Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Epic Treks

Hike Chile’s W Trek, Self-Guided

Explore the wild Patagonian wilderness of Torres del Paine National Park at your own speed

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Trip Ref #9875

Adventures / Epic Treks

Hike Chile’s W Trek, Self-Guided

Explore the wild Patagonian wilderness of Torres del Paine National Park at your own speed

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Chile

ANNUAL LEAVE

4 days off work

SEASON

Nov-Apr

GROUP SIZE

Up to 8 people

MEETING POINT

Presidente Carlos Ibáñez International Airport, Punta Arenas

ACCOMMODATION

Mountain hut

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

You'll be out in the wild for 5 days so previous trekking experience and an understanding of the risks involved are required.

Experience one of the most famous hiking routes in South America - the legendary W Trek, on this self-guided adventure

Trek to the base of the awe-inspiring granite towers that give the Torres del Paine National Park its name

Visit ancient glaciers and hike through deep valleys dotted with grazing guanacos as condors soar on the thermals high above you

Included

Accommodation

4 nights dorm accommodation in Refugios within the National Park

Meals

4 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners

Transfers

Local transport to and from Puerto Natales and a boat trip on Lago Grey

Permits

Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Some meals as described

Some equipment

Tips for your guides

The Area

Logistics

Starts

Puerto Natales

18:00

Ends

Puerto Natales

Flexible

Transfers

You'll need to stay in Puerto Natales the night before the start (not included in the trip cost) where there is a wide range of accommodation options, from hostels to 5* hotels. On day one, you'll head to the local host's office in the centre of town for a pre-trip briefing and to collect your reservations (you will be sent the address as part of your pre-trip info pack). On day 5 you'll be returned to Puerto Natales and should again plan to stay in the town as you may not get back in time to catch a flight or bus that day.

Travel options

The best way to get Puerto Natales (depending on your other plans) is by plane from Santiago to Punta Arenas (buses run regularly from the airport to the town and take around 3hrs) or from Buenos Aires to El Calafate (where two buses a day run to Puerto Natales and take 5-6hrs with border crossing). Your host can arrange transport as an optional extra, please enquire when booking.

What about all the carbon?

We mitigate 4x the carbon generated by all our customer flights annually through our partnership with Cool Earth.

What is the food like?

Refugios serve a small selection of hearty meals that are perfect for the end of a long day's trekking and usually have a shop selling soft and alcoholic drinks and snacks. They can usually cater for most dietary requirements. As a rough idea, you can expect for breakfast corn tortilla, granola, tea, coffee, chocolate milk, bacon, eggs, yoghurt, jam and bread. A packed lunch can be purchased containing some combination of chocolate, dried fruit and nuts, a cereal bar, fruit and a sandwich. Dinner meanwhile will be something along the lines of chicken, vegetables and rice (or a vegetarian alternative), salad and cake.

What is the accommodation like?

Torres del Paine National Park

You'll stay in Refugios – traditional hiking hostels in spectacular, back-to-nature locations, perfect for getting an authentic experience of the Patagonian wilderness. Accommodation is simple, clean, warm and cosy, with dorm rooms and shared bathrooms.

Day 1

The famous Towers

Hiking

6.5hrs · 15.5km

Wake up early and board the bus to Torres del Paine National Park, where you'll check in with the park authorities and set off on foot into the wilderness. Hike up Almirante Nieto to get your first taste of Patagonia, including views of Lake Nordenskjold and the Asencio Valley. Continue to Refugio Chileno, your home for tonight, where you can leave your backpack and take a short hike through the dense Lenga forest. Emerge back into the open at a glacial moraine with the granite peaks known as the Torres, or Towers, ahead of you. Stop at the turquoise lagoon at the base of the towers for a rest before returning to Refugio Chileno for a hot meal and a good night’s sleep.

Day 2

Lake Nordenskjold

Hiking

4.5hrs · 11km

Follow the edge of the Paine Massif, with the milky waters of Lake Nordenskjold to your left and the jagged peaks of Los Cuernos to your right. Cross several rivers on foot, hopping from rock to rock as you wind your way down through the mountains, surrounded by herds of grazing guanacos as they keep a wary eye out for predators. Arrive at Refugio Cuernos, tonight’s destination, set before a dramatic backdrop of rocky peaks.

Day 3

Explore the French Valley

Hiking

7hrs · 17.3km

Hike across a lakeside beach and into a deep and sheltered valley. Leave your rucksack at Campamento Italiano and continue into the wild landscape of the French Valley for some epic views of Lake Nordenskjold, Lake Skottsberg, Lake Pehoe and the hanging French Glacier itself. After you’ve had your fill, retrace your steps, collect your rucksack and hike to Refugio Paine Grande, set on the shores of Lake Pehoe where you'll stay tonight.

Day 4

Glacier Grey

Hiking

4hrs · 11km

Set off into the forest that borders Lake Grey - this section is quite exposed so be sure to wrap up warm against the wind that comes off the Southern Ice Field. After around two hours of hiking, get your first look at the 6km-wide Glacier Grey, one of the most iconic sights in Torres del Paine. Continue on to tonight’s destination, Refugio and Camping Grey, where a hot drink will be waiting. If you’re feeling energetic, hike out for a closer look at the glacier and cross one of the park’s famous suspension bridges, returning in time for dinner. Optional excursions are available from Refugio Grey including kayaking on Lake Grey, or ice hiking on the glacier. Please contact your host in advance if you’d like to include one of these on your trip at an additional cost.

Day 5

The face of the glacier and home

Enjoy your final views of Torres del Paine, or add an optional excursion, and then head to the lakeshore and board the Grey III, for a trip right up to the face of the glacier. Dock at the far side of the lake and relax with a hot drink in the café at Hotel Lago Grey, before driving back to Puerto Natales, where your Patagonian adventure will come to an end.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Runner's Need, and Cycle Surgery.

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bag

What do I need to bring?

  • Windproof and waterproof jacket - Gore Tex or similar
  • Fleece or pile coat
  • Quick-dry long sleeve t-shirt
  • Quick-dry short sleeve t-shirt
  • Winter hat
  • Light gloves
  • Quick-dry hiking socks
  • Quick-dry, lightweight long underwear bottoms
  • Quick-dry/breathable windproof pants
  • Waterproof rain pants
  • Quick-dry/breathable shorts
  • Light trekking boots (broken in)
  • Pyjamas or something to sleep in
  • Sleeping bag (-5°C for November – March trips; -15°C for April – October trips)
  • Toiletries
  • Water bottle (1.000cc)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and chapstick with sunscreen
  • Sports watch
  • Insect repellent
  • Trekking poles
  • Backpack (big enough for all your personal things, remember you will be carrying it all)
  • Shower shoes/flip flops
  • Earplugs
  • Head lamp/flashlight
  • Camera

While the trekking is not technically difficult, you are out in the wild for 5 days covering good distances each day with some steep sections. As you are not with a guide, you should also have previous trekking experience and an understanding of the risks involved.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Patagonian weather is notoriously changeable and you can often experience all four seasons in one day. Even in summer the wind can be cold and rain is not unexpected, so be prepared for hot sun as well as the cold. Layers are the best way to ensure that you're comfortable while hiking.

You can leave any items that you don't need at your local guides office before you set off.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

For current advice about travelling in Chile, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.

"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

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25% deposit to secure your spot

Spread the cost with as many payments as you need.

Flexible Date Changes

Change your trip date up to 60 days before departure.

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