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W TREK INDEPENDENT (5 DAYS)

Explore the highlights of Torres Del Paine at your own pace!

Overview

The ideal adventure for independent hikers wanting to experience the W Trek without guides, set dates or pre-departure planning. You’ll visit Torres del Paine’s three main highlights: the grandiose Towers, stirring French Valley and bewitching Grey Glacier. We prepare everything: briefing you beforehand, booking all services and providing a secure place to store your luggage.

Trip Highlights

• Complete W Trek
• Independent hike
• Trek to the Towers base lookout
• See hanging glaciers in the French Valley
• Get close to Grey Glacier
• Optional ice hike or kayaking trip
• All logistics and reservations organized for you

Trip Map

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Torres del Paine, Trek to the Towers Lookout

2 hours by public bus

8-9 hours hiking roundtrip, 22km

Night at Refugio Las Torres (BL-D)

You’ll leave Puerto Natales at 7:00 am, taking a public bus straight to Torres del Paine National Park. The route passes estancias (ranches) and flat pampas, and possibly even ñandus (Patagonian ostrich). At Laguna Amarga, the main entrance to the Park, you will board a shuttle bound for your Refugio. Here, you’ll leave your backpack and take your packed lunch (provided during your trek briefing in Puerto Natales, held day before at 6 pm). You’re ready to begin the W Trek’s first highlight: the hike to the Towers lookout. You’ll ascend, following the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley, for about an hour. Here, take a moment to stop and observe the first glimpses of this gorgeous valley, complete with beech forests, glaciers and waterfalls. Continue uphill for another 90 minutes before beginning your ascent of the gigantic terminal moraine, 900 meters above sea level. At the top, you’ll be rewarded by the remarkable sight of the three Towers themselves. Rest a while, take photos and have lunch. Your descent is along the same path, taking you back to the Refugio where dinner will be served.

Day 2

Hike to Los Cuernos Lookout through Condor Territory

4-5 hours hiking, 13 km

Night at Refugio Los Cuernos or Domos Frances, subject to availability (B-BL-D)

Enjoy breakfast at your Refugio and request your packed lunch. Starting today’s trek, you’ll arrive at Inge lagoon where chances are you’ll catch condors and other birds of prey circling the skies above you. The well-marked trail ascends 200 meters from the base of Almirante Nieto Mountain (2750 m) and crosses the Bader River to today’s destination, Refugio Los Cuernos or Domes Frances (depending on availability). Here, enjoy a good meal and settle in for the night.

Day 3

Trek the dramatic French Valley, Hike to Pehoe Lake

8-9 hour hiking, 18 km

Night at Refugio Paine Grande (B-BL-D)

Today’s hike is a challenging trek to heart of the Paine massif. The French Valley is a spectacular natural basin surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers. After breakfast, request your packed lunch and set off on a 2-hour hike through a winding path to the French River (one hour if your accommodation was at the French Domes). At the entrance to the French Valley - a glacial moraine - you’ll scramble over huge boulders and catch the first sight of the hanging glacier atop the valley. From this point, you’ll ascend for an hour through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the French Valley viewpoint (the “Plateau”). Your reward is a heart-stirring bird’s eye view of granite peaks and hanging glaciers. To one side, the French Glacier and Paine Grande (3050 m); while to 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, Cerro Catedral and Cerro Fortaleza loom like turrets above the landscape. Take your time to have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies. If time and energy levels allow, you can continue hiking for an additional hour through the Valley to the British Camp for yet another spectacular cirque (amphitheater-like formation) of mountains. You’ll descend via the same path until you reach the valley’s entrance, at which point you’ll continue around the south-west side of Paine Grande, Torres del Paine’s highest peak. This final leg passes through native firebush and evergreen beech forests to the shores of Pehoe Lake. Dinner will be served at Refugio Paine Grande.

Day 4

Trek to Grey Glacier, optional Kayak or Ice Hike (book in advance)

4 hours hiking, 11 km

Night at Refugio Grey (B-BL-D)

Set out early after breakfast, ascending 200 meters through the narrow winding path to Laguna Los Patos. Here, you’ll see sections of the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, a geological phenomenon that still hides many unclimbed mountains. From here you’ll continue to Grey Glacier’s lookout point, passing forests and rivers, with possible sightings of the spectacled and flying steamer ducks that call them home. We’ll pass by our Refugio beforehand, so we can drop off our backpacks and head to the lookout to eat our packed lunches with the mammoth Grey Glacier at our feet. Dinner will be served at the Refugio.

Day 5

Ice Hike, Kayak (book in advance) or Trek - Transfer to Puerto Natales

4 hours hiking, 11 km

35 minutes by Catamaran

3 hours by public bus (B-BL)

This morning is yours to enjoy at leisure. Options include an ice trek on Grey Glacier (USD$ 175 per person), kayaking in Grey Lake (USD$ 117 per person) or an additional hike (8 km, about 3 hours return) to the hanging bridges for a magnificent view of Grey Glacier*. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll later walk back along the same path to Paine Grande to catch the last catamaran across Pehoe Lake (check catamaran and walking times with Refugio staff in the morning to ensure you arrive in time). While hiking, take in views of Paine Grande and the powerful, almost muscular granite walls of Cordon Olguín. At the other side of Pehoe Lake, a public bus will be waiting to drive you to Puerto Natales. Because you will arrive in town around 10:00 pm you should consider spending the night in Puerto Natales.

*Hikers without guides are not permitted to go farther than the second bridge.

INCLUDED

  • All the public transportation indicated in the schedule
  • Shuttle in between Laguna Amarga and Refugio Las Torres
  • Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Four nights accommodation in mountain lodges (Refugios)
  • Sleeping bags and liners (where possible we include a bed with sheets, blankets and a pillow)
  • Catamaran to cross the Pehoe Lake
  • All meals indicated in the schedule (B: breakfast, BL: picnic lunch, D: dinner)

NOT INCLUDED

  • Any additional nights
  • Kayak or Ice Hike at Grey
  • Medical expenses
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Personal expenses
  • Dinner on day 5
  • Any alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks at the Refugios except for the drinks include in the menu
  • Guide

Lodgings

Hotel Las Torres

Ideally located at the base of the trails leading to the viewing point of the Towers peaks, Valle del Silencio, and “W” hikes, this former estancia turned Hotel, offers 57 comfortable rooms with central heating and telephone and a the only full service spa available in the park. The excellent quality of both service and food is the main characteristic of this Hotel.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Torres Central & North

The Mountain lodges of Torres Central and North are two comfortable refugios located at the base of the hike to the Towers lookout and part of the “W” and “Circuit” walks. They are within walking distance to the Hotel Spa at Las Torres for a variety of services including massage and saunas. There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) with shared bathrooms and hot water.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Los Cuernos

On the shore of lake Nordenskjöld nestled in a Coihue Forest lays Refugio Los Cuernos with 32 beds. This cozy lodge is located on the “W” circuit walking between the French Valley and the Torres del Paine lookout and base camp area. There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) and have a shared bathrooms with hot water.

Domo Frances

Located 1 hour trekking from Los Cuernos sector to the West (between Cuernos and Italiano camping sites), with an amazing view of Nordenskjöld lake, Cuernos del Paine and Paine Grande Mountain.
3 Domes with private bathroom for 8 people each (shared bathroom and dome). Accommodation: Bed with Sleeping Bag Included in bunk beds.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Paine Grande

Paine Grande is a large and modern refugio set on the banks of the Lake Pehoe, including internet connection and full service bar. It’s the jump off point for the catamaran crossing Lake Pehoe and the walks to the French and Grey Valleys part of the “W” and “Circuit” hikes.
There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) and have shared bathrooms with hot water.

Mountain Lodge (Refugio) Grey

Ideally situated on the edge of Lake Grey, this refugio is in a forest of Lenga trees. A small and cozy hut, with a privileged access to the Grey Glacier and is part of the “W” and “Circuit” hikes.
There are 6 beds to each room (bunk-bed style) and have shared bathrooms with hot water.

Dates & Prices

PRICES FOR SEASON 2020/2021: (valid until April 2021)

USD$ per person


OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES/SERVICES: (must be booked in advance)

If you want to avoid carrying too much weight you can pay for a private porter. These porters carry a maximum of 15 kilos in a dry bag provided by Chile Nativo, a service which is usually good to share between 2 – 3 people and must be booked for 4 days (Day 2 to 5) Porter price for 4 days: USD$600

Day 1: Private transfer to Torres del Paine USD$220 p.p (1 guest); USD$110 p.p (2 guests)
Upgrade Hotel Las Torres: USD 330 p.p (single occupancy); USD$130 p.p (double occupancy)

Day 2: Upgrade Cabin: USD$255 (single occupancy); USD$160 (double occupancy): private cabin at a walking distance from the main Refugio, sharing bathrooms only in between the cabins.

Day 4 or 5: Ice Trek USD$180 per person **

Day 4 or 5: Kayak USD$115 per person **

Day 5: Grey navigation + private transfer back to Puerto Natales USD$260 p.p. (1 guest) USD$160 p.p. (2 guests)

Contact our Trip Specialists for our shorter (4 days) or longer (6 days) versions of this program

Public bus from/to Punta Arenas USD$ 15

** New season prices to be confirmed

  • Dates
  • Start / End
  • Price in USD
  • Spaces Available

FAQ's

Q: Where do I keep my luggage that I won´t need during my trek while I am hiking in the park?
A: The majority of the hotels and hostels will store luggage for their guests who are staying with them prior to and after their travels in the park. If not, we will happily store your luggage securely in our office until you arrive back from your trek and will deliver this to your hotel where you will be staying in Puerto Natales. We ask that you come to our Office between the hours of 09:00 – 13:00 or 15:00 – 19:00 to drop these off if you are not able to make it to the briefing the day prior to your trip.

Q: If I´m reserved in the campsites, do I need to travel with my own sleeping bag and tent?
A: In the case that campsites are the only available accommodation for you during 1 or more nights of your W Trek, your tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat are all included in your reservation. These will be setup upon your arrival to each refugio and there is no need to bring your own camping gear along your trek!

Q: If I´m doing this on my own, how do I get my park & reservation passes?
A: Don´t worry – we´ve got you covered. During your program briefing in our office the day prior to your trek, we will provide you with your detailed program itinerary, all your transfer & reservation vouchers, park entrance passes, and your box lunch for your first day. In the case that you arrive late to Puerto Natales and are not able to make the briefing, we will deliver all your program details in a sealed envelope at the front reception of your hotel or accommodation where you will be staying at in Puerto Natales.

Q: Can I upgrade to a private accommodation each night along the W Trek?
A: You may upgrade to a private accommodation in Hotel Las Torres on night 1 for an additional charge. You may also upgrade to a private cabin in Los Cuernos on the second night of the W Trek for an additional per person charge. Both upgrades are based on availability at the time of your request. The last 2 nights of the W Trek will be spent in shared refugio accommodations or a 2-person tent in the campsite.

Q: Is there water available along the trails?
A: Yes! Each day you will have the opportunity to fill up your reusable water bottle prior to departing the refugios. The first day you will have the opportunity to fill your water bottle at Refugio Chileno in route to the base of the towers. On day 2, be sure to fill up your water bottle prior to leaving for Los Cuernos as there are no other refugios along the way. On the third day´s hike of the French Valley, be sure to have plenty of water ready for your trek of the French Valley and can also re-fill at Frances in route along the way. Day 4 you can fill up at Refugio Paine Grande before setting out for your short trek to Refugio Grey. Only drink from natural water sources that you know are safe.

Q: What time will I finish my trek on the last day and arrive back to Puerto Natales?
A: After hiking back to Refugio Paine Grande from Refugio Grey on the last day of your program, you will take the 35 minute catamaran across Lake Pehoe to Pudeto where you will then connect on the public bus which will bring you back to Puerto Natales (bus terminal). Trekkers who take the last catamaran and bus from the park will arrive back to Puerto Natales around 22:00hrs. If you wish to upgrade to the Grey Glacier Navigation which leaves directly from Refugio Grey, you may reserve this in advance. Upon completing the Grey III Navigation – a highlight experience in Torres Del Paine – a private transfer awaits you to bring you back to Puerto Natales, arriving around 18:00hrs.

Q: Can I do the route in reverse – from West to East?
A: Absolutely! We are able to organize the west to east route for you if you wish and based on availability in the refugios for the respected nights necessary.

Reviews

Excellent communication and support. W Trek Self Guided – all the arrangements were excellent. Great list of various options. Alicia provided excellent support for the trip.

Ivan P., Canada

Our trip was fantastic. We booked later than our friends and the representatives at Chile Nativo were excellent in their efforts to make sure our trip was able to match with our friend’s as close as possible. Very helpful. We had a wonderful night at Los Cuernos where our cabin was amazing. Great meal and we met some lovely people. What we enjoyed was – meeting so many different people on our journey and meeting up again and again during the hostel stays and our trek,

Gillian H., United Kingdom

Great experience and really took the stress out of planning!

Phil M., USA

Trip was very well planned and the briefing had me well prepared. Booking (really short term) was easy and Chile Nativo staff was very helpful (e.g. providing offers on how to make it work with time restrictions I had).

Julian W., Germany

Very smooth with bus vouchers and vouchers for the Refugio’s and park fees. All went very smooth and hazel free.For people who like to travel & hike independently this is a wonderful way to go with Chile Nativo. Not speaking Spanish it would have been difficult to arrange the logistics of this trek ourselves.

Kathryn Hobbs/Craig Aldworth, USA

Everything was perfect. The trek is amazing, and certainly is one of the best things I’ve done in my life. As for Chile Nativo, they were also very professionals, since the begging when I was planning my trips. Took out all my doubts about the trail, things to take there, itinerary… Everything. I’m really pleased I’ve chosen Chile Nativo to schedule my trip.

Alexandre Cunha, Brasil

Chile Nativo is an excellent company. Friendly and helpful and communicative, they provided excellent arrangements for our family to complete the W Trek by essentially just showing up. I highly recommend Chile Nativo!

Kristin Wagner, USA

Completing the W was a wonderful experience. Chile Nativo was there supporting us during the preparation and most importantly during the trek after my wife got hurt. We could have not done without Chile Nativo support.

Maurizio Gianola, USA

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