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Backpacking in Torres del Paine in 2023 – a visitor’s guide

Backpacking in Torres del Paine, one of the most famous national parks in Patagonia is an incredible experience. The park offers breathtaking scenery and amazing hiking trails. Thousands of people come here for backpacking every year, as a result, it gets quite crowded during the season. The park has good infrastructure; well-marked trails, designated campsites, picnic areas, restaurants, shops, hotels, rangers’ posts, etc. Torres del Paine is definitely a not-to-miss place in South America.

You can come to the park as a day visitor and do one of the day hikes in Torres del Paine or spend more time and complete one of the multi-day backpacking routes: the W trek or the O circuit. In this post, you can find the necessary information to prepare for backpacking in Torres del Paine.

Beautiful Lago and Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Lago and Glacier Grey from a backpacking route in Torres del Paine

If you like the outdoors and wilderness you might enjoy trekking in El Chalten, Argentina. There are several day hikes and long-distance treks that offer fantastic scenery.

Torres del Paine National Park

  • The National Park was established in 1959.
  • It is located in Southern Patagonia, Chile.
  • The total area of the park – 181 400 ha.
  • It got its name after three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range that look like towers (Torres in Spanish mean “towers”).
  • About 300 000 people visit Torres del Paine every year, 60% of them are foreigners.

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What is Torres del Paine famous for?

Torres del Paine National Park is famous for its dramatic Patagonian landscape, bizarre rock formations, massive glaciers, and numerous turquoise lakes. The most famous attractions in the park are the granite peaks of Torres del Paine and Cuernos del Paine, Grey Glacier, Pehoe Lake, and Nordenskjold Lake. The park is one of the highlights of the region and is worth including in your Patagonia itinerary.

To make your navigation on our site easier and quicker we have crated a Patagonia resource page where you can find all our posts dedicated to the region

What does Torres del Paine mean in English?

The name Torres del Paine has a mixed origin. The first part of it “Torres” is from Spanish and means “towers”, the second part of it is from one of the indigenous languages and means “blue”. Together it means “blue towers”. The name refers to the three outstanding granite peaks (grey/bluish colors) of the Paine mountain range shaped like three towers.

Visiting Torres del Paine in the 2023/24 hiking season

Visitors have to book their Torres del Paine entrance tickets online at least 24 hours before the planned visit.

The entrance fee varies depending on the number of days you’re going to spend inside the park. The entrance fee for up to 3 days in the park is US$35 per person; the entrance fee for more than 3 days is US$49 pp.

You can print your tickets or show them on the screen of your mobile device at one of the park entrances.

If you’re planning to do one of the long-distance treks you have to book the campsites along the route in advance and have booking confirmations with you to be able to access the park.

The O Circuit in the 2023/24 hiking season is open from the 1st of November.

The W trek can be walked starting from the 1st of October when most campsites on the route are open.

Bring your passport with you to the park. All bookings are made on your passport details. To keep your documents and phone dry on the trek use a waterproof pouch.

There is limited cell phone reception in the park.

Hikers in all the time inside the park must stay on the marked trails.

Camping is only allowed at designated campsites, wild camping is strictly prohibited.

No open fires are allowed inside the park.

Using a camping stove is allowed only at designated areas at the campsites. In the 2022/23 season due to the high risk of forest fires, it’s not allowed to use camping stoves at the Chileno campsite.

Water in the park is potable, using purification systems e.g. LifeStraw is optional.

All waste must be carried with you outside the park (some private campsites have rubbish bins).

Sunrise at the Mirador Las Torres
Sunrise at the Mirador Las Torres is one of the highlights of backpacking in Torres del Paine

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

Torres del Paine hiking distances and times

Trails (stretches)Distances Required times
Paine Grande – Campsite Italiano7.5km/4.6mi2h30min
Campsite Italiano – Mirador Britanico5.5km/3.3mi3h
Campsite Italiano – Campsite Frances2km/1.2mi30min
Campsite Italiano – Los Cuernos5km/3mi2h30min
Los Cuernos – Hotel Las Torres11.6km/7.2mi4h30min
Hotel Las Torres – Refugio Chileno5km/3mi2h
Refugio Chileno – Campsite Torres3km/1.8mi1h30min
Campsite Torres – Mirador Las Torres1.4km/0.8mi1h
Hotel Las Torres – Campsite Seron13km/8mi4h
Campsite Seron – Campsite Dickson18km/11mi6h
Campsite Dickson – Campsite Perros12km/7.4mi4h30min
Campsite Perros – Campsite Paso8km/5mi6h
Campsite Paso – Refugio Grey7km/4.3mi5h
Refugio Grey – Paine Grande11km/6.8mi3h30min
Hiking distances in Torres del Paine

Backpacking routes in Torres del Paine

The park is massive some parts of it are accessible only on foot or by boat, and some can be reached by car. There are many one-day hikes and two multi-day backpacking routes in Torres del Paine. All trails are well-marked and easy to follow. The routes start at different places inside the park before getting there choose which one you want to walk.

Day hikes (more than 15 routes)W trek O circuit
Distances between 5-20 km/3-12 mi
distance – 100 km/62 mi
days required – 3-4
distance – 134 km/83 mi
days required – 7-8
Different backpacking routes in Torres del Paine
  • Day hikes – there are many day-hiking trails in Torres del Paine. From short and easy 5 km routes to challenging 20 km trails. You can do several day hikes and stay in the park for a couple of days or do two or three short hikes in one day.
  • W-trek – a 100-kilometer backpacking trail. You need 4 to 5 days to complete it. The route takes hikers to the main highlights of the park.  
  • O-circuit – a 134-kilometer loop around the park. You need 7-8 days to complete the trail. The circuit covers off-the-beaten-path areas of Torres del Paine as well as its famous landmarks. The O trek is open only during the summer season from 1st November to April.

If you’d like to visit the park and see the highlights but don’t have enough time for hiking you can visit Torres del Paine with a day tour from Puerto Natales.

Other suggested day tours from Puerto Natales

Which hiking route to choose?

Depending on how much time you have and what kind of experience you’re seeking you can choose any of the suggested hiking routes.

Day hikes

Short hiking trails in Torres del Paine are some of the best day hikes in Patagonia. They vary from short and easy child-friendly routes to challenging trails. The scenery throughout the park is spectacular whichever route you choose you won’t be disappointed.


  • You can walk with a day pack, no need to carry a heavy backpack.
  • You can stay indoors if you don’t like camping.
  • You can decide when and where to hike according to the weather conditions.
  • You can spend more time trying to get a perfect photo shot or footage.


  • It’s more expensive if you decide to stay indoors and eat at restaurants. You still can camp and prepare your own meals
  • It takes away a big adventurous part of backpacking.
  • You won’t be able to see some off-the-beaten-path parts of Torres del Paine. 



  • It’s a good compromise between a day hike and a week circuit. This route takes 3-4 days to complete.
  • The trail goes through the developed part of the park with hotels, restaurants, etc.
  • You still have to carry food and gear but only for 3-4 days.
  • If you don’t mind paying more you can even stay in hotels and eat in restaurants. 
  • W-trek can be done as a 5-day fully guided tour from Puerto Natales.


  • This part of the park is very busy and gets quite crowded in the peak season.
  • There are no free campsites on this route only private campsites and refugios (hotels).


The O Circuit is one of our favorite long-distance treks in Patagonia. If you enjoy hiking and wilderness I’d definitely recommend completing this route.


  • You get to see a large part of Torres del Paine.
  • You get a chance to skip crowds; some parts of the trek are quite remote and not accessible for day visitors.
  • It’s a true backpacking adventure. 


  • You have to carry a heavy backpack with gear, food, and clothes for 7-8 days.
  • You’ll have to camp at least half of the time, there are no refugios and hotels in the northern part of the park.
  • If you’re unlucky with the weather it’ll be a very long walk in the pouring rain and strong wind.

Torres del Paine hiking map

A map showing different multi-day treks in Torres del Paine
A map of the O-circuit and the W-trek in Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine map PDF

Accommodation in Torres del Paine

If you’re planning to do day hikes in the park the best option is to stay inside the park or in one of the nearby places, it’ll save you a lot of time compared to staying in Puerto Natales and spending 4-5 hours every day driving to and back.

Hotels and refugios

Accommodation inside Torres del Paine

All the hotels inside the park are quite luxurious; rooms with nice views, private bathrooms, heating, TV, towels, comfortable beds, and breakfast. Some have the option of a full board with 3 meals included.

Staying in refugios might be a little bit cheaper but if you add up to 3 meals per day it works out almost as expensive as staying at one of the fancy hotels just with less comfort. You can rent a tent or camp with your own gear inside the park check Camping in the Torres del Paine section for more details on the option.

  • Refugios Torre, Chileno, and Los Cuernos can be booked through Las Torres.
  • Refugios Paine Grande, Grey, and Dickson can be booked through Vertice Patagonia.

Places to stay outside the park

There are some places that are located just outside Torres del Paine which makes it easy to access different hiking trails in the park. Park entrance ticket is valid for several days you can stay outside the park and enter Torres del Paine again without paying the fee.

| Konkashken Lodge | Hotel Estancia El Ovejero Patagónico | Río Serrano Hotel + Spa |

Grey Glacier is one of the highlights of backpacking in Torres del Paine
Grey Glacier from John Garner Pass in Torres del Paine


Inside the park, there are 11 campsites: 9 paid and 2 free. The campsites are run by two private companies: Vertice Patagonia: Grey, Paine Grande, Dickson, and Los Perros. Las Torres runs Central, Cuernos, Francés, Serón, and Chileno campsites.

All campsites have similar facilities. In the peak season, they get very busy. To use any of the facilities e.g. shower or toilet you have to wait. Campsites in Torres del Paine can be booked online through the company’s websites. Don’t forget to print it and take your booking confirmation and passport with you.

Las Torres Vertice Patagonia
CuernosPaine Grande
SerónLos Perros
Campsites in Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Vertice Patagonia

These campsites have better facilities than the free ones and the price is moderate compared to the other campsites in the park. The price for camping with your own gear is US$11 per person, US$13 at Paine Grande.

Las Torres Patagonia

The campsites run by this company are more expensive than the Vertice Patagonia ones. The price of camping with your own gear is US$35 per person for double occupancy; +US$11 supplement charge for single occupancy.

Campsites outside the park

Campsite Pehoe is a good stop for visitors with their own vehicles who are planning to do day hikes in Torres del Paine. The campsite is located at Pehoe Lake.

For more information on camping in the park read our detailed post on the campsites in Torres del Paine. The information in the post is updated for the 2023/24 hiking season.

Turquoise Laguna Amarga in Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Scenery near Laguna Amarga, one of the entrances to Torres del Paine

If you have time you can combine hiking in Torres del Paine with a trip to Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate, Argentina.

The cost of backpacking in Torres del Paine

Transport – bus Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine – US$14, one way. Bus Hotel Las Torres – Laguna Amarga (the O circuit, W trek, and some day hikes) – US$6, one way. Catamaran Pudeto – Paine Grande (W trek, day hikes) – US$30 one way. 

Entrance fee. If you’re going to stay in Torres del Paine for 3 days or less; adults – US$35 pp., children (12-17 yo) – US$18, children under 12 yo – free. If you’re planning to spend in the park more than 3 days; adults – US$49 pp., children (12-17 yo) – US$49, children under 12 yo – free.

Accommodation – hotels between US$130 and US$350 for a double room, depending on the location and facilities. Hostels – between US$40 and US$80 per bed. Private campsites are between US$11 and US$35. Currently, there are no free campsites in Torres del Paine.

Food – cooking your own food will cost you from US$10 per person per day; buying ready-made meals at the campsites in Torres del Paine is from US$25 per person for breakfast/box lunch to US$100 for full board (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

Gear rental (optional). You can rent camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove, etc.). If you rent in Puerto Natales it’ll cost you between US$16 and US$25 pp. per day, depending on what you rent. It’s possible to rent camping gear at the paid campsites but it’s more expensive: US$40 for a 2-man tent, US$25 for a sleeping bag, and US$12 for a camping mat.

Tours in Torres del Paine (optional) – a return boat trip to Grey Glacier – US$115 pp.; hike on Grey Glacier – US$154 pp.; kayaking to Grey Glacier – US$100 pp.

Tour operators charge for a day tour from Puerto Natales US$60 per person, for a 5-day W-trek – US$900 (including transport, accommodation, food, gear, and park entrance fee), for an 11-day O-circuit – US$2500 (including transport, accommodation, food, gear, park entrance fee). 

Visit Torres del Paine with a tour vs independently

Hiking independently


  • It’s much cheaper, especially for longer treks.
  • It’s more adventurous.
  • You’re more flexible.


  • You carry a heavy backpack with gear and food for the whole trek.
  • You pitch and break down a tent, make food, pack, etc.

Guided tour


  • The preparation stage is easy; no need to book campsites, find buses, rent gear, or pack – all you have to do is to find a good company and pay. 
  • The trekking part is easier as well; no carrying a heavy backpack, pitching a tent, cooking, packing, etc. You walk with a day pack and your guides do the rest.
  • Usually, it’s more fun to join a group if you travel alone.  


  • It’s more expensive.
  • It takes away the adventurous part.
  • All the trails in the park are well-marked and easy to follow, you don’t really need a guide to show you the way or to find the campsites.
A reflection of a mountain in Skottsberg Lake, Torres del Paine
Skottsberg Lake a part of several backpacking routes in Torres del Paine

Traveling with your own gear vs renting

Let’s compare prices of camping gear on and renting camping gear in Puerto Natales and at the paid campsites in Torres del Paine. If Torres del Paine is the only place you’re going to hike renting camping gear is the easiest option if you’re planning to do more hikes it’s worth bringing your own gear.

The easiest option for multi-day hikes in Tores del Paine is to rent camping gear at every campsite you stay in this case you don’t have to carry heavy gear but it’ll work out more expensive than renting it in Puerto Natales.

As for small stuff like a camping stove, pots, hiking poles, etc. if you don’t bring them with you from home it’s better to buy them in Puerto Natales renting small items for 5-7 days will cost you as much as buying them. After the hike, you can try to sell that stuff for less to other hikers.

Item nameBuying on Amazon*Renting in Puerto Natales, per day**Renting in Torres del Paine (paid campsites), per day***
2-men tentfrom US$80US$12US$40
Down sleeping bagfrom US$100US$8US$25
Inflatable sleeping padfrom US$30US$5US$12
Camping stovefrom US$13US$6
Cooking setfrom US$18US$5
Hiking polesfrom US$20US$6
Down jacketfrom US$50US$7
Waterproof jacketfrom US$30US$7
Comparing prices of gear on Amazon and rental prices in Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine
  • *Prices are for Amazon US.
  • **Rental prices at Rental Natales and Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales
  • ***Gear rental prices at Vertice Patagonia campsites

Best time for backpacking 

The answer to the question When is the best time to visit Torres del Paine? depends on many factors. Patagonia has four well-defined seasons; Spring from September to November; Summer – from December to February; Fall from March to May; winter from June to August. Summer and the beginning of fall is the best time for hiking in Patagonia. Temperature; December, January, and February are the warmest months when even night temperatures are quite comfortable. April and November – are shoulder seasons; warmish days and not cold nights. 

A diagram with yearly low and high temperatures in Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Average high and low temperatures in °C in Torres del Paine, Chile
A table with average temperatures in Torres del Paine in °F
Average monthly temperatures in Torres del Paine in °F

In this part of Patagonia wind is the main problem. It gets very windy which makes pitching a tent or cooking on a camping stove quite complicated. The beginning of the summer November – January are the windiest months in Torres del Paine. February is the most comfortable month with less wind and warm temperatures. April to September is the least windy period but it’s too cold for hiking, plus long treks are closed for the off-season.

Number of windy days in Torres del Paine a months
A graph that shows the chances of a windy day every month throughout the year

As you can see chances of rain are pretty even throughout the year, summer and fall months get quite a lot of rain, February again is the best month for hiking in Torres with the least rainfall. In winter the chances of rain are quite small though it can snow.

Number of rainy days in Torres del Paine a month
A graph that shows the chances of a rainy day in Torres del Paine throughout the year

Day duration in summer in Patagonia is quite long, up to 18 hours of daylight! You have long hiking days even if you start later you’ll have enough time to complete a stretch with the sun still high up. November – February it basically gets dark around 11pm, and the sun rises between 4am and 5am. In winter daylight hours are half as long as in summer.

Monthly daylight hours in Torres del Paine
A graph with daylight hours in Torres del Paine for every month of the year

From all the above you can make a conclusion that February is the best month for trekking in Patagonia and for traveling the Carretera Austral. It’s warm, with little wind and rain, and long days but it’s the busiest month for the park with the most visitors coming here. If you want to skip summer crowds you might consider visiting lesser-known parts of Patagonia e.g. Pumalin Park or Cerro Castillo National Park.

November, December, and March might be a better option if you want to skip the crowds, plus all hiking trails are already or still open, but these months get quite a bit more rain and are windier. We hiked in March and were lucky with the weather, out of 7 days in the park we had only 1 rainy day and it wasn’t pouring rain, and the wind didn’t bother us too much.

The number of visitor hiking in Torres del Paine every month
A pie chart that shows the number of visitors in Torres del Paine according to the month

Wildlife in the park

In high season chances to see wild animals in the busy part of the park (W-trek, day hikes) are quite small but you still can be lucky. We saw most animals on the O-circuit, in more remote parts of the reserve.

If you’re lucky you can see a puma and our friends did see one walking near the Serron campsite one morning. Grey and red fox – you have good chances of spotting them on the longer routes. Huemul – local deer, we saw a couple of them but from far. Guanaco – a bigger and wilder version of a llama. You can see some other animals in Torres del Paine such as the Patagonian skunk, dwarf armadillo, rabbits, condors, etc.

Places to stay in Puerto Natales

If you’re planning to do one of the multi-day hikes in Torres del Paine then staying in Puerto Natales is probably the best option. There are many places for different budgets from campsites and backpackers to fancy guesthouses and hotels. Puerto Natales is a town where you can find all you need to prepare for hiking; ATMs, shops, gear rental places, etc.

Recommended books and guidebooks

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Oscar Ahlqvist

Thursday 12th of October 2023


Awesome post as always! Me and my girlfriend followed your advices for Fisherman's Trail and did it over 2 years.

Now we're planing to walk the O circuit. But we're unsure what flightpath we're taking and how to get to the park. We're travelling from Sweden. How did you guys travel to get there? Did you fly to Santiago de Chile and then bus or domestic flights?

Thank you so much for your inspiration!

Best regards,


Stingy Nomads

Saturday 14th of October 2023

Hello Oscar. Thank you for the comment. We have a detailed post on how to get to Torres del Paine. There you can find different options of getting to the park from Chile and Argentina including flights Good luck

Joy Barlow

Thursday 22nd of September 2022

This is extremely helpful! If we arrive into Puerto Natales (airport) at 9AM, do you think we would have time to also do day 1 of the W Circuit the same day, in order to complete the hike in 4 days? Secondly, we'd like to add a day on the Argentina side, and have been looking at combining the W trek in Torres del Paine with trekking in El Chalten and doing a day hike (such as Laguna de Los Tres). Do you believe this would be possible to do? Logistically, where would we camp in order to get from the W Circuit to El Chalten?

Stingy Nomads

Sunday 25th of September 2022

Hello Joy. Thank you for the comment. If you arrive at 9 am you'll miss two morning buses from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine. The next bus leaves at 12pm. It arrives in Torres del Paine at 2 (Laguna Amarga entrance). From there you take another bus to Hotel Las Torres (Campamento Central). If you want to start walking on the same day I would suggest starting the W route from Hotel Las Torres (Campamento Central) towards Paine Grande. Otherwise, you won't be able to start the W trek on the same day because there will be no ferries available to get from Pudeto to Paine Grande at that time of the day. I'm not sure it's worth going to El Chalten from Torres del Paine only for one day. It's 420 km away. It'll take you a day to get there. In order to get from the W trek to El Chalten you have to get back to Puerto Natales first. There are no direct buses from Puerto Natales to El Chalten. First, you go from Puerto Natales to El Calafate then from El Calafate to El Chalten. Cheers


Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Thank you for the many useful information in this post! I do have a question. Is it possible to trek from Estancia Nibepo Aike in Argentina to Dickson glacier, then on to Refugio Dickson in Torres del Paine, Refugio Grey and Paine Grande? This would involve crossing the border near Dickson glacier. May we get an exit stamp in the passport from Argentinian immigration at El Calafate international airport? A map shows there is an Avanzado de Carabineros near Dickson glacier on the Chilean side - can they give an entry stamp in the passport for Chile? This would be an epic trek if it was logistically possible.

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Hello Nimrod. I don't think your plan is possible. At least I don't know about entering Torres del Paine from Dickson Glacier. Hiking in Torres del Paine is very regulated. You can follow only officially-approved routes. In the northern part of Torres del Paine, the O circuit is the only route you can follow. You can't enter Torres del Paine at Dickson Glacier you can do it only through one of the entrances in the southern part of the park. Even if there is a border control post at Dickson Glacier it doesn't mean tourists can cross the border there. I'm sorry to disappoint you but I think if you want to do a trek in Torres del Paine it's better to stick to the official routes. If you want to do a hike and cross from Argentina to Chile or vice versa on foot you can do it from El Chalten to Villa O'Higgins. It's a 2-3 day route with a ferry crossing. There you can get an exit/enter stamp for both countries. You can find more information on this route in this post Good luck


Thursday 4th of June 2020

Very comprehensive post and nice pictures that bring back memories. We did the O in 2006 - it seems it was a lot more relaxed back then. No reservations for the campsites were needed and you could decide on the spot how far to walk. Chile was one of the best countries we went for hiking.

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 4th of June 2020

Hello, Natascha! Thank you for the comment! Nowadays there are too many people who want to hike in Torres I guess they have to regulate it somehow. We loved Chile, spent there 3 months mostly hiking in Patagonia and could go any time back. There are so many amazing hikes there! People in Chile are amazing, we had the best time ever there. We named our dog Chile after the country;) Cheers!


Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Hi -- What a great article- Thanks! I'm heading to do the W solo in 3 weeks and have all my reservations. One thing is that fantastico sur said the sunrise hike to the towers wasn't allowed. CONAF now only allows hiking on the trails with sunlight. Do you know if this is enforced? I'm trying to do Frances - Chileno to drop off pack - Towers - back to Chileno on day 3. It's about 11-12 hours of hiking and I was planning to start at 5 am. Thanks!


Sunday 31st of July 2022

@Alison, most of these comments were pre covid. Did you make it? I was wondering the same thing in terms of what time one can start the day hike to Mirador los Torres. I would image the Torres campsite is now open? Terry

Stingy Nomads

Monday 24th of February 2020

Hello, Alison! Thank you for the comment! Sorry for the late reply we're currently trekking in Nepal and often don't have wi-fi. I know that the sunrise hike is not allowed now because you have to start at Chileno campsite which is quite far from the Towers (it used to be from Torres campsites which is closed now). We hiked in Torres in March and from what I remember at 5 am it was almost light. I don't remember any checkpoints between Frances and Chileno so I guess if you just pack your stuff and start walking at 5 am there will be nobody to stop you. Good luck!

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