Hiking the W Trek in Patagonia

Seeing our interest building for Patagonia, we decided to take action and travel through Argentina and Chile to hike the best treks in the country. In this article I will describe our experience trekking the W Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park.

 

TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK

Torres Del Paine national park is a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and it is located around 95 miles (154 km) from Puerto Natales in Chile. Why we went to this national park? Because of its great mountains and the W TREK. Characterized by its “W” form, the W TREK is a well known trek in Chile  (see the red trail on the map below).

torres-paine W trek map_01

The W TREK it’s 56 miles (90 km) of trail, big ascents, big descent, and all that with your hiking bag on your back. You need minimum 3 full days and 2 nights to achieve this hike, and that’s what we did.

W TREK – DAY 1

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Heading to Glaciar Grey 

After a night in Puerto Natales, we got an early morning bus to the Torres Del Paine National Park (the bus duration was about 2 hours). We had a mandatory stop at the entrance of the park for identity and reservation checks.

!NOTICE!: Torres Del Paine National Park now requires reservation to spend the night in their campsites. If you don’t want to be refused at the entrance, plan your reservations in advance! We reserved our permits in December 2016 for February 2017.

After these checks, we took another bus (30 minutes) to a place to take a boat to cross the Lago Pehoné and then join El Refugio & Camp. Paine Grande. It is at this point you start the W trek (after a second “reservation check” at the Garderia Pehoné).

For this first day, we hiked 6.8 miles (11 km) to join our first camp “Camp. Grey” and watched the sunset in front of El Glaciar Grey.

W TREK – DAY 2

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Glaciar Francès View Point 

After a good night of rest, we left the camp early in the morning as a long ride was waiting for us. Unfortunately, the bad weather slowed us down. This day was a 11.5 miles (18,6 km) hiking to join the Camp. Italiano (the center of the “W”). We had to arrive at this camp before 6 PM because the path from the camp to Glaciar Francès view point would have been closed (no one is allowed to walk in the dark).

Luckily we are fast walkers, we managed to arrive on time and even set up our tent before going to the Glaciar Francès. This place was extraordinary! Mountains, glaciers, waterfalls that never touched the ground (on your right) and turquoise lake (on your left). An indescribable view.

W TREK – DAY 3

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Waiting for the sunset at Mirador Base Las Torres

Woke up at 5:30 AM, our biggest and hardest day was to come. This was a 15.5 miles (25 km) hiking day. It was hot, hard and we even lacked in water at some point. By chance we found a nice stone beach (out of nowhere!) and could refresh ourselves. Our objective was to arrive mid afternoon at the campsite Torres. Therefore we increased our speed, arrive at the camp, set up the tent and hiked directly to the Mirador Base Las Torres to watch the sunset.

It was 45 minutes to hike there and only uphill, full time! But I can assure you the hike was worth it as you can see on picture above.

W TREK – DAY 4

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Enjoying our last day at Torres Del Paine National Park

To watch the sunrise, we woke up at 5 AM and hiked back to the Mirador Las Torres . You never get bored of these towers!

To sum up our last day. We had to get down to the Hotel Las Torres to get a bus at 1 PM to go back to Puerto Natales.

We didn’t have a “real meal” for the past 4 days therefore we enjoyed a nice burger at the hotel before taking the bus. It was such a pleasure to eat other food than freeze dried food!

CONCLUSION

We wanted to start our Patagonian trip with this well known trek. Why? Because it is famous, we wanted to see the Glaciar Grey & Las Torres and it prepared ourselves to harder treks to come.

As a result of the popularity of Las Torres we were a little disappointed of the crowd during the trek especially the last day. Too many facilities (restaurants, bathrooms, hotels…) and people can easily come for only a day.

We hope the popularity of this place will not destroy it because the nature there is too beautiful.

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