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, French Valley and Grey Glacier. We prepare everything: briefing you beforehand, booking all services and providing a secure place to store your luggage.
DAY1: You begin your trip early in the morning, taking a public bus straight to Torres del Paine National Park.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. You’re ready to begin the independent 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 independent W trek descent is along the same path, taking you back to the Refugio where dinner will be served.
D2: Enjoy breakfast at your Refugio and then 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.
D3: Today’s French Valley hike from the independent W trek 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, set off on a 2-hour French Valley 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 while on this French Valley hike 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 of the French Valley hike passes through native firebush and evergreen beech forests to the shores of Pehoe Lake.
D4: After breakfast, ascending 200 meters through the narrow winding path to Laguna Los Patos and then for the Grey Glacier trek. 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 embark on a Grey Glacier trek with its 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. After the Grey Glacier trek, dinner will be served at the Refugio.
D5: This morning is yours to enjoy at leisure. Options include an ice trek or Grey Glacier kayak (for an additional cost) or 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. 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.
Prices valid until April 2020.
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