The original Torres del Paine Circuit
- 9 day backpackers trek
The 'Q' - A circumnavigation of Torres del Paine
8 nights, 9 days
Level of difficulty: Demanding
9 nights, 10 days
Maximum 6 clients
Pack weight: Your pack + 4 kilos
Cost: $2500 USD - tent camping tour + Grey Lake Glacier tour
The 'Full Circuit' trekking tour:
This trek starts on the southernmost tip of Torres del Paine and travels north, bypassing the ‘W’ trek. It incorporates the ‘W’, but lets you trek in from the south, as well as adding five extra days to circumnavigate the northern side of the park. It is there you will experience the true beauty of peace and serenity in the park. With far fewer trekkers and no day-hikers around, you can have a genuine wilderness experience. Camping is a must at the more isolated stopovers. We head out as a self-sustained team, or with porters to help us complete this ten day adventure. Weather is always a factor. We cross water, tip-toe high cliffs, and ascend the steep John Gardner Pass. All this makes for a challenging and rewarding trek.
Day 0: Meeting day.
Briefing with the guide at our Expedition center at - 5pm. Gear check and itinerary review.
Day 1: Puerto Natales – Paine Grande Campsite/ Lodge
After breakfast your private transportation will take you to Torres del Paine National Park. On the way we stop at the spectacular Natural monument Milodon Cave. This location is the site of 3 natural caves where the remains of the very large Patagonian land sloth was found and has now been turned into a very important scientific and paleontological site, with a visitor Center. The museum here shows how the caves were formed thousands of years ago, and why this place is so important for the history of the region. We walk for 45 min through the main cave while the guide explains all the details of the caves and the area.
We then go for 1 hour driving to the southern entrance of the National park and make our way to Pudeto. Here we take a catamaran across Lake Pehoe to the Paine Grande Lodge/ Campsite - our first camp spot. With a beautiful view of the popular Cuernos mountains. In this area you can also experience some of the strongest wind in the park, blowing through the campsite. After having set up our tents we prepare ourselves for a half day hike up to the lookout of the Lake Grey and some previews of Glacier Grey and the southern Patagonian ice field.
Day 2: Paine Grande Campsite – Valle Francés – Francés Campsite
On this second day, we make our way to the beautiful Valle del Francés (French Valley). After 3 hours hiking to the Italian Campsite, we drop our big backpacks at the ranger station and we prepare our small daypacks to go up into the valley. The first section of the trail is steep and narrow. It takes one hour to arrive at the first viewpoint were you can enjoy the view of the hanging glacier coming down from the largest mountain in the park, the Paine Grande. From here it is another 1.5 hours hiking in the forest to get to the second viewpoint “Británico”. This forest hike is easier and very relaxing, getting to a boulder field and finally the last lookout. With good weather and enough time, we can enjoy the amazing 360° view of the valley and the surroundings. After the hike down, we pick up our backpacks again and finish the day with another 1.5-hour trek to our campground for the night at Campsite Francés.
Day 3: Campsite Francés – Campsite Central / Las Torres
After breakfast, we start hiking one of the most beautiful trails from the national park. We will cross pebble beaches, cover steep inclines and descent and have wide open views overlooking the big Lake Nördenskjold. Everything back-dropped by the impressive granite walls of the “Cuernos” and the “Almirante Nieto” mountain. Having arrived at our campground “Las Torres”, you will find yourself at the bottom of the Base Torres trek. From here we will already be able to see two of the three towers.
Day 4: Base Torres Lookout – Full day Hike
Today, we spend the day hiking up into the Ascencio Valley, towards the famous Torres del Paine. Leaving the big backpacks at the campsite, small daypacks make the hike feel much easier than expected. We will go through all the different categories of vegetation: the Patagonian Steppe, the Pre- Andean scrublands, the Magellan forest and the Andean desert. All of this, to get to one of the most majestic lookouts of the national park. The three towers standing in front of a glacial lake, is the highlight of the “W” trail. It is a long and hard day of trekking, but it will definitely be one of your favorite days in the while trip.
Day 5: Campsite Las Torres – Campsite Serón
Today we go into the backside of the mountain, what is known as the “Full circuit” trail. This area has a one-way trail, so there is less people around, giving the sensation of real wilderness. This day will bring us over forest hills, open grasslands and the view of the mountains that once were explored by the natives of the region. It is a 4-5 hour hike so there is enough time to go slow and enjoy the day. The next camping ground, “Campsite Serón” is in the complete openness of this enchanted valley, giving us the opportunity to see wildlife, especially birds.
Day 6: Campsite Serón – Campsite Dickson
We leave camp in the morning, walking over small hills and streams. The hike to Campsite Dickson is a long day with a challenging uphill known as the “Paso del viento” (pass of the wind). The view on “Paso del Viento” is unforgettable and literally breathtaking. We can see the mountains that are shared with Argentina on the southern Patagonian icefield.
From this mountain pass we descend into the wetlands, passing close to the River Paine until we arrive at Refugio/campsite Dickson. This is one of the most remote and beautiful camping areas in the National Park, with the view of lake Dickson, and the whole mountain range.
Day 7: Campsite Dickson – Campsite Los Perros
Today we hike through one of the oldest native forest of the national park. This forest is home of the Magellanic woodpecker - the largest woodpecker living in South America. Walking through this area of trees really gives a peaceful and relaxing example of Patagonian pristine nature. After 4 to 5 hours hiking, we find the view of Glacier Perros, one of the hanging glaciers in the mountain range Paine. We arrive at Camping los Perros, located in the middle of the forest, and next to the river.
Day 8: Campsite Los Perros – Campsite Grey
This is the day of the famous John Garner Pass trek. A mountain pass next to the Southern Patagonian Ice field. Weather changes often in this area and the Patagonian winds can make this an unforgettable day. Together with the breathtaking views of the mountains and Glacier Grey, we also get views of the outskirt of the Southern Patagonian Ice field. This is one of the most spectacular views in the park. Once over the pass we head to “Campsite Paso”. After a break to recover some energy, we start the second part of our day trekking next to Glacier Grey. We cross three beautiful hanging bridges while passing view after view of the glacier beside us. It will take us a full 9 hours getting to “Camping Grey” for our last night in the park.
Day 9: Glacier Grey Navigation – Puerto Natales
Today is the last day we are in the national park, leaving with an amazing boat trip, that goes through Lake Grey. After our breakfast we will board the 9.30am catamaran that will take us to the beach at the southern end of the lake Grey. This boat is a large catamaran that takes us to all three of the glacial walls that drop into the lake. It is the perfect way to end our 9-day trek. With a well deserved Pisco sour in your hand we look back on the John Garner pass while we navigate south. After we dock we will have our last march over a windy pebble beach before getting to the parking lot where our transport will be waiting for us. After 2 hours driving we will arrive to town around 4pm. This is the official end of the tour.
October 2022 - April 2023
Departing every 3rd, 15th and 24th - monthly
Contact us for more information.
• guide with satellite communication devices & park radio
• all meals in the field
• all transportation
• entrance, camping & park fees
• all logistics
• personal camping and trekking gear
(clothing, trekking poles, sleeping bag)
• alcoholic beverages
• lodging in town before and after the program
• travel insurance
• itinerary changes
• personal first aid kit
• single tent upgrade +100 USD