Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Hike between the highlights of Torres del Paine, seeing the Torres peaks and the majestic waters of Lake Nordenskjold, Skottberg, and Pehoe
- Trek along the open Southern Ice Field, reaching Glacier Grey where you have the option to ice hike on the Glacier or kayak on Lake Grey
- Upgrade your first 2 nights to stay in a comfortable hotel and a private cabin
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on full days
- Stay in friendly, traditional refugios as you journey through the region
Landmarks visited on Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N)
Day 1: Arrive in Torres del Paine, round-trip hike to the Towers Lookout
By 6.45 am you must be at the Bus Terminal in Puerto Natales where you will board the 7 am public bus which will take you straight to Torres del Paine National Park. The route passes grand estancias (ranches) and flat pampas, with many possibilities of spotting ñandus (Patagonian ostrich), guanacos, and a variety of bird species.
At Laguna Amarga, the main entrance to the Park, you will collect your park entrance which is included in your program, then board a shuttle bound for your Refugio (Las Torres Sector). Here, you’ll leave your backpack at your accommodation and take your packed lunch (provided during your trek briefing in Puerto Natales held the day prior). Now you're ready to begin the W Trek’s first highlight: the hike to the Towers lookout.
A challenging trek - you’ll ascend following the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley. Here, take a moment to stop and observe the first glimpses of this gorgeous valley, complete with beech forests, glaciers and waterfalls. Continue uphill before beginning your ascent of the gigantic terminal moraine, 900 meters above sea level. At the top, you’ll be rewarded by the remarkable sight of the three Towers themselves. Rest a while, take photos and have lunch.
Once ready, your descent is along the same path, taking you back to Las Torres where dinner will be served in your refugio* and where you will rest your first evening.
*Upgrade to a private room in Hotel Las Torres (subject to availability) - please ask for more information.
Public bus: 2 hours
Shuttle transfer: 30 mins
Length of hike: 8-10 hours, 22 km
Meals: Lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Las Torres or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)
Day 2: Hike to Los Cuernos Lookout through condor territory
Enjoy breakfast at your Refugio and request your packed lunch before setting out for the day.
Starting today’s trek, you’ll arrive at Inge Lagoon where chances are you’ll catch condors and other birds of prey circling the skies above you. The well-marked trail ascends 200 meters from the base of Almirante Nieto Mountain (2750 m) and crosses the Bader River to today’s destination - Refugio Los Cuernos* or Domes Frances (depending on availability).
Here, settle in, enjoy a good meal among fellow travelers, and rest beneath the immense moraine.
*Upgrade to a private cabin Los Cuernos (subject to availability) - please ask for more information.
Length of hike: 4-5 hours, 13 km
Melas: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Los Cuernos , Domos Frances or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)
Day 3: Trek into the dramatic French Valley and arrive at Pehoe Lake
Today’s hike is a challenging trek to heart of the Paine massif. The French Valley is a spectacular natural basin surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers.
After breakfast, request your packed lunch at the refugio and set off on a 2-hour hike through a winding path to the French River (one hour if your accommodation was at the French Domes). At the entrance to the French Valley - a glacial moraine - you’ll scramble over huge boulders and catch the first sight of the hanging glacier atop the valley.
From this point, you’ll ascend for an hour through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the French Valley viewpoint (the “Plateau”). Your reward is a heart-stirring bird’s eye view of granite peaks and hanging glaciers. To one side, the French Glacier and Paine Grande (3050 m); while to the other, La Espada, La Hoja, La Máscara and the main and north “horns” of Los Cuernos arch upwards. In the upper section of the Valley, Cerro Catedral and Cerro Fortaleza loom like turrets above the landscape.
Take your time to have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies. If time and energy levels allow, you can continue hiking for an additional hour through the Valley to the British Camp for yet another spectacular cirque (amphitheatre-like formation) of mountains.
You’ll descend via the same path until you reach the valley’s entrance, at which point you’ll continue around the south-west side of Paine Grande, Torres del Paine’s highest peak. This final leg passes through native firebush and evergreen beech forests to the shores of Pehoe Lake. Dinner will be served at Refugio Paine Grande where you will spend your third evening.
Length of hike: 8-9 hours, 18 km
Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)
Day 4: One-way hike to Glacier Grey with optional Kayak
Set out early after breakfast, ascending 200 metres through the narrow winding path to Laguna Los Patos. Here, you’ll see sections of the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, a geological phenomenon that still hides many unclimbed mountains.
From here you’ll continue to Grey Glacier’s lookout point, passing forests and rivers, with possible sightings of the spectacled and flightless steamer ducks that call them home. Pass by your Refugio beforehand, so you can drop off your backpack and head to the lookout to eat your packed lunches with the mammoth Grey Glacier at your feet.
In the afternoon you will have the option to take part in a 2.5-hour kayak excursion on Grey Lake (USD $100 per person, advance booking required).
Dinner will be served at the Refugio followed by an evening of rest in this spectacular area.
Length of hike: 4 hours, 11 km
Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Grey or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)
Day 5: Optional Ice Hike, Kayak or Trek, hike to Paine Grande and return to Puerto Natales
This morning is yours to enjoy at leisure! Options include a 5-hour ice trek on Grey Glacier (USD$ 160 per person), 2.5 hour kayak excursion in Grey Lake (USD$ 100 per person) or an additional hike (8 km, about 3 hours return) to the hanging bridges for a magnificent view of Grey Glacier (independent hikers without guides are only permitted to go to the second hanging bridge). Please note that you must book your optional excursion in advance so do get in touch to book.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll later walk back along the same path to Paine Grande to catch the last catamaran across Pehoe Lake (check catamaran and walking times with Refugio staff in the morning to ensure you arrive in time).
While hiking, take in views of Paine Grande and the powerful, almost muscular granite walls of Cordon Olguín. At the other side of Pehoe Lake, a public bus will be waiting to drive you to Puerto Natales. Since you will be arriving in town around 22:00 we recommend spending the night in Puerto Natales.
Length of hike: 4 hours, 11 km
Catamaran: 35 mins
Public bus: 3 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch
What our customers think
The landscapes of Patagonia are literally other-worldly. When we left the park, my nephew said it was like leaving Jurassic Park- it was so unreal. We saw grey foxes, condors, guanacos, and hawks (not to mention many other birds). The weather is as INTENSE as the beauty...every minute, it changed. The trail, though well-traveled, is not for the faint of heart. As times it was difficult. But never once did we regret the strain or aches. The people we met along the way were diverse and friendly. If we said "hola" one time a day, we said it fifty. it was truly a spirit-lifting trip!
Julie Emery United States Of America January 2017
Everything was perfectly organised and we were constantly impressed with how easy everything was, from transport to food. It meant all we had to think about was the hike (and the wine afterwards!)
Rory Dormer United Kingdom January 2019
After trekking Torres del Paine, I feel like most of the time you won't need a guide, as everything is well-prepared and scheduled for the self-guided tour. You will also meet other people on the way that are doing the same trek, so you won't be alone.
Ivo Correia United States Of America December 2019
Swoop were incredibly responsive, with thoughtful and generous advice, honest feedback...we were thoroughly impressed and happy with the service provided.
Ariel January 2016
Highlight was the Valle de Frances in the snow and the suspension bridges with the view of Glacier Grey. We met amazing people from all over.
Michael Grant Mexico April 2019
It was wonderful. I think we were a little unfit for it to be honest - but the sense of achievement when we got back to Puerto Natales was amazing. We both really enjoyed it.
Bryony December 2015
My favourite part was Las Torres. It was really fun to meet people from all over the world at the Refugios. The food was delicious.
Mary February 2017
Landscape was incredible. Feeling of accomplishment I felt every night and being able to sit down at dinner with people of all ages from around the world and drink a toast to the days accomplishment was amazing.
Sherry Wilson Canada February 2018
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Please contact us so we can check availability for you (spaces are not guaranteed).
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
- Accommodation: 4 nights in mountain Refugio dormitories or camping, with shared facilities
- All public transportation indicated in schedule
- Shuttle between Laguna Amarga & Refugio Las Torres
- Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park
- Bedding, Fresh Linens, & Pillow for Refugio Accommodations / Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Liner, & Tent for Camping Accommodations
- Catamaran to cross the Pehoe Lake
- Any additional nights
- Kayak or Ice Hike excursion at Grey
- Any personal expenses
- Dinner on day 5 in Puerto Natales
- Any alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic drinks at the Refugios except for the drinks included in the menu
- Guide or Porters
- Travel insurance
- Medical Expenses
- Personal equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details)
- International and domestic/in country flights
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses