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Torres Del Paine W Trek – Patagonia’s Most Popular Hike (With Video & Map)

  • Updated: December 12, 2019
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On this page you will find a comprehensive and impartial guide to the Torres Del Paine W Trek.

This short hike offers the best features of Torres del Paine without having to hike the full circuit. You will see Grey Glacier, the base of the Towers, the French Valley and much more on this stunning trek.

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W Trek Torres Del Paine

Route Overview

The most popular trek in Patagonia, the Torres Del Paine W Trek is fast becoming one of the most well-respected short hikes in the world due to the trails stunning scenery.

Located in the amazing Torres del Paine National Park (which was made a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978), the trek generally takes around 5 days to complete and takes visitors into the very heart of the park, through haunting forests, soaring mountains and colossal glaciers.

The trek is 100km long and begins with a lovely boat ride near the Grey Glacier and finishes with a magical sunrise at the famous Torres on the final morning. There is the option to do the longer full circuit trek, however, most travellers opt for the shorter W Trek instead.

The Torres Del Paine W Trek is considered a fairly easy level trek as hikers generally stay at the same elevation and certainly never go high enough for altitude sickness to become an issue.

The trails are well defined and you’ll find signposts dotted along the trails at regular intervals. Water is available at all campsites, as is food. Ranger stations are dotted along the trail and you’ll most likely be among other trekkers (depending when you trek).

Be careful though, storms are frequent in Patagonia and the wind can get extremely cold and strong. Always check weather forecasts before your day of trekking as the John Gardner Pass is often closed due to high winds.

Please Note: As of 2016, the CONAF has now limited the amount of people who can hike the W 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 W Trek 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 W Trek is 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.

Itinerary

Below is a detailed Torres Del Paine W Trek itinerary. Please note that this is a typical Torres Del Paine W Trek itinerary.

There are sometimes great differences in trek length depending on weather and trekking experience. The itinerary provided is the standard 5 day trek option.

Day 1: Puerto Natales to Refugio Grey (11km)

Day 2: Grey Glacier to Paine Grande (19km)

Day 3: Valle del Frances to Los Cuernos (28km)

Day 4: Los Cuernos to Campamento Torres (20km)

Day 5: Torres to Puerto Natales (10-15km)

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Video Overview

A beautiful video overview of the Torres Del Paine W Trek by Yeti Adventure Films.  The video is very is 6:19 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 orres del Paine (Chile) 1:50 / 100,000 Trekking Map, GPS, waterproof by Trekking Chile.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the W Trek cost?

Are permits required for the W Trek?

When is the best time to trek the W circuit?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

How difficult is the W Trek?

What gear do I need?

What travel insurance do I need?


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