Paine Circuit + Glacier Zapata

If you’re looking for a challenge, why not get off the beaten track for 2 days after a 7-day Full Circuit and hike into the Pingo Valley up to the stunning Glacier Zapata, camping all the way! If you’re looking for a challenge, why not get off the beaten track for 2 days after a 7-day Full Circuit and hike into the Pingo Valley up to the stunning Glacier Zapata, camping all the way!

13 Days


Paine Circuit + Glacier Zapata - 13 - $2,600

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Trek into the Bader Valley, a hidden and wonderful valley which passes along the slopes of Cerro Almirante Nieto
  • See the amazing Paine towers at sunrise 
  • Trek by the to Dickson Glacier and see beautiful views of the Paine Massif including: Oggioni Mountain and Cerro Cabeza de Indio
  • Trek around Lago Grey and be regarded with stunning views of the Grey Glacier and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field 
  • Hike along the Pingo River through a beautiful native forest 
  • Hike to the Zapata Summit with magnificent scenery and amazing views of Pingo, Grey and Zapata Glaciers

Start from Puerto Natales and end at Puerto Natales

Landmarks visited on Paine Circuit + Glacier Zapata

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Punta Arenas Airport - Public Bus to Puerto Natales

Accommodation: Amerindia Hostel 

Day 2: French Valley

Private transportation from Puerto Natales to Pudeto in order to catch the first Catamaran crossing at 9 AM. The walk goes to reach Campamento Italiano, close to the French Glacier, which is famous for its constantly falling ice and small avalanches. We will continue climbing into the interior of the French Valley with the Principal and North Horn as our faithful companions during our approach to the first viewpoint of Valley. This is an awesome lookout, which offers a panoramic view of the western sector of the Valley and to mountains such as the North Peak of Paine Grande, Castillo, Cota 2000, Catedral, and Aleta de Tiburon amongst other granite peaks.

The descent will take half a day to reach the Los Cuernos Refuge, leaving behind the largest valley in Torres del Paine. A place full of history and of great mountaineering exploits in the 1970's and 1980's when the first ascents of many of the peaks were first achieved.

Length of hike: 8 - 9 hours

Meals: Lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Los Cuernos Refuge

Day 3: Bader Valley "off the beaten track"

Today we will trek into the Bader Valley, one of the hidden and wonderful valleys in the Park. There is no official trail as this valley is only used by expeditions that are going to climb the walls of this mountain, the last section of the trail passes along the slopes of Cerro Almirante Nieto. This campsite is located in a small patch of Lenga trees and it has a small cabin which was built by the climbers themselves whilst they waited for good weather. It's considered to be the gateway to Bader Valley.

Leaving the woods we will find the north-western wall of the East Horn with its perfect granite forms. The ascent of the valley crosses an expansive glacial moraine of granite rocks which have formed small valleys and lagoons. The wind has given a very remarkable splendor to this place too.

Length of hike: 7 - 8 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Bader Camp 

Day 4: Cuernos Pass

We will gather up the camping gear and hike back to the main trail known as the "Cuernos Pass" which links the Las Torres Hotel with Italiano Campsite, nice views of the Nordenskjold Lake and Almirante Nieto summit along the way. In order to get to El Chileno Refuge the trails climb the slopes of Almirante Nieto along the Asencio River.

Length of hike 8: 6 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner provided

Accommodation: El Chileno Refuge

Day 5: Torres Del Paine

The goal of today is to see the sunrise at the Torres Del Paine. In order to achieve this privilege, we will start trekking when it is still dark with the help of our headlamps. We will get to the world famous Paine Towers lookout to enjoy the amazing view along with a hot beverage. In the case of bad weather, as a plan B, we will visit the Silence Valley.

Plan B:

This is a short day and will act as a contingency day if the weather is bad and the base of the Towers was not accessible. The activity of the day will be:

"Off the beaten track"

Day walk by a moraine of granite into the Silence Valley. It is a privileged place with a great view of the west faces of the Torres Del Paine. The Shield and Fortress are the bigger granite walls in Paine that have captured the attention of mountaineers for decades.

Length of hike:  5 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Accommodation: El Chileno Refuge 

Day 6: Seron

An easy, soft walk that goes next to Paine River through plains and small forests, Seron is a relaxing and historical place. The views of this day will be a mix of low range mountains and the Patagonian Pampas.

Length of hike:  6 hours

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Seron Campsite 

Day 7: Dickson Refuge

We will walk towards Dickson Refuge; Dickson Glacier is one of the glaciers at the south extreme of the Continental Patagonian Ice Field. This is a beautiful path surrounding Paine Lake, notros trees, hanging glaciers and mountains. You will have beautiful views of the back side of Paine Massif including Oggioni Mountain and "Cerro Cabeza de Indio".

The campsite is located on a nice plain very close to Dickson Lake. Depending on the time of the year, it is very likely to see many different types of wildflowers including orchids on the way.

Length of hike: 6 hours

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Dickson Campsite 

Day 8: Los Perros

Today you will have a soft trek to gain back your strength and prepare for the John Gardner ?s pass for the next day, which will be one of the most demanding days in the circuit. You will be able to enjoy this amazing trail that goes through some of the biggest native forests in the park. Ancient trees that will make you feel tiny. Before getting to camp, you will get to Los Perros Glacier, which hangs from the mountain to a lagoon.

Length of hike:  4 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Los Perros Campsite 

Day 9: Grey Glacier and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field 

Today you will have a long but rewarding trek! The view from the top is just stunning: (There may be lots of snow and mud so the use of gaiters and trekking poles are recommended.) After John Gardner's passage (1.350 Mts.) we start the descent this is relatively steep down to the Grey Glacier, is among little coigue trees, up to Paso Campsite.

Over the next few hours, we will go through extensive native forests: lengas, coigues, notros and other species endemic in our park. Tonight we shall stay at the Grey Campsite with a tremendous view of the Grey Glacier and the calving ice.

Length of hike: 9 - 10 hours

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Lago Grey Campsite 

Day 10: Pingo Valley 

After a relaxed morning, you may consider doing an ice hike or kayaking up to glacier grey. You will take the Grey III boat at 13.00 hrs up to the face of glacier grey and then back to Hotel Grey (2 Hours). Walk a short distance to Pingo Campsite. (Private transportation will bring fresh food and supplies from Puerto Natales for Pingo Valley stage)

Length of hike: 1 hour

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Pingo Campsite

Day 11: Pingo River

This amazing path runs through the valley along the Pingo River, through a beautiful native forest. This valley is known as a place of sighting Huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus), a species that teetered on the brink of extinction but is recovering slowly; nowadays there are far more frequent sightings.

Note: Before this area was a National Park, it was used mainly for cattle. When it became a National Park, they took the animals out but some of them got loose and became wild. Now, they have been living free for many generations in this area.

Length of hike: 4 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Zapata Campsite

Day 12: Zapata Summit

We start the day at 04.00 hrs. The ascension to Zapata Mountain will be by the east face, crossing the Los Hielos River. After this, we will pass through a native Lenga and coigue forest till we reach a line of rock that has been sculpted through time by tons of glacier ice that once were part of Tyndall Glacier. The maximum slope is about 60 degrees. From here on the scenery will be absolutely magnificent; amazing views of Pingo, Grey and Zapata Glaciers.

The Zapata summit is on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which is the third biggest ice cap on earth. Technical gear is not required for this challenge, however because this is one of the zones with higher wind records we may use ropes to assure the security and to unify the group.

Length of hike: 12 - 14 hours:

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner 

Accommodation: Zapata Campsite 

Plan B (Bad weather we visit Zapata Glacier)

Length of hike: 7 - 8 hours

Day walk to the vantage point of Zapata Glacier. This exursion is an approach to South Zapata Lobe - Tyndal Glacier, one of the largest glaciers of the South Patagonian Ice Fields. Today this section of glacier retreat has accelerated due to strong climate changes, this interesting trekking to the foot of the ice proved a fascinating adventure to help us further understand the changes affecting our planet and field verify the imminent decline of Glaciers. There are a couple of viewpoints; if the weather is favorable we will see the vastness of the Tyndall.

Day 13: Return to Puerto Natales

Trekking back to Grey Ranger ?s Office. From here we will have a private transportation to Puerto Natales (75 miles)

Length of hike: 5 hours

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner 

Overnight: Amerindia Hostel or similar (double Room)                  

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Price from USD $2,600 per person, based on a group of 4 people. For a group of 2 people the price is USD $3,080, and for a group of 6 it is $2,145.

Departures can be set up for a minimum of 2 people. Please get in touch for more details.


  • Meals as specified in itinerary
  • Accommodation as specified in itinerary
  • Guide


  • Personal Equipment
  • Tips

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