Reasons to hike the Full Circuit

The Torres del Paine loop, known as the Full Circuit or the O Circuit runs right around the Paine range. Experienced hikers will enjoy the challenge of some of the tougher passes, and for beginners, this is definitely a hike to aspire to.

  • Complete a full circuit of the Paine range, visiting all the highlights as well as some hidden gems
  • Escape the crowds on the W Trek by continuing into the quieter northern areas of the park
  • Take on the challenging John Gardner pass to be rewarded by breathtaking views of the icecap stretching into the distance
  • Camp with a view at some of the national park's secluded campsites that hug the mountain range

O Circuit: the route

Starting at Refugio Torre or Paine Grande, you'll hike the full trek anticlockwise, visiting the three valleys of the W Trek as well as the quieter trails across the north. Stunning views and a sense of achievement await all who embark on this trail, and there is no shortage of highlights. The main areas to visit are:

  • Dickson Lake, a beautiful tranquil campsite with views of the Dickson Glacier
  • The hanging Perros Glacier which sits above the remote Perros campsite, one of your rest stops
  • The John Gardner Pass, during the most challenging day of hiking, where you will climb to 1200m for spectacular views of the icecap
  • Descend to Glacier Grey and follow the glacier as it meets Lake Grey
  • Hike through French Valley, with the vast hanging Glacier Frances dominates the landscape on your left as you climb
  • 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. Climbing to this viewpoint is one of the more challenging days of the trek, with an 800m climb and 7-9 hours of hiking

The O Circuit - Route and Elevation Map

The O'Circuit


112km | 69.5 miles


7 days

Elevation gain: +13,618ft/4,151m

Elevation loss: -13,945ft/4,250m

Swoop Says background image

Harriet says

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 Head of Swoop Patagonia

More hiking in Patagonia

For avid hikers, Torres del Paine is certainly one to tick off the bucket list, but this national park is not alone. The whole Patagonian region boasts some of the best hiking in the world, with glaciers, volcanoes, forests and pampa waiting to be explored. Visit our hiking page to find out more about the full options available. 

Our combination trips allow you to see Torres del Paine and also explore a little wider. Prepare for your Circuit Trek by climbing volcanoes in the Lake District, or balance out the busy national park with a few weeks in the wild, remote Dientes range.

Customer review background image

What Our Customers Think of The O Circuit Trek

The O Circuit Trek trips scored 4.2/5 from 204 reviews

The guides and the circuit itself were amazing. The refugios were organized and though camping is not my ideal type of accommodation, it was necessary to access this wonderful environment. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2023

Ivey Bueno - USA

The trek led through very diversified and unique landscapes. I was in a good company of two great professional guides, Mauricio and Juaquin and enjoyed time with complete strangers, who very soon became good friends. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2023

Krystyna Tatarkiewicz - USA

Amazing nature, good hiking experience, camp sites are great, food arrangements (except lunch sandwiches) are amazing. Guides & porters were super friendly. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Prasad Sudhakar Deshmukh - USA

The trail is stunning, the logistics were smooth and the guides and group was superb. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Helena Atkinson - South Africa

I’m so glad we did the O Circuit rather than the W, I really enjoyed the peace around the back of the trail. The trail itself was as described and amenities were fantastic Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Kim Heighway - New Zealand

You can't describe it any other way than just breathtaking and amazing. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Robert Gung - USA

Everything was seamless once we arrived and well organised before. The guides were excellent; well informed, friendly and went the extra mile at every occasion. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Nicholas Hops - South Africa

The route was breathtaking around the circuit. The days were long and challenging but well worth it. It is great to do the O circuit on the quieter and more remote trails before joining up with the W which is a lot more busy. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Nicholas Hops - South Africa

I was definitely tired and cold. I remember seeing the group resting and waiting for me to come up over the pass. When I reached them I couldn’t contain my emotions. I burst into tears. It was so unbelievably beautiful. How lucky I was that I was physically able to see this wonder. So many people will never get get the chance to experience this… and I counted my blessings and thanks. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Cortney Peterson - USA

This circuit was unbelievable and exceeded all of my expectations! It was amazing and I highly recommend this circuit. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Marissa DeKraker - USA

Most memorable was walking over the John Gardner pass in 100km an hour winds on the O Circuit and seeing Grey Glacier. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Melanie Ford - UK

It was honestly so amazing to be out there without any distractions, doing something I never thought I’d be able to do. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Amy Hoffmann - USA

All I can say is O.M.G! If you ever thought hiking was redundant, do this trek! Every day brought something completely different from hiking up to peaks, through the forest, following the valley, along watersides, you name it - it was on this circuit. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Amy Hoffmann - USA

Guide and porters were super. O trek is an incredible journey; scenery can’t be beat. Trip of a lifetime. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Barbara McCleary - USA

Difficult to put into words but it's was almost like the French Valley and Towers were the 'dessert courses' of this trek whereas the main course was in the previous days... with the more challenging terrain, weather and a glimpse of the vast expanse of ice which contributes to the uniqueness of this part of the world. So for me I came away feeling thoroughly sated... like this trek had given me a taste of the full menu! Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Nick Partridge - UK

The first viewpoint on day 2 really blew me away. I saw a glacier calve at Perros Camp which was unreal. Obviously Lago Grey, French Valley, and the towers all made me so grateful to be in the park on this trip. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Michael Pellegrino - USA

I would suggest training a bit and being active before the trip to get the most out of it. Make sure you have boots you are comfortable with and a good windbreaker. Also, bring snacks. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Michael Pellegrino - USA

Tape your feet to prevent the blisters. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2021

Kendra Barnett - USA

Every turn in the trail, every hill you climb is a memorable one. However, coming down the Gardner Pass and seeing the majestic Grey Glacier is impossible to describe. Read the full review

Travelled: March 2020

Conceição Farias - United States Of America

We loved your assistance in planning our trip through Patagonia. I am capable to driving in foreign countries, but your assistance in transportation meant I could take more photos, watch more scenery, skip through long lines, avoid the hassle and worry of renting a car. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

Steven Ray - USA

Really enjoyed the full circuit although it was pretty busy in the more mainstream areas. I prefer the wilderness camping element so my favourite part was days 2 to 6, especially the John Gardner pass day. The guide was really knowledgeable and the camps were excellent. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

Amil Patel - United Kingdom

Customer Image

The circuit trek in Torre del Paine was by far the highlight. The remoteness and the untouched nature were amazing. Both of our guides on the hikes were amazing! The simple and quiet beauty is what we will remember forever.

Travelled: December 2017

Erin - USA

Customer Image

One of the things I loved about the circuit was the variety. Hiking through the forests, the valleys, the beautiful plains, over the passes, alongside glacier fields were all highlights. I also loved seeing the mountains in different perspectives throughout the hike.

Travelled: December 2017

Tim - USA

Customer Image

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.

Travelled: November 2017

Trina - USA

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.

Travelled: January 2017

Julie -

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.

Travelled: January 2017

Urszula - USA

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 was amazing.

Travelled: December 2016

Aude -

Our Patagonia trip was amazing – thank you so much for your help with booking it! Our guide was THE best! Could not recommend her more highly. There was so much beauty everywhere.

Travelled: February 2016

Cali -


Why Swoop

We’ve got our feet on the ground

Expert Impartial Advice SVG

Impartial advice and a bespoke service to make your trip perfect.

Deep Roots in Patagonia

Deep Roots SVG

We are former guides, tour leaders, outdoor enthusiasts & adventurers.

For The Ends Of The Earth

Ends Of The Earth SVG

Swoop is proud to be B Corp Certified as we know sustainability is more than our carbon footprint (but we’re reducing that too).

We’re With You At Every Step

With You SVG

We’ll make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime.

Ready to plan your Patagonia adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.