The Original Torres del Paine W Trek

Hike the original W Trek and experience the highlights of this unique region. Trek to the best lookout points for stunning views of the Torres del Paine and explore the French Valley surrounded by hanging glaciers. Follow this with a boat trip across Lago Grey to the massive Glacier Grey where you can try ice hiking and kayaking. Hike the original W Trek and experience the highlights of this unique region. Trek to the best lookout points for stunning views of the Torres del Paine and explore the French Valley surrounded by hanging glaciers. Read more...
5 Days
$2,095

The Original Torres del Paine W Trek - 5 - $2,095

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) lookout; Refugio Los Cuernos 

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

    Day 4: Trek to Glacier Grey; optional kayaking; Refugio Grey

    Day 5: Boat trip to face of Glacier Grey; optional ice hiking

    Start from Puerto Natales and end at Puerto Natales

    Landmarks visited on The Original Torres del Paine W Trek

    Operator's Itinerary

    Due to COVID-19 refugios might not be offering shared dorm beds during the 2022-23 season. In this case we can book an entire dorm for a group, or pre-pitched tents with mattresses and sleeping bags. We'll help form groups with like-minded trekkers.


    Day 1: Trek to Las Torres lookout; Refugio Torres Central

    We leave Puerto Natales at 7am for the drive to Torres del Paine National Park, passing flat pampas and lagoons where you can see guanacos, Darwin's Rheas, Chilean flamingos and black-necked swans.

    After arriving at the Refugio Torres Central you’ll have time to relax before we begin our first hike of the trip, up to Las Torres lookout.

    An initial ascent follows the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley. At a lookout point, about an hour into the trek, we’ll 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 we’ll be rewarded by the stunning sight of Las Torres and stay a while to soak up the amazing views, take photos and have lunch.

    We'll then retrace our steps back to the Refugio where we’ll have dinner and rest for the evening.

    Private transfer: 2hrs 

    Length of hike: 8-10hrs, 22km

    Meals: Picnic lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Refugio Torres Central or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)


    Day 2: Trek to Los Cuernos lookout; Refugio Los Cuernos

    Today we'll hike to Los Cuernos lookout, where monumental horn-shaped black twin granite peaks shoot skyward. This route is the best on the trek for all-round panoramic views where you can take in not only the Andes mountains, glaciated valleys and stunning lakes, but also the wind-swept rolling hills of the steppe which stretches eastwards to the Atlantic.

    We'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 us. The well-marked trail climbs 200m from the base of Mt Almirante Nieto (2750m) and crosses the Bader River with the magnificent turquiose-hued lake a constant to our left until we reach our finishing point and accommodation for the night – Refugio Los Cuernos or Domos Frances.

    Length of hike: 4-5hrs, 13km

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Refugio Los Cuernos, Domos Frances or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)


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

    A challenging trek to the heart of the Paine massif awaits us today. After breakfast, a meandering path leads us to the French River, a 1-2 hour hike depending on whether we 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 we 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. We'll have plenty of time to rest and have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies.

    Our descent is via the same path until we reach the valley’s entrance, from where we’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. We'll have dinner and rest here for the night.

    Length of hike: 8-9hrs, 18km

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)


    Day 4: Trek to Glacier Grey; optional kayaking; Refugio Grey

    We’ll start early, ascending 200m on the winding trail to Lake Negra. 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, we pass forests and rivers, with possible sightings of the spectacled and flightless steamer ducks. Lunch is at the lookout point with the monumental Glacier Grey at our feet. We might catch sight of ice calving from its huge walls into the freezing waters below.

    There is a fantastic opportunity to go on a 2.5-hour kayaking excursion in the afternoon (advance booking required, please enquire for more information).

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

    Length of hike: 4hrs, 11km

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Refugio Grey or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)


    Day 5: Boat trip to face of Glacier Grey; optional ice hiking

    The final day starts with a free morning to relax and take in the landscape or go kayaking. There's also an excellent option to ice hike on Glacier Grey which would be great if you had already kayaked the day before (advance booking required for both activities, please enquire for more information).

    After lunch we’ll take a boat across Lake Grey to the massive facade of Glacier Grey. There will be plenty of time to study the wall’s textures, lines and colours and of course, watch for ice calving. The return journey passes blue icebergs and you’ll also see the wind-sculpted 'ice mushrooms' atop the massive peaks of Paine Grande.

    Once back on dry land, we’ll hike 20 minutes along Grey Beach to rendezvous with our private transfer. This takes us back to Puerto Natales where our journey ends.

    Boat trip: 2hrs

    Private transfer: 2hrs

    Length of hike: 20mins

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

    Customer review background image

    What our customers think of The Original Torres del Paine W Trek

    The Original Torres del Paine W Trek trips scored 4.7/5 from 59 reviews

    The trip was incredible! We lucked out on the weather. On our first day, the Towers were gorgeous and getting to visit the Britanico Valley was spectacular, despite being long, somewhat difficult days of hiking. The picturesque views on day two could not be beat, especially coming into Los Cuernos. We really loved the experience with our group, both the other people and our guide.

    Travelled: November 2018

    Lauren Harris - United States Of America

    This was definitely the highlight of our trip! I am so glad we did the W trek from site to site, as opposed to trying to do various hikes from other jumping off points. I liked the refugios and would definitely recommend doing it that way to others.

    Travelled: December 2017

    Alysha - Colorado, USA

    Many thanks for supervising a terrific and memorable trek. The highlight to me was the hike to the Towers and view there, though the entire 5 day trek was awesome.

    Travelled: November 2015

    Ted -

    Just do it!! The east-to-west route Swoop does for the W trek is preferable, you get the hard part of the hike done first and it's awesome to finish the trek with the boat ride along the glacier as the "reward".

    Travelled: December 2016

    Casey Schorr - United States Of America

    We love Torres del Paine! The hiking was spectacular. The continuous views are amazing. The whole time you are hiking, the views are incredible and ever changing. Our guide was great and throughout the hike, gave us the history, geology, wildlife, and plant descriptions of the area. The refugios were really nice compared to others we have seen.

    Travelled: February 2019

    Brian McIntyre - United States Of America

    Standing on the viewpoint looking out at the pristine landscape. No jet trails in the sky. No roads cut into the landscape. No buildings, power lines, or other visual impact from humans. Inspiring to see the land the way nature created it.

    Travelled: February 2022

    David Wit - USA

    The trek is brutal but motivational. Each day, you get to experience a different landscape: lakes, mountains, valleys, rivers, waterfalls, cliffs, multiple glaciers. However, the path is long, rocky, and never flat. The number one priority is having good shoes and socks.

    Travelled: March 2022

    James Ormond - USA

    Absolutely! It is breathtaking - and each day offers a new adventure. It is challenging, but approachable for most. The highlights were Cuernos, the glacier and the French Valley hike.

    Travelled: February 2022

    Leandra Branch - USA

    My highlight was all of the amazing nature and having such an informed guide that could share so much cool science with us. I learned SO much on the trail about the natural world, while I was looking at incredible and diverse scenery. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

    Travelled: December 2019

    Allison Doyle - United States Of America

    We saw a Puma resting under a tree not far from the trail within an hour of our first day of hiking. Such a thrill! Enjoying camaraderie with other hikers at the lodges after long days of peaceful solitude on the trails was bliss!

    Travelled: December 2019

    Rachel Roesler - United States Of America

    What was really impressive was what our guides could carry including the tents and so many treats for us like pesto sauce, real coffee and chocolate.

    Travelled: November 2021

    Sean Johnston - USA

    There were so many highlights but I found the hike on Day 3, through the French Valley to be out of this world.

    Travelled: November 2021

    Sean Johnston - USA

    So many moments of the trip were special and memorable, but one that stands out is getting to the first lookout in the French Valley and watching several avalanches send snow spilling down the glacier. The views were amazing despite mist and light rain. So worth the tough hike up.

    Travelled: March 2022

    Hayden Payne - USA

    Many highlights, but possibly the strange highlight of being woken in the French campsite by thunderous roars from the glacier in the French Valley before trekking to the viewpoint to watch the ice falling. Spectacular landscapes, lovely birds and flowers, excellent guide, accommodation very good and transport couldn't have been better.

    Travelled: November 2018

    Ronnie - United Kingdom

    While the W Trek can be accomplished unguided, we felt like we got great value with our guide. He was very familiar with the trail, the geology, and the flora and fauna. For example, on our windy and rainy day (can't have the true Patagonia experience without one of those) he had us stop for a break before cresting a hill because he said "we would be very exposed there and it is better to break now." Indeed, winds were crazy strong over the hill. He also had friends in every refugio, so knew the inside track on the fun stuff. For example: at Lago Grey, we had whisky on the rocks using glacier ice. How cool is that?!

    Travelled: February 2022

    Scott Nutter - USA

    The trip was amazing and every day topped the previous. Highly recommend.

    Travelled: December 2021

    Erik Soderstrom - USA

    Not only did the guides show us where to go on the trail, they organized our tables for meals in the Refugios, our packed lunches and planned our departure times.

    Travelled: March 2018

    Gabbie Whelan - Australia

    We had a marvelous time. The scenery on the W Trek was outstanding, our guide was fantastic, the food surpassed our expectations.

    Travelled: February 2022

    Scott Nutter - USA

    Our guides, Fernando and Pepa were absolutely fantastic. Highly professional, very friendly and looked after us exceptionally well. We were very happy that they organized for the group to be just our 7 people. It really allowed us unfettered access to talk to them and they were happy to talk about all things Chilean including the political situation. This was great for our learning about the country and the people.

    Travelled: November 2019

    Kay Juliff - Australia

    The highlight of the trip was definitely 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, it was the most scenic in my opinion. The landscape was just mesmerizing. I couldn't stop looking at the granite peaks to the right and the turquoise blue glacier lakes to my left.

    Travelled: December 2018

    Dipesh - United States Of America

    Our guide was awesome. Not only was he a great guide who taught us a ton about the fauna and flora in the region, but also told us so much about Chile and the people. He was so helpful and a really smart and fun guy!

    Travelled: March 2018

    Terri Ellis - Canada

    Guide was excellent he had an extensive knowledge of the park , its geology flora and fauna and was always helpful and encouraging accommodation was good , very clean and the food was good.

    Travelled: January 2019

    Ross Gutteridge - Australia

    Guide was amazing, knowledgeable, personable, funny and encouraging. Felt like a long time friend.

    Travelled: February 2022

    Eva McCarthy - USA

    I recommend booking the refugios because it is extremely worth it after you hike all day. The food was extremely delicious and lodging was excellent.

    Travelled: December 2018

    Dipesh - United States Of America

    My trip has really left me at a bit of a loss for words. While I tremendously enjoyed every piece of my trip (hiking, kayaking and then day hiking with an afternoon of horseback riding), I really loved hiking the W. I was traveling solo, but I enjoyed my time with our small group during the W trek. The Patagonian landscape was breathtaking - I've never been in a place quite so beautiful.

    Travelled: December 2016

    Anne Helen-Evans - United States Of America

    We were fortunate to be part of a very interesting and fun group. We all got along beautifully and intend to continue to stay in touch. We hiked in sun, rain, snow and strong winds at times that made the trip magical. Our guide was engaged, caring, knowledgeable, funny and took great care of all of us.

    Travelled: December 2018

    Dindy Pawlinger - United States Of America

    Swoop did a good job of staying in contact with me and quickly responding to my questions. I honestly can’t think of anything you should have done differently, you were great!

    Travelled: December 2015

    Leslie -

    Beyond my expectations. I could not get over all of the beauty on my trek. Everyday there was something new and amazing to discover.

    Travelled: December 2016

    Kristen Boscia - United States Of America

    The trip was incredible! We really lucked out on the weather. On our first day, the Towers were gorgeous and getting to visit the Britanico Valley was spectacular, despite being long, somewhat difficult days of hiking. The picturesque views on day two could not be beat, especially as coming into Los Cuernos. We really loved the experience with our group, both the other people and our guide.

    Travelled: November 2018

    Lauren Harris - United States Of America

    I had for many decades dreamt of travelling to Patagonia. Our five days hiking in Torres del Paine with our guide are five days that I will never forget.

    Travelled: October 2015

    Eric -

    The whole park was a memorable moment! So many to choose from, but I think the tent set up on the platforms in the trees at Refugio Chileno was my favorite memory. Sleeping out there was pretty awesome!

    Travelled: March 2020

    Rebecca Alegria - United States Of America

    We had a large group of 7 family members with varying hiking abilities and experience. Our two guides, Minerva and Katty, were so great with the group. They adapted their hiking style to meet our needs, helped encourage people and celebrated our achievements. More than that, they became our friends. Trekking is physically and mentally challenging at times. Our guides helped up meet the challenge and also gave us room to struggle a little, so we could grow. It was a life-changing trip for our family.

    Travelled: December 2021

    Ashley Williams - USA

    The trip was amazing. We highly recommend the W-Trek and adding the ice kayak / glacier hike adventure options!

    Travelled: December 2016

    Jordana Kozel - United States Of America

    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.

    Travelled: December 2018

    Mary Lou Fairweather - United States Of America

    Our guide was brilliant and added to the experience. He gauged the pace of the group well and offered to take photos at every viewpoint. We had perfect weather, but had it been worse, his charismatic chirps of encouragement and knowledge of when it is and isn't appropriate to take the extended French Valley detour would have been invaluable.

    Travelled: November 2018

    Howard Williams - United Kingdom

    Original W Trek

    Prices, Departures and Inclusions

    Camping

    4-8 people: USD $1,795 per person

    3 people: USD $1,895 per person

    2 people: USD $2,095 per person

    -

    Refugios

    4-8 people: USD $2,095 per person

    3 people: USD $2,195 per person

    2 people: USD $2,395 per person

    2022

    2023

    Start date Price (pp)
    November 2022
    3-Nov-2022 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    10-Nov-2022 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    17-Nov-2022 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    24-Nov-2022 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    December 2022
    1-Dec-2022 $2,095* Limited Availability Enquire
    8-Dec-2022 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    15-Dec-2022 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    22-Dec-2022 $2,095 Limited Availability Enquire
    29-Dec-2022 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    January 2023
    5-Jan-2023 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    12-Jan-2023 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    19-Jan-2023 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    26-Jan-2023 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    February 2023
    2-Feb-2023 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    9-Feb-2023 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    16-Feb-2023 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire
    23-Feb-2023 $2,095* Provisional Date Enquire
    March 2023
    2-Mar-2023 $2,095 Provisional Date Enquire

    * Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $2,095

    Additional Notes

    Group size – 8 maximum, 2 minimum

    Optional excursions – Kayaking, ice hiking

    Accommodation upgrade – Due to Covid-19 restrictions, refugios might not be offering shared dorms during the 2022-23 season so the cost of staying in dorm rooms can be costly for groups of fewer than four people. If a group of four is not achieved or you would like more privacy we would recommend that you upgrade to Hotel Las Torres and Cabins at Cuernos or stay in pre-pitched tents at the refugios. Please enquire about which accommodation is available for each departure and let us know whether you would prefer to camp or stay indoors. Camping is available for all departures. 

    Joining & departure instructions – Please arrive in Puerto Natales on the afternoon before for your trip starts for your group briefing. It is also recommended that you plan to stay in Puerto Natales when you finish your trek. If you would like help booking your pre/post-trek arrangements please just let us know.

    Christmas and New Year trips – Trips starting on the following dates will incur and extra fee: Dec 22nd and 29th. Please contact us for more information.

    Includes

    • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 4 dinners
    • Accommodation: Supported camping throughout, or refugio dormitory rooms if available
    • Sleeping bags and liners (when possible with sheets, blanket and pillow)
    • Torres del Paine entrance fee
    • All private transport included in the itinerary
    • Boat trip on Lago Grey
    • English and Spanish speaking guide

    Excludes

    • Meals not indicated in itinerary
    • Any extra/optional excursions
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal equipment (our recommended kit list)
    • Gratuities/tips
    • International and domestic/in-country flights
    • Drinks during lunch or dinner
    • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

    Questions about this Trip?