Full Circuit: The Route
On the Torres del Paine circuit as the name suggests you complete a circuit of the Paine range. The route visits the 3 valleys that you visit on the W trek as well as the quieter northern areas of the park. The areas you visit are:
- Dickson Lake is a beautiful campsite set with views of the Dickson glacier and a tranquil setting.
- You will pass through beautiful Lenga forest on your way to the Perros camp above which the Perros glacier hangs.
- John Garner pass is the most challenging day and a highlight of the circuit trek. You climb to 1200m and get awesome views towards the icecap.
- The trail descends towards glacier grey and you follow the glacier as it descends to Grey lake. The views of glacier grey are fantastic!
- The French Valley, with the vast hanging glacier Frances dominates the landscape on your left as you climb. There is more challenging terrain and wonderful views of the glacier as you hike up the valley until your reach the top where you are surrounded by an amphitheatre of towering pinnacles.
- You will visit the magnificent mile high granite towers that give Torres del Paine its name either at the start or end of your trek. This is one of the more challenging days of the trek with 800m climb and 7-9 hours of hiking.
A readiness to camp and some experience of multi-day hikes is needed for this trek, but the rewards in terms of the iconic views and the sense of achievement are wonderful.
Full Circuit Treks of Torres del Paine
The Full Circuit - Hike, Bike, Ride and Kayak
Full Circuit Specials
Off the Beaten Track Circuits
What Our Customers Think
The highlight of the trek was going over the John Gardner pass and then seeing the enormous ice fields and Grey Glacier. I did not realize how big they were, now I do. The Full Circuit met our expectations and so glad we did this and not the W because that is so crowded.
Trina USA November 2017
We were really thankful for having a guide through the backcountry (also in Chalten), as we saw so much more than those who didn't, Carlos (our guide TdP) often pointing out flowers and birds that were naturally camouflaged.
Emma November 2016
Our Patagonia trip was amazing- thank you so much for your help with booking it! Our guide, Isi, was THE best!! Could not recommend her more highly. So much beauty everywhere!!
Cali February 2016
The Full Circuit was even better than I expected, especially the trekking outside of W: less people, smaller campgrounds with better food and nice people. Our guide Mauricio was amazing.
Aude December 2016
The varying landscapes of the O circuit was breathtaking - mountains, rivers, forests, glacier lakes, valleys, and meadows. We didn't realise how different every hike would be.
Julie January 2017
We were so happy to complete the full circuit. Our guide was knowledgable and helpful and let us keep a comfortable pace. Logistics at the campsites worked out great.
Urszula January 2017
Full Circuit: Your Questions Answered
Yes, some nights of camping are needed as there are no 'refugios' at certain points along the route; almost all the group trips have camping throughout with an option to upgrade on certain nights.
Remember that it you join a guided tour then you'll be very well looked after at each of the camp sites: tents will be set up for you and good hearty meals prepared for you.
Generally speaking the guide and their assistant will carry all the group equipment (tents, food, fuel, radio, first aid kit, safety equipment) and you will be expected to carry your personal clothing, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. Sometimes people choose to hire a porter to help with this (often between two people) but in Chile this is expensive.
Many young Chileans hike this route independently but it is very remote and not without its risks. As ever, when the weather conditions change, and heavy snow can come down on the higher passes, navigation can become very difficult; each year one or two people are very sadly lost on this route. We strongly advise joining a guided group, but for very experienced hikers we have occasionally arranged self-guided treks.
This route used to offer hikers a true sense of Patagonia at its most wild and remote. However it has become world famous and there are more and more on the route. If you're looking to really get off the beaten track then let us know and we can advise on alternative routes within Torres del Paine and in other parts of Patagonia.
You always hike the circuit anti-clockwise because the John Gardner pass is too steep in a clockwise direction. Besides, the view with the whole ice cap below you as come over the pass, is THE reason to do the full circuit.
Harriet Pike Trekking, Mountaineering & Cycling Specialist