Torres del Paine Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn

Most Recent Things to Do in Torres del Paine

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    Bird watching - Black-faced Ibis

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    Another wonderful bird that I was happy to watch for a while. The Ibis is indigenous to Chile and Argentina. The section from Chileno to Cuernos was just loaded with wildlife. When you hike this section, really be observant of the ground around you. It is easy to hike just looking up at the mountains but there is a whole world on the grasslands below.

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    Wild Horses!

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    While hiking between Chileno and Cuernos, I came upon this heard of wild horses. Another beautiful experience with wildlife. The horses were simply grazing along the trail. Several were "painted" horses which are my favorite to see. I had no idea they were present in the park. Another piece of wildlife to keep an eye out for.

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    The beautiful Guanaco

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    I am fascinated by wildlife local to an area I've never been before. I have seen Guanaco's in zoos and in the United States there are farms with domesticated Llamas that look very similar. But seeing them in the wild definitely gives you a different perspective. Guanaco's can be seen in the high grasslands grazing. There were herds of them during the approach to Torres Del Paine. As with all wildlife, admire from a distance. Not that they would let you get too close anyway. But keep an eye out for them. They are wonderful to watch.

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    Bird watching - Darwin's Rhea

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    I just love the name of this wonderful bird. Darwin's Rhea. I did not do any research before arriving in Torres Del Paine about birds. I was shocked when I saw these birds. They are about one meter tall and cannot fly. But they can run really fast. All the ones I saw were on the approach road to Torres Del Paine National Park. They are typically in the grass lands and quite a few travel together. A wonderful experience sighting this "big bird."

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    Mirador Britanico

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    By the time you reach Campamento Britanico, you will be exhausted. I saw some turn back at this point. If you can and have enough day light, push on another 30 minute to the terminus of the valley. There you will arrive at the Mirador Britanico and the most amazing cirque of mountains. The peaks include Paine Grande, Cerro Hoja, Cerro Máscara, Cerro Catedral, Cerro Aleta de Tiburón, Cuerno Norte and more. I spent coniderable time here, relaxing, taking it all in. What the pictures can share with you is the smell of the fresh air and the sound of the running water in a stream created by glacier water.

    Although exhausted this was my favorite spots. The time is short lived because it is a far hike back to Los Cuernos. Again reports have the distance at about 25 kilometers but felt longer. Maybe because I took my time to enjoy the views.

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    Mirador Frances

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    Mirador Frances is about half way up the French Valley en route to Mirador Britanico. It sits on a beautiful bench within the valley directly below Paine Grande. There are usually many people here resting from the steep hike up.

    Some return from this point while some will continue up the valley. More beauty awaits ahead. So plan plenty of time and don't hang around too long on the way up. You can take in more on the way down if time still permits.

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    Hike the "W" - Third Leg - The French Valley

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    Look out from the French Valley
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    Here's where the hike gets a little more serious. The third leg is a hike up the French Valley to it's terminus. Leave Los Cuernos early and bring plenty of food and a way to purify water. The hike leave Los Cuernos and drops down to Lake Nordenskjold. But not for long, before it start to ascend. For the next several hours the trail rolls up and down until you reach Campamento Italiano. Here you will see a bridge crossing a river and nearby is a ranger station which is usually manned but I have heard that they leave for the night. This is a well shaded area and a good place to take a rest.

    After this, the trail climbs steadily until you reach French Glacier Lookout. Another excellent place for a rest and watch a hanging glacier and small avalanches. Route finding can be a little challenging before this point. The trail in places is not well marked and with the spectacular views and is easy to watch the view and not the trail.

    The next stop on the trek up the French Valley is Campamento Britanico. This is a smaller camping area. But the main goal here is about 20-30 minutes to the terminus and Mirador Britanico. Incredible views of the cirque and valley below. It was a great place to clear your mind. You can hear water running in the glacial stream below as it echoed in the valley. I didn't want to leave.

    The trek back is extremely tiring. We had beautiful weather the whole way back.

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    Hike the "W" - Second Leg

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    The second leg of the "W" route is to hike from Refugio Chileno to Refugio Los Cuernos. When hiking back out from Chileno you immediately must hike back up hill to join the main trail. Then continue down nearly to where you enter the "W" from Torre Central. The trail is clearly marked and you would have seen the trail when hiking up the previous day.

    This section is again well maintain. However it is completely exposed to the sun. And the sun is brutal here. There are also some other obstacle's like several rivers that need to be crossed. The trail eventually get closer and closer to Lake Nordenskjold. A large beautiful turquoise alpine lake. The trail is said to be 11 kilometers but I think it is a bit longer. I was very tired because I had ascended to Mirador Las Torres and back to Chileno. This added 6 more miles to my daily total. Keep this in mind if you want to watch the sunrise at Las Torres.

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    Mirador Las Torres

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    The highlight of the first leg of the "W" is Mirador Las Torres. The Mirador consist of four major peaks. This includes Torre Sur, Torre Central, Torre Norte and Cerro Nido de Cóndor. My first visit on this trip had the peaks engulfed in clouds. So I decided to wake up very early the next morning, before sunrise and make the 3 mile hike in the dark to watch the sunrise. So glad I did!

    After returning to Refugio Chileno the first day, I spoke with the caretakers and was told that the mornings are very clear here and it would be easy but long to go back up in the morning. They recommended a 3:00am start. I wish I listened to them as I ended up leaving Chileno at 4:30am. I did miss the alpine glow of the faces but it was very early and the sky was crystal clear. It would also have been nice to explore around the area in the nicer weather but there was much to do like hiking all the way to Los Cuernos.

    It is definitely worth the effort to wake early and see this!

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    Hike the "W" - First Leg

    by blueskyjohn Updated Aug 10, 2013

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    The first leg of the "W" route is from Torre Central to Mirador Las Torres. This is usually done in two days after spending the night at Torre Central. The hike on the first day is on a well maintain trail and ascends to Refugio Chileno. Chileno is about half way on this leg. This is a good stop for lunch and recommended to spend the night. There are two options from here. You can either continue after lunch for the steep 3 mile hike up to Mirador Las Torres or spend a relaxing afternoon and hike up before sunrise to catch the amazing show of alpine-glow on the face of Las Torres.

    I did both in a way. I will focus on the first day here. So after lunch and leaving our full packs at Chileno, we hiked up to the moraine where the trail gets really steep. You do not need to use your hands to ascend but it is a slow go and fully exposed as you exit the forest. We arrived late in the afternoon and clouds had set in on the peaks of Las Torres. Kind of an eerie site and made me want to return the next morning.

    The total portion of this leg is about 13 kilometers. It is a full day hike to get to the Mirador. So be prepared with enough snacks and water after leaving Chileno for the final section. Returning for the night at Chileno.

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    Visting the Main Sights in the Park (Day Tour)

    by spidermiss Updated Jul 21, 2010
    Torres, Torres del Paine
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    On the day tour, you get to see the main sights that can be accessed from the road. A standard tour would include Lago Sarmiento, where there's an excellent view of the Torres themselves; Laguna Amarga, the main park entrance; Lago Nordenskjold, via a 45 minutes to an hour hike, for stunning views of Valle Frances and Los Cuernos and finally stopping at Salto Grande and Lago Pehoe.

    Some tours stop at Lago Grey for those who take a boat tour to Glacier Grey. I haven't done this but I understand this recommended as something to do and if you plan to stay in the park for more than one day, you can visit the various lagunas and lakes of the parks.

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    Valle des Frances

    by barryg23 Written Jan 10, 2008

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    Ruth in French Valley
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    The middle section of the W, and my favourite area of the park. We had great weather for the hike up and down French Valley, which took about 5 hours in all. We started at Campamento Italiano and hiked up to the mirador beyond Campamento Britanico. The path is well marked and easy to follow.

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    Dont go in summer

    by the___gecko Written Dec 10, 2007

    Despite everyone saying summer is the best time, I believe it is not.

    I was there mid march and still found that there were to many people on the trek. Not so much the full circuit but the W.

    I can only imagine its 5 times worse in the warmer months.

    So wait till mid March at least and if you dont mind the cold it may be worth waiting till early April.

    I dont think the circuit opens in November so its not a good time to go then either unless you want to do the W only.

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    La Cueva de Milodon

    by elsadran Updated Sep 28, 2007

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    It's more than 2 meters tall

    This is the Big Milodon. It's in the front of a cave, where they found the remains of an immense sloth.
    You can come by bus or as a part of an excursion, booked at a travel agency. The cave is nothing to write home about...

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    Torres del Paine- the easy way

    by LizontheMove Written Apr 26, 2007

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    View of Torresw del Paine from Lago Amarga
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    We wanted to see the national park but only had three days and weren't particularly trek minded. So, we booked a one day excursion from Puerto Natales which fitted in most of the main sights. It took the following route:
    1. Myledon cave- where they found myledon hair and skin. Not much to look at but good comedy photo with the giant myledon statue.
    2. Multiple photo stops on the way into the national park with amazing views (we were really lucky with the weather). We saw a flock of condors descending on a dead sheep too! Great view across Lago Amarga (see picture).
    3. We then stopped at the south side of Lago Grey at the cemetery of iceburgs. This place was so surreal with cool shaped burgs which had come from the glacier (visible in the distance). We had free time and lunch there.
    4. Then to Salto Grande and chico (two waterfalls).
    Then you can go back to P. Natales but instead we were dropped at the entrance to the park and got the shuttle bus to the refugio. WARNING! This place is hideously overpriced at $33 a night for a shared room (6peeps) with no heating and the weakest light. No blankets provided, the hot water was off most of the time and there was no kitchen so you had to pay $8 for dinner. There is a camp site there which is cheaper but it was really cold when we went so not feasible out of season.
    The next day we decided to do the first leg of the W walk. This was pretty tough going and took me 6 hours (3hours for fitter people!). It was steep but the views were great. Be warned, just when you think you are nearly at the Torres themselves, there is an hour scramble up loads of giant boulders to get to the top! There is a campsite at the base if you don't have to get back to the refugio that night. Also, make sure you drink from the mountain stream- its safe and was the best tasting water I have ever had.
    The next day, we got the bus back to P. Natales (but beware, the afternon public bus is very unreliable, it never showed but we managed to get a tourist bus back which we flagged down!).

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