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The W trek in Torres del Paine – 2023/24 season

The W trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia is a stunning route with some of the most beautiful landscapes in Patagonian National Park. It’s one of the most famous hikes in South America. The trek is a good compromise between day hikes in Torres del Paine and the challenging O-circuit. The W route takes hikers to all highlights of the National Park including the Mirador Las Torres, Grey Glacier, and Pehoé Lake.

In my opinion, the W trek is one of the best long-distance treks in Patagonia.  It’s a good combination of a great hiking experience, amazing scenery, good infrastructure, and a moderate level of difficulty. On the Argentina side of Patagonia, we loved the Laguna de Los Tres trail, definitely, a hike not to miss.

Sunrise at Mirador Las Torres, W-trek
Mirador Las Torres, W trek, Torres del Paine, Chile

We have created a Patagonia resource page where you can find a lot of information on the region and Torres del Paine

Table of Contents

The W trek route overview

  • Total distance – 100 km/62 miles linear trek
  • Required number of days – 4-5 days
  • Starting point – Paine Grande campsite (ferry from Pudeto) or Hotel Las Torres
  • Finishing point – Hotel Las Torres (bus to Laguna Amarga) or Paine Grande campsite
  • Highest point – Mirador Las Torres, 900m/2952ft
  • Permits – no special permits are required
  • Entrance fee – US$49.
  • Advanced campsites booking is required for the W trek.  
  • Accommodation – campsites, refugios (hostels), hotels.

Torres del Paine W trek tours

You can hike the W trek in a small group. In this case, you don’t have to do any planning, book campsites, and transportation. It works out more expensive than hiking independently but at the same time, it’s easier and quicker.

Mountainous scenery on the w trek
The scenery on the way to French Valley on the W trek

Where is the W trek?

The W trek is a multi-day hiking route in the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, southern Chile. It’s one of the most famous treks in the region. 

How long is the W trek in Torres del Paine?

The total distance of the W trek in Torres del Paine is 100 km/62 miles.

How long does it take to hike the W trek?

To hike the W trek in Torres del Paine on average takes 4 or 5 days. If you want to spend more time in the park and walk shorter days you can do the trek over 6 or even 7 days staying an extra night at the campsites.

How difficult is the W trek?

The W trek in Torres del Paine is a moderate multi-day hike. It isn’t a technical or hiking altitude trek. It doesn’t require a lot of experience or special training. Being in good shape and having some hiking experience will make the walk easier especially if you’re going to do the trek independently. Unpredictable weather is the biggest challenge on the W trek trail. Patagonia is known for its strong winds and heavy rains that might make hiking difficult. 

Is the W circuit worth it?

Yes, it’s definitely worth including the W trek in Torres del Paine in your Patagonia itinerary. The route offers some of the best scenery in Patagonia including some of the highlights of the region. If you enjoy hiking, nature, wildlife, and camping the trek should definitely be on your bucket list.

When is the best time to do the W trek?

Weather-wise November to March are the warmest months, day temperatures are between 12°C and 15°C, and nights are between 8°C and 10°C. Wind in Chilean Patagonia can be quite hectic, summer months, except February, are quite windy – November, December, and January are the windiest months. For more information on weather in season read our post “When is the best time to visit Torres del Paine?“.

As for rain in January, March, and April, you’ll get the most rainfall, February is again quite a favorable month with the least rainfall. From a weather point of view, February would be an ideal month for backpacking in Torres del Paine and exploring the Carretera Austral if it wasn’t one of the busiest months in Patagonia. 

January and February are the peak season in Torres del Paine. If you’re planning to do the W trek during these months it’s highly advised to book campsites long in advance. 

One of the rivers on the W trek in Torres del Paine
A beautiful river neat Laguna Amarga entrance in Torres del Paine

How much does the W trek in Torres del Paine cost?

The W trek can cost you anything from US$250 per person for 5 days (camping with your own gear and making food). The cost will depend on the chosen accommodation option and meal plan.

The most budget-friendly option of hiking the W trek (camping with your own gear and making food) 

Transport 

  • Bus Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine  – CLP 24 000/US$28, return. 
  • Catamaran Pudeto – Paine Grande – US$35, one way. 
  • Bus Hotel Las Torres – Laguna Amarga – US$6. 

Entrance fee

The entrance fee to Torres del Paine for the W trek (assuming you’re going to spend more than 3 days in the park) is US$49 for adults, and free for children under 12 years old.

Accommodation 

Camping with your own gear – US$84 (4 nights) per person for double occupancy; two nights at Vertice Patagonia campsites (US$11×1 and US$13×1), two nights at Las Torres Patagonia campsites (US$30×2). Las Torres Patagonia campsites have a supplement fee for solo occupancy which is US$21 per night. 

If you stay at fully-equipped campsites (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat) you’ll pay around US$100 per person per night. Dormitories with bunk beds are available at some campsites from US$60 per person.

Food 

Cooking your own food – US$10 per person per day. If you buy meals at the campsites’ restaurants your food expenses will be significantly higher. For a full board, you’ll pay US$80 (at Fantastic Sur campsites) and US$100 at Las Torres Patagonia campsites. You can buy separate meals at most campsites. Most campsites have small shops where you can buy essentials, snacks, and drinks. 

Gear rental (optional) 

If you have your own gear you’ll save quite a lot of money on rent. If you’re planning to do more hikes in the region it might be worth buying gear. You can find second-hand camping and hiking gear in Puerto Natales.

To rent camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove, etc.) in Puerto Natales will cost you between US$15 and US$25 pp. per day, depending on what you rent. 

Sample gear rental prices in Puerto Natales

Item Price per day, USD
Sleeping bag -9°CUS$8
Sleeping matUS$5
2-men tentUS$12
Cooking set (stove, pots, bowls. cups etc.)US$6
HeadlampUS$2.5
Hiking polesUS$6
Waterproof jacketUS$7
Waterproof pantsUS$4
Hiking backpackUS$6
Down jacketUS$7
GlovesUS$2
Gear rental prices in Puerto Natales

You can rent camping gear at the paid campsites on the W trek. To rent a 2-man tent at the campsites costs US$40 per night, a sleeping bag – US$25, and a camping mat – US$11. It’s more expensive than in the town but you don’t have to carry your camping gear with you.

las Torres viewpoint in Torres del Paine National Park
Mirador Las Torres is one of the highlights of the W trek

Can you walk the W trek without a guide?

Yes, you can walk the W trek in Torres del Paine independently. Having a guide or walking in a group is not required.

How to buy entrance tickets to Torres del Paine?

According to the official website, in the 2023/24 hiking season, visitors have to purchase their entrance tickets to Torres del Paine online at least 24 hours before their visit. They don’t accept payments at the park entrance gates. 

You can show your ticket on the screen of your mobile phone or print it. 

The entrance fee for foreigners is US$49 (3+ days in the park).

Torres del Paine Park rules

You have to book campsites beforehand and have a booking confirmation printed or on your mobile phone. 

It’s required to have a passport and a migration card (you get it entering Chile) with you on the trek. 

Hikers are allowed to camp only at designated campsites.

Open fires are not allowed in the park – in the past, they caused terrible fires.

Hikers are allowed to use camping stoves only at designated areas at the campsites. In the 2023/24 hiking season due to the high risk of forest fires, hikers are not allowed to use camping stoves at the Chileno campsite.

Drinking water can be found all over the park, and it is considered of being good quality. We didn’t use any filters or purification systems on the trek.

Puerto Natales is the best place to be based before and after the hike. The town has many hotels, campsites, restaurants, shops, and gear rental places.

You can get more information about Torres del Paine including different route options, campsite bookings, etc. at Erratic Rock  (hostel/gear rental shop) there is a free daily talk.

You can combine the W trek in Torres del Paine with trekking in El Chalten or visiting Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate. It’s the adventure capital of Argentina located 400 km north. There are many day hikes and a couple of multi-day routes with breathtaking scenery.

Travel insurance for the W trek

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How to book the campsites on the W trek in 2023?

The campsites on the W trek belong to two different companies; Vertice Patagonia paid campsites: Grey and Paine Grande and Las Torres Patagonia paid campsites: Central, Los Cuernos, Francés, and Chileno.

There is a new booking service Booking Patagonia that you use can use to book the campsites on the W trek. We have never used them but they’re recommended on the official CONAF website. It’s more convenient to book all the campsites using one site than several different websites. I’ve checked the prices of the campsites and they were the same as on the Vertice and Las Torres websites. They sell bus tickets from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine as well.

Vertice Patagonia campsites Las Torres Patagonia campsites
GreyCentral
Paine GrandeChileno
Los Cuernos
Francés
Campsites on the W trek

All paid campsites have similar facilities and can be booked online.

W trek campsites, Torres del Paine
Campsites on the W trek, Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Prices and facilities of the campsites

The campsites on the W trek can be booked online together through Booking Patagonia, or separately on Vertice Patagonia, and Las Torres Patagonia websites. 

Vertice Patagonia campsites 

Currently, the Grey and Paine Grande campsites on the W trek are available for booking from the 1st of October. 

Grey campsite. The price for camping with your own gear is US$11 per person. It’s possible to rent camping gear at the campsites; a tent (2 persons) – US$40 per night, a sleeping bag – US$25 per person per night, and a camping mat – US$12 per person per night. Full board (breakfast, box lunch, and dinner) – US$80 per person. Separate meals: breakfast – US$25, dinner – US$40, lunchbox – US$25.

Paine Grande campsite. The price for camping in your own tent is US$13 per person. You can rent camping gear at the campsite; a tent (2 persons) – US$40 per night, a sleeping bag – US$25 per person per night, and a camping mat – US$12 per person per night. A full board is available (breakfast, box lunch, and dinner) for US$80 per person. Separate meals: breakfast – US$25, dinner – US$40, box lunch – US$25.

Las Torres campsites

All four Las Torres Patagonia campsites on the W trek Central, Chileno, Cuernos, and Francés can be booked online. 

In the 2023 season, Las Torres campsites on the W trek can be booked 

  • Central from the 1st of September
  • Frances from the 1st of September
  • Chileno from the 15th of September
  • Cuernos from the 1st of November

Chileno is a very popular campsite because it’s the closest one to the Mirador Las Torres. If there is no availability for your dates you can book instead the Central campsite and from there walk to the Mirador. 

Camping with your own gear at all four campsites costs US$35 per person (double occupancy), or US$56 per person (single occupancy). Fully-equipped campsites are US$110 per person (double occupancy) or US$190 per person (single occupancy). Chileno campsite is more expensive – US$144 per person per night for double occupancy and US$200 per night for single occupancy.

Full board is available at all four campsites. Full board (breakfast, box lunch, and dinner) is US$100 per person. Half board (breakfast, dinner) – US$70 per person. Individual meals: breakfast – US$28, lunch – US$50, dinner – US$50, box lunch – US$30.

It’s possible to rent camping gear at all campsites. A 2-person tent is US$48 per night, and a mat is US$10. 

Overall prices for camping, meals, and gear rental at Las Torres Patagonia campsites are higher than at the Fantastico Sur campsites.

Our post, Torres del Paine campsites, contains a lot of information on the topic including a map of the campsites, booking tips, camping facilities, and more. The information in the post is updated for the 2023/24 hiking season.

A blue color lake in Torres del Paine
One of the picturesque lakes on the w trek in Torres del Paine

Where does the W trek start?

The W trek in Torres del Paine can be walked westbound or eastbound. The starting point of the route will depend on the chosen direction. If you walk westbound then you start at Hotel Las Torres (Central campsite). If you walk eastbound then the starting point will be at the Paine Grande campsite

How to get to the W trek?

Puerto Natales is the nearest town to Torres del Paine National Park. There are regular daily buses from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine. The nearest airport is in Puerto Natales. There are direct flights from Santiago de Chile and Puerto Montt.

Step 1. Take a bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine

All buses leave from the bus terminal in Puerto Natales.

Bus tickets from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine with Bus-Sur can be booked online.  Other bus companies sell their tickets at the bus terminal in Puerto Natales. During the high season, it’s recommended to buy your bus tickets at least one day in advance.

The timetable of buses from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine

Buses Puerto Natales – Torres del PaineBus 1 Bus 2
Leaves Puerto Natales (bus terminal)7 am 12 pm
Arrives at Laguna Amarga9 am2 pm
Arrives at Pudeto (ferry)10 am3 pm
Arrives at Hotel Grey (boat)11.30 am4.30 pm
Buses from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine

Step 2. Get off at the Laguna Amarga, Pudeto, or Hote Lago Grey stop

Where to get off the bus depends on where you are going to start the W trek. There are 3 possibilities: Laguna Amarga (Hotel Las Torres), Pudeto (ferry to Paine Grande), and Hotel Lago Grey (boat to Grey campsite).

Option A. If you want to walk the W trek from east to west you start at Hotel Las Torres (Laguna Amarga stop).

Option B. If you want to walk the W trek from west to east you start at Paine Grande (Pudeto stop).

Option C. If you start the trek at Grey campsite and walk from west to east you have to get off the bus at Hotel Lago Grey stop. It’s the most expensive option because in order to get from Hotel Lago Grey to Grey campsite you have to do a glacier cruise which costs US$100 per person. The advantage of this option is that you don’t have to walk the stretch between Grey campsite and Paine Grande to and back unlike starting at Paine Grande.

Step 3A. Take a bus from Laguna Amarga to Hotel Las Torres

You have to get off the bus at Laguna Amarga to catch another bus from Laguna Amarga to Hotel Las Torres. The journey from Puerto Natales to Laguna Amarga is 2 hours. The price is US$14. 

To get from Laguna Amarga to Hote Las Torres takes 10 minutes, and the price is CLP 5000/US$6. The departure times are linked to the arrival times of the bus from Puerto Natales.

If you don’t want to take the second bus you can walk from the Laguna Amarga entrance to Hotel Las Torres. It’s about 7 km.

Step 3B. Take a ferry from Pudeto to Paine Grande

You have to get off the bus at Pudeto and from there take a ferry to Paine Grande. The bus journey from Puerto Natales to Pudeto takes 3 hours. The price is US$14 pp. 

The ferry ride from Pudeto to Paine Grande takes about 30 minutes. The price is US$30 one way. You can buy tickets and confirm the current timetable on the Hip Sur website.

Ferries from Pudeto to Paine Grande in the 2023/24 season

Month October November December – March April
Time 9 am9 am
10.30 am10.30 am10.30 am10.30 am
4.15 pm
6 pm6 pm6 pm6 pm
Catamarans from Pudeto to Paine Grande

Step 3C. Get on a boat from Hotel Lago Grey to Grey campsite

Get off the bus at the last stop Hotel Lago Grey. The journey from Puerto Natales to Hotel Grey takes 4h30min., and the price is CLP 20000/US$23. From Hotel Grey you have to walk 20-30 minutes to the pier where you get on a boat. The boat takes you first to Grey Glacier and then makes a stop at the Grey campsite. There are 3-4 daily departures. The trip is 1h30min. The price is US$100 per person. You can book your tickets and confirm departure times online.

You can find more information on transportation in our detailed post on how to get to Torres del Paine.

Getting back to Puerto Natales

After completing the W trek you can get back to Puerto Natales using public transport. Depending on where you finish the hike you’ll have to take a bus/ferry/boat to get to one of the stops from where you can catch a bus to Puerto Natales.

Ferries from Paine Grande to Pudeto

Month October November December – March April
Time9.30 am9.30 am
11 am11 am11 am11 am
5 pm
6.30 pm6.30 pm6.30 pm6.30 pm
Catamarans from Paine Grande to Pudeto

Whenever you finish the W trek at Laguna Amarga or Pudeto you can take a direct bus to Puerto Natales. The price is US$14 (CLP 20000/US$23 from Hotel Grey). The journey takes between 2 and 4,5 hours depending on the distance.

Buses Torres del Paine – Puerto NatalesBus 1 Bus 2
Leaves Hotel Grey1.30 pm5 pm
Leaves Pudeto2.30 pm7.30 pm
Leaves Laguna Amarga3 pm8.15 pm
Arrives in Puerto Natales5 pm9.30 pm
Buses from Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales

It’s possible to do the W trek with a tour. It works out more expensive but on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about planning your itinerary, booking campsites, etc.

W trek Torres del Paine map

W trek map with campsites, a ferry route, and a bus route
A map of the W trek and the campsites in Torres del Paine. 1 – Grey campsite; 2 – Paine Grande; 3- Italiano; 4 – Francés; 5 – Los Cuernos; 6 – Chileno; 7 – Central.

W trek in Torres del Paine – a 5-day itinerary

You can walk the famous W trek in both directions; from Paine Grande to Hotel Las Torres (Central campsite) or in the opposite direction from Hotel Las Torres to Paine Grande. Whichever way you go you’ll start and finish your trek with one of the highlights of Torres del Paine; Gray Glacier or Mirador Las Torres. We started the W route at Paine Grande. Before deciding on the direction check the availability of the campsites on the route, especially during the high season. 

Day 1. Paine Grande campsite – Grey campsite, 11 km/6,8 mi

Bus Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine (Pudeto entrance); ferry Pudeto – Paine Grande, 3-4 hours in total. Refugio Paine Grande/campsite – Grey campsite/Refugio Grey, 11 km/6,8 miles, 3 hours

Cost: bus – CLP 12 000/US$14, entrance fee – US$49, ferry – US$35, camping at Grey campsite – US$11.

Highlights

  • Pehoe Lake
  • Grey Lake, an impressive glacial lake
  • Grey Glacier

Challenges

  • Several ascents and descents on the way between Paine Grande and Grey campsite.

7.00-7.30 – catch a bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park.

9.30-9.45 – get off at the first stop Laguna Amarga to pay the park entrance fee. Tip! Try to be one of the first people at the office so that you don’t have to wait too long you still have to get back on the bus. After paying the fee, getting tickets and maps get back on the bus and continue to Pudeto.

10.30 – get off the bus at Pudeto. Go to the ferry ticket office to buy a ticket to Paine Grande and find out about the departure time. Buy a one-way ticket you’ll finish the trek at a different entrance. Tip! If you have time before the departure you can go to Salto Chico waterfall.

11.00 – get on the ferry to Paine Grande.

11.30 – get off the ferry at Paine Grande. 

Here you have two options; to camp at Paine Grande and walk to Grey Glacier and back with a day pack or to walk with all your gear to the Grey campsite and overnight there. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. If you camp at Paine Grande you’ll walk to the glacier without your backpack and you can do the W trek in 4 days but you’ll have less time to walk around and to go to the viewpoints. If you camp at the Grey campsite you’ll have more time to explore the area but you’ll have to walk with your backpack from and to Paine Grande.

11.30 – start walking toward Grey Glacier, 11km. It’ll take you between 3 and 4 hours.

15.30-16.00 – arrive at the Grey campsite, pitch your tent, and have lunch.

17.00 – walk around the campsite, and go to the lake.  You can leave your stuff in the tent but we’d suggest taking valuables e.g. a camera, money with you. 

18.00-19.00 – get back to the campsite, have dinner, and rest.

Pehoe Lake, W'trek, Torres del Paine
Lago Pehoé at Hotel Paine Grande, W trek, Torres del Paine

Day 2. Grey campsite – Grey Glacier viewpoint – Grey campsite – Paine Grande campsite, 20 km/12,4 mi

Grey campsite – glacier Grey viewpoint – Grey campsite – Paine Grande,  20 km/12,4 miles, 7 hours

Cost: camping at Paine Grande – US$13.

Highlights

  • A lookout point near the suspension bridge
  • Grey Glacier
  • Grey lake
  • Pehoe lake

Challenges

  • A steep ascent to the Grey Glacier view-point
  • A steep descent back to the Grey campsite
  • Several ascents and descents on the way from Grey to the Paine Grande campsite.

7.00 – get up, and have breakfast.

8.00 – start walking towards Paso campsite and a suspension bridge, to the viewpoints. Leave your stuff in the tent at the campsite, and take a day-pack with valuable stuff, water, and snacks.

9.30-10.00 – you’ll arrive at the viewpoint. There are several points from where you can see the glacier. From here we’d suggest starting walking back you still have to pack your tent and walk to Paine Grande.

11.00-11.30 – arrive back at Grey campsite, pack your tent, and have lunch.

12.30 – start walking to Paine Grande.

16.30-17.00 – arrive at Paine Grande, pitch your tent, and walk around.

19.00 – make dinner, rest.

Grey Glacier, W trek, Torres del Paine, Chile
Massive Grey Glacier from the viewpoint, the morning of the second day on the W trek in Torres del Paine

Day 3. Paine Grande campsite – Mirador Frances – Francés campsite, 19 km/11,8 mi

Paine Grande – Italiano campsite – Mirador Frances – Mirador Britanico (in good weather) – Francés Valley and campsite, 19 km/11,8 miles, 8 hours

Cost: camping at the Francés campsite – US$30

Highlights

  • Skotsberg lake
  • French Valley
  • Mirador Frances
  • Mirador Britanico

Challenges

  • A steep ascent to Mirador Britanico from Italiano campsite
  • A steep descent back from the Mirador to the campsite

6.00-7.00 – get up, make breakfast, and pack.

8.00 – start walking towards the Italiano campsite – 7,6 km, 2,5 hours.

10.30 – arrive at the Italiano campsite, leave your big backpack at the office, and walk to the Mirador Frances – 2 km, 1 hour.

11.30 – arrive at the Mirador Francés, rest, and have snacks. If the weather is good and you feel strong continue walking towards the Mirador Britanico – 3,5 km, 2 hours.

13.30 – arrive at the Mirador Britanico, rest, and enjoy the view.

14.00 – start heading back to the Italiano campsite – 5,5 km, 2-3 hours.

16.30 – arrive at Italiano and continue walking towards the  Francés campsite – 2 km, 30 min.

17.00 – arrive at the Francés. 

Skottsberg Lake, W-trek, Patagonia
Mirror-like Lago Skottsberg on the way from Paine Grande to Italiano campsite

Day 4. Francés campsite – Chileno campsite, 18,5 km/11,4 mi

Francés campsite – Refugio Los Cuernos/Cuernos campsite – Refugio Chileno/Chileno campsite, 18,5 km/11,4 miles, 7 hours

Cost: camping at Chileno – US$30.

Spending the final night at Chileno campsite is currently the only option if you want to see the sunrise at Mirador Las Torres. There used to be a free campsite just 800m away from the Mirador Las Torres but it’s been closed since 2018. From Chileno to the Mirador is a 2.5-3-hour short hike but the elevation gain is quite impressive. You have to start at 3.00-4.00 am in summer as the sunrise is between 5.30 (December) and 7.00 (February).

In the 2023/24 hiking season because of the high risk of forest fires, it’s not allowed to use camping stoves at the Chileno campsite. You can buy meals at the campsite restaurant, pack food that doesn’t need to be cooked, or prepare meals in advance at the previous campsite.

Highlights

  • Nordenskjold lake

Challenges

  • Several ascents and descents on the way to the Chileno campsite

7.00 – get up, have breakfast, and pack.

8.00 – start walking towards Los Cuernos – 5km, 2 hours.

10.00 – arrive at Los Cuernos, and stop for rest and snacks. Continue walking towards Chileno campsite – 15km, 5,5 hours.

15.30 – arrive at Chileno, pitch a tent, walk around, and rest.

18.00 – make dinner, rest.

Nordenskjold lake, W hike, Torres del Paine
Lago Nordenskjold, the scenery on the way to Chileno campsite, W-trek

Day 5. Chileno  – Mirador Las Torres – Puerto Natales, 14 km/8,6 mi

Chileno campsite – Mirador Las Torres – Hotel Las Torres, 14 km/8,6 mi, 5h30min. Bus Hotel Las Torres – Laguna Amarga; bus – Laguna Amarga – Puerto Natales, 3 hours.

Cost: bus Hotel Las Torres – Laguna Amarga – CLP 5000/US$6, bus Laguna Amarga – Puerto Natales – CLP 12 000/US$14.

Highlights

  • Mirador Las Torres – three sharp mountain peaks and the lagoon.

Challenges

  • A long and steep ascent to Mirador Las Torres
  • A long and steep descent to Hotel Las Torres

4.00-5.00 (depending on sunrise time) – get up, start going up to the Mirador – 4km, 2h15min.

6.15-7.15 – arrive at the Mirador. Enjoy the sunrise, spend some time resting, taking photos, and exploring the area.

8.00 – start going down to Chileno – 4km, 1h30min.

9.30 – arrive at Chileno, get your stuff, and start descending towards Hotel Las Torres – 5,5km, 1h30min.

11.00 – arrive at Hotel Las Torres, from here you can catch a shuttle bus to Laguna Amarga (confirm the departure time at the hotel) or walk – 7km, 2 hours.

14.00-14.30 – catch a bus from Laguna Amarga to Puerto Natales. We’d recommend checking the bus timetable at the park office at the beginning of the trek.

16.30 – arrive in Puerto Natales.

Sunrise at the Mirador las Torres, W trek
The most iconic view in Torres del Paine – the Mirador Las Torres as the sunrise

W trek in Torres del Paine – a 4-day itinerary

If for some reason your time in Torres del Paine is limited you can walk the W trek in 4 days.

Day 1. Paine Grande campsite – Grey campsite – Paine Grande campsite, 22 km/13,6 mi

Bus Puerto Natales Torres del Paine (Pudeto); ferry Pudeto – Paine Grande, 3-4 hours. Paine Grande campsite – Grey campsite – Paine Grande campsite, 22 km/13,6 miles, 6 hours

Cost: bus – CLP 12 000/US$14, entrance fee – US$49, ferry – CLP 20 000/US$25, camping at Paine Grande – US$13.

Highlights

  • Pehoe lake
  • Grey lake
  • Grey Glacier

Challenges

  • Several ascents and descents on the way from Paine Grande to the Grey campsite.

7.00-7.30 – catch a bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park.

9.30-9.45 – get off at the first stop Laguna Amarga to pay the park entrance fee. Get back on the bus.

10.30 – get off the bus at Pudeto, and go to the ferry ticket office to buy a ticket to Paine Grande.

11.00 – get on the ferry to Paine Grande.

11.30 – get off the ferry at Paine Grande.

11.30-12.00 – pitch your tent. Leave your stuff in the tent, and take only valuables, water, and snacks.

12.00 – start walking to the glacier – 11 km, 2h30min.

14.30 – arrive at the Grey campsite, and spend some time walking around.  If you have time go to one of the nearest viewpoints. Remember the stretch between the Grey campsite and Paine Grande closes at 4 pm after that time you’re not allowed to start walking so make sure you start heading back before.

Before 16.00 – start walking back to Paine Grande. In the summer it gets dark after 9 pm in Patagonia, on the way back you’ll have enough time to enjoy the view and take some photos don’t waste time on that on the way to the glacier.

18.00 – 19.00 – arrive at Paine Grande, have dinner, and rest.

From the second day, follow the 5-day itinerary from Day 3.

If you still have some time to spend in Patagonia after completing the W trek, you can visit the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, Argentina.

Where to stay before the trek?

Puerto Natales is the best place to be based before the trek, it’s not a big place but it’s quite geared toward tourists, here you can find all you need to prepare for the hike: hotels, hostels, shops, gear rental places, pharmacies, ATMs, etc.

There are many accommodation options in Puerto Natales from budget campsites to fancy guest houses and apartments, here are our suggestions;

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Neo

Saturday 24th of February 2024

The scenery looks awesome! Thanks for all the great information. I am kind of handicapped with torn ligament in my right knee. Is there a way to drive around with hiking time somewhat cut.

Stingy Nomads

Sunday 3rd of March 2024

Hello Neo. Thank you for the comment. You can do parts of the W trek from Paine Grande and from Hotel Las Torres. You can get to both places using transport. The middle part of the trek is accessible only on foot. There are some day tours from Puerto Natales that offer a combination of hiking and driving. It might be a good option for you. Cheers

Damayanty Cabrales

Sunday 26th of November 2023

Hello,

1st off thank-youuu for all this great information. We are hiking the "W" in March of 2024 and this blog is the best ones I have come across for someone that is booking everything on her own. My question is if you know if we can leave our gear at Frances or Italiano (which I think it's closed) before hicking to Mirador Britanico? we are staying Day 2 at Cuernos and I am trying to avoid backtracking or carrying all my gear up to Mirador Britanico.

Stingy Nomads

Friday 8th of December 2023

Hello Damayanthy. Thank you for the comment. Sorry it took long to reply as we were traveling in Central America. Theoretically it's possible but you'll have to kindly ask people who work there. Italiano campsite is closed but there might be still a check-point post. I think there is a restaurant at Frances Campsite maybe you can arrange something with them. Frances Campsite belongs to the same company as Cuernos - Las Torres Patagonia. You could ask them to assist and arrange with their other campsite that you can leave your gear there. Good luck

Pav

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Hey,

Can I buy park fees ahead of time or can I pay before starting the hike at the entrace? We are doing the O circuit in mid-december and got all the campsites booked. I am seeing conflicting information that we can buy ahead of time. Appreciate the clarification. Thx pav

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Hello Pav. Last season you had to buy entrance tickets to Torres del Paine online at least 24 hours beforehand. There is a link in the post (in the section "How to buy tickets to Torres del Paine") to the official website where you can buy your tickets. Cheers

Henry

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Hello - fantastic information - thank you so much.

I have a couple of questions. I'm planning on doing the W trek in mid - late April as part of a much bigger trip in Patagonia and S America.

My questions are

1. Am I unwise for doing this trek ( solo ) in late April?

2. I am travelling around S America with a large rucksack and taking a smaller one on the W Trek. Will most hostels in P Natales be able to accomodate my large bag for me while I'm doing the W trek?

Thanks in advance

Henry

Stingy Nomads

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Hello Henry. Thank you for the comment. The W trek is a popular route I'm sure even in April there will be other hikers. The trek is now as isolated and remote as the O circuit. In April most campsites and hotels on the W trek will still be open. Finding a place to stay shouldn't be a problem. Note that Cuernos campsite will be closed from 30th March. The rest of the campsites on the W trek will stay open till the end of April. Most people who hike in Torres del Paine store their luggage in their hotel/hostel in Puerto Natales. It's a normal thing to do and it shouldn't be a problem. We did so when we went hiking. Good luck

Aimy

Monday 9th of January 2023

Hi there! Thank you so much for this information! I will start my w-trekking next Thursday. I’ve booked the equipment at the camping. Can you tell me if it is possible to cook? Of do I have to rent my own cooking stove and pans in Puerto Natales?

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 10th of January 2023

Hello Aimy. Thank you for the comment. You need your own cooking gear even if you stay at fully-equipped campsites on the W trek. There is no shared kitchen like in hostels. If you don't have your own gear (and camping gas) you'll have to rent it in Puerto Natales unless you chose a full-board option that includes all meals at campsites but it's a lot more expensive than making your own food. Good luck

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