So when IS the best time to visit Torres del Paine?
The best time to visit Patagonia may not be when you think…While most will say Spring (September to November) Summer (December to February) or Fall (March to April), we’re stating the not-so-obvious in this case which is Patagonia’s Winter, May to August (which by the way is totally underrated!).
We’ve picked your top 6 most frequently asked questions about Patagonia’s off-season to get you thinking about why its the best time to explore the wonders that winter has to offer.
As winter sweeps through the Southern Hemisphere, temperatures drop and the mountains and valleys sleep. The shoulder season naturally offers faaaaar fewer crowds which allows travelers to immerse themselves more in nature. The opportunity to experience the wonders and life that winter brings to Patagonia is greater than anything else. Visitors can observe Southern Patagonia’s native fauna brought out of hiding only by this time of year. Time slows during winter as daylight hours are reduced allowing for slow mornings and warm, sheltered nights. The air is clean and crisp, the landscapes are still yet alive, and the options for adventure are endless…
How cold is Patagonia in the winter? What type of weather can I expect in Torres del paine?
Winter months are actually the most stable months when considering Patagonia’s famously sporadic weather conditions featuring strong winds and rainy downpours. Winter brings cold, short days with very chilly nights and snowcapped mountains and valleys. On average there is only 8-10 hours of daylight with sunrise around 10AM and sunset around 6PM. June and July are typically the coldest and driest months with temperatures between -10º C and 5º C (14º F to 40º F).
Can you hike Torres del Paine in the winter?
Absolutely! Winter is a perfect time to experience the real wild Patagonia and the unique stillness at the feet of snow-covered mountains. You can still hike the most famous trails in Torres del Paine during winter such as the Base of the Towers Lookout, French Valley and a less-visited trail, Las Carretas, which takes hikers to the base of the Paine Grande mountain along the shores of Pehoe Lake. But wait there’s more! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that hiking is the only option to explore. You can kayak, horseback ride, and even e-bike through pristine landscapes of Torres del Paine and its surrounding areas. The 5 Day Winter Multi-Sport is by far travelers’ most popular pick! Short on time? Opt for the 3 Day Winter Multi-Sport instead…
And we can’t forget to mention the Winter W Trek which connects Grey Glacier, the French Valley and the Base of the Towers Lookout over five days of superb hiking fueled by crisp air and still landscapes (minus the jostling crowds and cramped refugios). Due to some restrictions and closures during the off-season, the only refugio which remains open to guests during their W traverse is Paine Grande. This makes for a central base location when hiking to Grey Glacier and the French Valley. This also means that winter travelers have the opportunity to hike Las Carretas which borders the Grey River and the shores of Pehoe Lake. This trail is notoriously known as a great spot to see pumas especially in winter.
How difficult is the Winter W trek in Patagonia?
The Winter W Trek, like any program in Torres del Paine, requires a certain physical ability in order to complete the trek successfully. Keep in mind that each member of a guided group will hike at a different rhythm and pace but group members must follow the pace indicated by the guide according to the distance and daylight hours available. Each day’s trek will have a minimum number of kilometers or miles which must be covered and hiking times are estimated and could be more or less given trail and weather conditions and the groups’ overall rhythm. We encourage our guests to remember that traveling in a guided group allows for a unique experience – bonding with fellow travelers and interacting with the guide and the destination in which they are visiting.
Over 5 memorable days, winter trekkers will experience the W Trek from a new perspective while still hitting the most talked about spots. Hike to the base of the Paine Grande mountain while staying in the comforts of the Paine Grande Refugio. During the trek’s second and third days, you’ll hike into the heart of the snow-covered French Valley and to the Grey Glacier lookout. On the last day, ascend through beechwood forests and the Ascencio River up to the iconic three towers standing before a snow-covered horizon.