The W Trek

Patagonia's best hike

Often listed among the world’s best treks, there’s no doubting the W Trek’s appeal. Named after the shape it makes on the map, this multi-day hike introduces travellers to Torres del Paine’s most spine-tingling sights: from Glacier Grey to the French Valley and the three torres themselves.

What you’ll see

This route speaks to each one of Torres Del Paine’s attractions: you can see the awe-inspiring Glacier Grey up close on a boat (there are many providers for you to choose from) as well as from other vantage points, from which you’ll be able to appreciate its immense size. This trek allows you to enter the hidden French Valley and to incorporate the Torres Base Trek – usually the final component on the last day.

There’s the Los Cuernos Trail to enthral you, and then you will surely lose yourself in the vibrant and dreamy blues of Pehoe, Nordenskjöld and Grey Lakes.

The wonderful thing about the W Trek is the chance to spend days on end soaking up the magnificent views of glaciers, lakes and mountains which are nothing short of inspirational.

Ancient secrets revealed

Torres del Paine is home to several different ecosystems, each with its own landscapes, animals and plants which are unique to the area.

The park is still giving up ancient secrets. In 2014, the fossilized skeletons of at least 46 dolphin-like creatures were found. These animals, called Ichthyosaurs (“fish lizards”) lived between 245 million and 90 million years ago. The fossils were revealed when rock faces, long hidden by ice, became exposed as glaciers melted.

Difficulty

This is a 75km (47mile) hike which you can expect to take 4 - 5 days, although some tour providers plan for up to seven days.

It is rated at moderate to intense, and you’ll need to be prepared with good equipment. Hiking boots which are well broken-in are essential (note the emphasis on well broken-in!). It’s advisable to use hiking poles to lessen the strain on your knees on some of the more uneven terrain. Some hikers might wish to pack knee straps for extra support.

Need to know

The W Trek is Torres del Paine’s most well-known. Consequently, there is a sharp spike in the number of hikers in the high season. If you are visiting during the southern hemisphere’s summer it’s wise to book your trek well ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Hotels can sell out, and tour providers tend to fill up their routes.

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