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Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N)

Hike the original W Trek independently and experience the highlights of this unique region at your own pace. Trek to the best lookout points for stunning views of the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park, camping along the way, without the worry of having to plan the whole thing. Explore beautiful valleys and immense glaciers, with an opportunity to ice-hike and kayak.

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Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N)

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Trip type


Trip length

5 Days




Torres del Paine

Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N) - 5 - $1,478

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Trek to Las Torres (The Towers) lookout; Refugio Torres Central

Day 2: Trek to Los Cuernos (The Horns); Refugio Los Cuernos 

Day 3: Trek to the French Valley; Refugio Paine Grande 

Day 4: Trek to Glacier Grey; Refugio Grey

Day 5: Optional ice hike, kayak, hike or boat trip; Puerto Natales

Start from Puerto Natales and end at Puerto Natales

Landmarks visited on Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N)

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Trek to Las Torres (The Towers) lookout; Refugio Torres Central

At 6am a private transfer will take you from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park. The route passes grand estancias and flat pampas, where you'll spot ñandus (Patagonian ostrich), guanacos, and a variety of bird species.

After entering the national park at the Laguna Amarga area, you'll reach Torres Central. Here, you’ll leave your backpack 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 trek to the Towers lookout.

An initial ascent follows the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley. At a lookout point, about an hour into the trek, pause to take in the beauty of the valley's rich beech forests, glaciers and waterfalls.

After this point the path continues climbing through lush beech forests before ascending a gigantic terminal moraine (the ridge formed at a glacier’s end point). It's here, at an altitude of 900m, where you’ll be rewarded by the stunning sight of Las Torres. Stay a while to soak up the amazing views, take photos and have lunch.

You'll then retrace your steps back to Torres Central where you’ll have dinner and rest for the night.

Private transfer: 2½hrs

Shuttle transfer: 30mins

Length of hike: 8-9hrs, 20km

Eelvation gain: 1,042m

Difficulty: Medium/demanding

Meals: Picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping or room at Refugio Torres Central (meals in the refugio)

Day 2: Hike to Los Cuernos (The Horns); Refugio Los Cuernos

Enjoy breakfast at the refugio and request your packed lunch before setting out for the day.

You'll leave behind the crowds who are entering the park just to see Las Torres and will follow a route via Inge Lagoon – condors and other birds of prey may be circling the skies above you. The well-marked trail climbs 200m from the base of Mt Almirante Nieto (2,750m) and crosses the Bader River with the magnificent turquiose-hued lake a constant to your left until you reach your finishing point and accommodation for the night at Refugio Los Cuernos, or Domos Frances, depending on availability.

Settle in, enjoy a good meal among fellow travellers, and rest beneath the immense moraine.

Length of hike: 3½-4hrs, 13km

Elevation gain: 312m

Difficulty: Low/medium

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping or room at Refugio Los Cuernos (meals in the refugio)

Day 3: Trek to the French Valley; Refugio Paine Grande

A challenging trek to the heart of the Paine massif awaits you today. After breakfast, request your packed lunch at the refugio and take the meandering path that leads you to the French River, a 1-2hr hike, depending on whether you stayed at Refugio Los Cuernos or Domos Frances the night before. On entering the French Valley – a glacial moraine surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers – we’ll scramble over huge boulders and catch our first sight of the hanging glacier atop the valley.

From here you ascend for an hour through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the French Valley viewpoint (the 'Plateau'). Your reward is a stunning bird’s eye view of granite peaks and hanging glaciers. On one side is the French Glacier and Paine Grande (3050m); while on 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, Mt Catedral and Mt Fortaleza loom like turrets above the landscape. You'll have plenty of time to rest and have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies.

Your descent is via the same path until you reach the valley’s entrance, from where you’ll continue around the south-west side of Torres del Paine’s highest peak, Paine Grande. This final stretch passes through native firebush and evergreen beech forests to Refugio Paine Grande, by the shores of Lake Pehoe. You'll have dinner and rest here for the night.

Length of hike: 9-10hrs, 18.8km

Difficulty: Medium/demanding

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping or room at Refugio Paine Grande (meals in the refugio)

Day 4: Trek to Glacier Grey; Refugio Grey

Start early after breakfast, ascending 200m on the winding trail to Laguna Los Patos. It's here where we’ll see sections of the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, a geological phenomenon that still guards many unexplored peaks.

Continuing on to Glacier Grey’s lookout point, you pass forests and rivers, with possible sightings of the spectacled and flightless steamer ducks. Have lunch at the lookout point with the monumental Glacier Grey at your feet. You might catch sight of ice calving from its huge walls into the freezing waters below.

If you'd like to do a longer trek today, you can visit the old 'Los Guardas' campsite which has a fantastic view of Glacier Grey from higher ground.

Accommodation for the night is at Refugio Grey, on the shore of Lake Grey.

Length of hike: 3½-4hrs, 11km

Difficulty: Medium

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Camping or room at Refugio Grey (meals in the refugio)

Day 5: Optional ice hike, kayak, hike or boat trip; Puerto Natales

This morning is yours to enjoy at leisure! Options include a 5-hr ice hike on Grey Glacier, a 2½-hr kayak excursion in front of Glacier Grey or an additional hike (8km, about 3hrs return) to the hanging bridges for a magnificent view of Grey Glacier. Note that independent hikers without guides are only permitted to go to the second hanging bridge. You must book your optional excursion in advance so do get in touch to reserve.

You’ll later hike back along the same path from Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande to catch the last catamaran across Lake Pehoé at 5pm. Please check catamaran and walking times with refugio staff in the morning to ensure you arrive in time.

While walking, take in views of Paine Grande and the granite walls of Cordon Olguín. On the other side of Lake Pehoé, a private transfer will be waiting to drive you to Puerto Natales. Since you will be arriving in town at around 10pm we recommend spending the night there.

Instead of hiking from Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande, there is an option to take a catamaran from Refugio Grey to the southern end of the lake, from where a private transfer will take you to Puerto Natales. You must book this option in advance and it incurs an extra cost.

Length of hike: 3½-4hrs, 11km

Difficulty: Medium

Catamaran: 35min

Private transfer: 2½hrs

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

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What our customers think of Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N)

Self-guided W Trek (5D/4N) trips scored 4.4/5 from 63 reviews

The W-hike adventure was amazing and challenging in so many ways. For better or worse, the variable weather thoroughly beat us up, but that added to the memories. For joy of beauty, the first reveal of the mountains at Cuernos were spectacular.

Travelled: March 2023

Michael -

The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the riding on the Grey III and getting to experience the Glacier super close up. I also really enjoyed the day hike from Refugio Chileno to Domo Frances. Even though it was one of the longest hikes, it was the most scenic in my opinion. The landscape was just mesmerizing. I literally couldn't stop looking at the granite peaks to the right and the turquoise blue glacier lakes to my right :) I was able to see a few animals. Condor, Guanacos and I spotted a pair of Gray Foxes. We were blessed to meet some really cool people. I ran into a bunch of people ironically that were from San Francisco / The Bay Area. We met a couple of British Couples, a group of Norwegian friends travelling the world together and I met a REI Tour group that had previously visited MachuPichu. I personally documented my whole trip with my iPhone by taking a bunch of 4K videos and using my Nikon D750 DSLR to take a bunch of photos. I also took this opportunity to journal as much as I could everyday and I hope to release everything in a blog :) - Also want to add that thanks to my apple watch. I was able to constantly record my hikes and track the journey of my heart rate throughout the trip. I think it will add a really cool layer of visibility when I share it with my friends and family. The most magical moments for me were split between two scenarios. I was blessed to have to of my very close friends join me and share many of the experiences throughout this trek. They were also much more conditioned than me and at times hiked faster than me which provided me with times of solitude. Being able to experience both of these moments allowed me to truly enjoy the hike at my own pace.

Travelled: March 2021

Dipesh -

Patagonia was a great place to walk. Lots to see and do. Open landscapes, spectacular mountain ranges and glaciers. We met some interesting people. Some of which were on a similar journey to us, some were more 'local'. Everyone seemed friendly and interested in our lives too! We completed the 'W' trek quite comfortably. We enjoyed the cosy accommodation and comradery of other trekkers. Everyone had their own agenda and were happy to share their experiences.

Travelled: March 2021

Dave Watson -

The trip was great! We liked that we started on the Paine Grande end and got the hardest hike out of the way first. We were lucky to have great weather to enjoy the beautiful landscape, except for some winds and drizzle on our last day. We were surprised at how nice the refugios were and happily pleased with the food.

Travelled: March 2021

Victoria Sicking -

Arriving at the Torres. Seeing that in person was so different than what one would imagine in photos. And, it felt like a personal accomplishment to have gotten there on such a challenging hike.

Travelled: April 2022

Barbara -

The highlight of the trip has to be kayaking next to the magnificent Glacier Grey with giant icebergs floating by. I’ve never experienced anything like that before and the 2 hour flew by as we took in the most incredible views. The staff were very professional and made everyone feel at ease.

Travelled: February 2020

Emma -

The trip was an adventure and to see such beautiful scenery was breathtaking. The people of Patagonia were extremely friendly and helpful and without question getting up close and personal with a Glacier was a truly memorable moment. The shear scale of nature in the raw is a beautiful thing to see

Travelled: March 2021

David Cook -

Great trip walking the w route with warm and comfortable refuges. Two long days walking but we were lucky with the weather and the other 2 days gave us longer to rest!

Travelled: March 2021

Clare Hodgson -

Making new friends and hanging out with them at the paine refugio

Travelled: January 2022

Raizel -

Hiking through all the different beautiful landscapes was amazing. After hiking up each different hill, you would come to a diffeeent area with a valley and landscape that was unwise that area. There is such a stunning variety in color of all the lakes, and the trail ranges from dirt to rock and suspension bridges. The W trek was a perfect balance of adventure and beauty. We saw multiple condors flying around the towers and a Fox trotting in one of our campsites. We got super lucky with out weather and would definitely recommend going in March like we did. We only had about an hour of rain the entire hike, and the wind wasn’t strong except during the first day. Otherwise the temperature was between 40-60f and was very comfortable!

Travelled: March 2021

Kristen Nevi -

My highlight was the trek on day one, to Grey Lake. I think this is because it was the first day, so everything was very 'Wow'. Landscapes amazing, wildlife good - saw some birds and little lizards. The people I met were great, very friendly, energetic and happy. I will tell my family and friends to go. I was surprised the weather was so good - only one morning with a bit of rain and snow. I think a 'magical moment' was kayaking on Grey Lake and getting up close to icebergs and the glacier.

Travelled: March 2021

Jessie -

When we got engaged just under Mirador Britanica! We also absolutely loved the mountain passes, lakes and river crossings on La Horquetas. It was a beautiful obstacle course!

Travelled: January 2023

Laura -

The highlight was the amazing landscape and how it changed every day. The refugios were more comfortable than expected (didn't expect a bar!) and the staff were friendly. We were pleasantly surprised to get a pisco sour on the boat back across lake grey complete with glacier ice cubes. Personally my most magical moment was getting engaged at the base of the towers, somewhere I've wanted to go for as long as I can remember!!! Thank you for making it happen!

Travelled: March 2021

Sarah Ravenscroft -

I think my most memorable moment was when I crossed the second suspension bridge and made it to the lookout of the glacier and Lago Grey. It was absolutely breathtaking and I can replay the first time I saw that view almost perfectly in my head.

Travelled: March 2020

Kate -

Hiking into the French valley

Travelled: December 2021

Ben -

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!

Travelled: March 2021

Julie Emery -

The moment I finally reached Las Torres

Travelled: January 2020

Alvin -

Every 5 minutes we had a completely different view. You could have a cloud a gale force winds hitting a mountain top from one side, but clear blue skies on the other. The people we met who had also booked through Dittmar made the trip particularly brilliant.

Travelled: March 2021

Rory Dormer -

We had a wonderful time hiking, sightseeing, and eating in Patagonia. Our old bodies hiked like we were 30 years old. We especially loved hiking the W. It was so beautiful, with dramatic mountains of towers and glaciers, and hillsides in prime flower blooming season. We met lots of other travelers and shared stories, and ibuprofen for our sore muscles, at the dinner table. The biggest surprise for us was actually the relaxing bus trip from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. The buses are extremely comfortable and you get to view the vastness of Patagonia and spot a lot of guanacos and rheas along the way.

Travelled: March 2021

Mary Lou Fairweather -

The impressive glaciers Stunning mountains Cuernos, and Cerro and plenty of wildlife and birds. Also as it was spring colourful flowers. People all very friendly, and helpful. Have already told friends and family what s great place it is to visit. It was all magical especially in the quiet first thing in the morning

Travelled: March 2021

Alex -


Self-Guided W Trek

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

2023/24 season prices, based on two people sharing.

Camping - USD $1,478 per person


Refugios - USD $1,728 per person


Please contact us to discuss your preferred dates.

Start date Price (pp)
December 2023
16-Dec-2023 $1,478* Limited Availability Enquire
25-Dec-2023 $1,478 Limited Availability Enquire

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $1,478

Additional Notes

Pre-trip briefing – You'll receive a briefing at our partner's local office in Puerto Natales the day before your trip.

Camping – Camping will be fully supported (including a two-person tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag) and all meals will be included along the way. You'll need to carry your daypack with lunch (provided) and personal items for each night stop.

Refugios – Refugio accommodation is in dormitory rooms. Some refugios provide sleeping bags and pillows and others provide sheets, blankets and pillows.

Luggage storage – You may leave your luggage safely in storage with our local partners in Puerto Natales.

Optional excursionsAll of these excursions are subject to availability and must be booked and paid for in advance as they are not included in the trip price. Please contact us for more information.

  • Pre-trip guided-hike in the National Park. This adds one day to the start of your trip. Enjoy a warm-up trek with an English-speaking guide to learn more about a part of the park not on the W Trek. A packed lunch in included, along with full-board accommodation at Torres Central Refugio or campsite. Refugio - USD $463 per person; Camping - USD $409 per person.
  • Boat trip on Glacier Grey on Day 5. Take a catamaran from Refugio Grey to the southern end of the lake from where a private transfer will take you to Puerto Natales. This means you will not hike from Refugio Grey to Refugio Paine Grande, but there is an opportunity to hike to the Ferrier lookout (3hrs, 5.6km, 651m elevation gain) after the boat trip. USD $130 per person.
  • Kayak in front of Glacier Grey on Day 4 or 5 - USD $180 per person.
  • Ice hike on Glacier Grey on Day 4 or 5 - USD $240 per person.

Single supplement – There is a single supplement of USD $360 for solo travellers.


  • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 4 dinners
  • Accommodation: Four nights supported camping, or in refugios
  • Private transfer from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Private transfer from Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales
  • Shuttle between Laguna Amarga & Refugio Las Torres
  • Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Sleeping bag, sleeping liner, mat and pre-pitched tent for camping
  • Catamaran ticket to cross Lake Pehoé


  • Any additional nights
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Dinner on Day 5 in Puerto Natales
  • Drinks at refugios not included in the menu
  • Any of the optional excursions described in the 'Additional Notes' section above
  • Guide or porters
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

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