Equipment (buying and hiring):~$500-$800 – camping gear can be rented at the park entrance for $200.
  3. Return flights to Punta Arenas: ~$1,500
  4. Tour Agency: ~$1,000 for a cheap local agency to ~$2,500 for a pricey Western trekking agency. You could do an independent trek for less than $300 as many of the campsites are free. You will need to book early though. This price includes food, park entrance and camping. Food can be purchased from refugios throughout the park, however, it is very expensive.
  5. Tips: ~$10-20
  6. Misc (additional food, unplanned travel / hotels ect): $50
  7. Total Costs: $2,500 – $5,000
2.

Are permits required for the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek?

Yes, a permit is required to enter the park. However, the permit is simply purchased a the entrance gate and cost around $30 US in the high season and $15 US in the low season. To obtain the permit, the park officials will need to see that you have booked your camping accommodation in advance.

3.

When is the best time to trek the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit circuit?

The Torres del Paine national park can actually be trekked all year-round which makes it one of the most accessible trekking regions in the world. To give you a sense of the season, we have written an overview of each below.


Spring - September to November


This is a great time of year to visit the park if you want warm, clear weather but without the crowds. Although not quite as warm as the summer months, the skies are often clear and you'll get stunning views across the park. This is also the best season to see flowering flora in the region and witness the breeding season of the wildlife.


Summer - December to March


This is the high season. Although the trails are at their capacity now, the weather is also at its warmest and you'll get the most clear days on your trek. If you're the active type, then summer is also the period when you can horse ride, kayak and mountain bike alongside your trek!


Fall - March to June


Our favourite season. The landscape comes alive with colour and the trails start to empty out as days become colder. The wind is often ferocious, but the spectacularly beautiful views are worth it!


Winter - June to August


Although the majority of refugios are closed during this period, this season has the benefit of being the most quiet. There will be very few other visitors and you'll have many of the trails to yourself. This is the coldest period though and you will certainly experience cold nights and high winds.
4.

Is altitude sickness a risk on Torres Del Paine?

There is almost no risk of altitude sickness on the Toress Del Paine Full Circuit Trek. The highest point reached is under 700 meters which is far too low to bring on altitude sickness.


See our comprehensive guide to altitude sickness, its symptoms, acclimatization tips, available treatments and more.

5.

How difficult is the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek?

The Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek is not considered a difficult trek as there is very little elevation gain throughout the trek. The trek can be done over a longer period depending on your fitness levels and there are plenty of rest points. A solid level of fitness is still required though as you will still be walking a number of hours each day.

6.

What gear do I need?

Trekking the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek does requires a certain amount of essential pieces of trekking clothing and equipment. The Torres Del Paine Full Circuit Trek is a multi day trek that travels through a number of landscapes.


Many pieces of equipment can be rented at the park entrance, but we recommend bringing the most important pieces of gear with you.


To help you plan and prepare for your trek we have written a detailed gear list.

7.

What travel insurance works for this trek?

Trekking insurance is always a must. Although unlikely, accidents do happen and can cost a lot of money, especially when you consider the cost of rescue from remote destinations. It is also a great idea to take out travel insurance for other related risks of travel such as loss of baggage, stolen gear, delays and damaged equipment.

Check out World Nomads for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip to the Torres Del Paine Full Circuit.

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