The Torres del Paine O Circuit and the W Trek are the two most famous, multi-day hiking routes within Torres del Paine National Park. Over four or five days of hiking, the W Trek offers spectacular views of the
• Valle Frances
• Torres del Paine Towers
• Glacier Grey
Which Are the Best Multi-Day Hikes in Torres Del Paine?
The W Hike is perfect for those travelers and less experienced hikers who are in good shape want an introduction to multi-day hiking, with shelter each night, whether that’s at a campsite, refugio, private accommodation or luxury lodge. Another plus is that the W Trek doesn’t require advanced physical skill – it’s popular because it’s accessible for all level of active traveler and quite quickly lands you in areas of incredible natural beauty. For the more experienced trekker, there are more challenging routes available, including the longer Big O Circuit.
- The O Circuit or O Trek takes approximately seven to nine days to complete. It add s a northern section of hiking on to the W Trek, including John Gardner Pass. The Full O Circuit is suitable for more experienced hikers, due to its longer distance and necessity for backcountry camping, but the remarkable views are well worth it. This route circumnavigates the entire Paine range without the crowds of the W Hike (at least in the northern part of the Park), providing more opportunities for off-the-beaten-path discoveries and solitude.
Are There Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Hikes in Torres del Paine?
For those hoping for peace and quiet, surrounded by Torres del Paine’s majestic landscapes, there are several hidden gems.
- Opt for the gentle Laguna Verde (Mirador del Toro) tundra trek, to the south of the W Trek’s main trails. The views of the Paine Massif are stunning, and wildlife abounds.
- Consider the Pingo Valley trek for jaw-dropping vistas of Paine Grande, the Olguin mountains and Zapata mountain. Not many hikers make their way to this off-the-beaten-path hiking region in Torres del Paine National Park, to the west of Lago Grey. In fact, you’ll likely see more Huemul deer than other people. Impressive waterfalls punctuate your hike through vast valley and lenga forest. Explore (with a guide) the Pingo and Zapata glaciers.
- A third less popular, but still abundantly beautiful, hike is the Mirador Ferrier trek, to the west of Torres del Paine National Park. You won’t find many other hikers on the trail and the payoff after a steep, two-hour climb is huge – a rarely seen perspective on the park, including the Paine Massif, Grey Glacier and just about all of the park’s shimmering blue lakes.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Torres del Paine?
The most ideal months to visit Torres del Paine National Park are November through February. However, to avoid crowds and ensure a bit more solitude on your hikes, consider visiting Torres del Paine in the shoulder seasons of October, March and April. If you don’t mind the cold, give some thought to a winter trek in June, July or August.
What Wildlife Will I See in Torres del Paine?
In between mesmerizing views of the towers and the blue lagoons, hikers in Torres del Paine will see an array of wildlife, including 26 species of mammal and more than 100 species of bird. Look for the guanaco, the puma, the South Andean Deer, the huge Andean Condor, grey fox, armadillo and more.
Why should I book with a local Agency?
A local Torres del Paine tour operator, most are based in Puerto Natales, can provide peace of mind, thanks to their experience and expertise in the region, as well as guides who have spent hours on the same trails you will hike. In addition, a local agency can provide porter service to assist on your trek and, should the need arise, are able to provide emergency assistance and first aid. Every year inexperienced hikers get lost or even lose their lives. Choosing a local travel company also supports the community you are visiting and promotes mindful travel practices.