Torres del Paine Things to Do

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

Best Rated Things to Do in Torres del Paine

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    Los Torres del Paine - view the granite peaks

    by Trekki Written Sep 26, 2004

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    Torres del Paine

    Torres del Paine are the granite peak formation which gave the PN it's name. A bit they resemble the "Drei Zinnen" in Northern Italy.
    The hike there is more or less easy, will take approx. 6 hrs (round). You start at the Hosteria Las Torres (northeastern in the park), turn right hand at the little signpost (the left hand way leads to the famous "W"). The path continues uphill, through nice heath covered area. When you arrived on the ridge, don't miss to look back for a magnificent view on Lago Sarmiento. Continue the path, you pass Albergue El Chileno, then a campsite, and finally arrive at the base of the moraine for the TDP lookout. Take care when climbing up - walking sticks are highly recommended !!

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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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    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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    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" - 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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    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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    Salto Grande (Big waterfall)

    by amy312 Written Jan 11, 2007

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    The hike to this waterfall is short, about 15 minutes. To get there, you'll need a car or you can go before or after taking the catamaran across Lago Pehoe. It's worth a visit, not as much for the falls themselves as for the views in general.

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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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    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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    Cementerio de tempanos - Ice floes Cemetery

    by elpariente Written Apr 15, 2007

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    Los témpanos que se desprenden del Glaciar Grey se desplazan al fondo del lago hasta una playa que la llaman cementerio de témpanos
    Para llegar hay que cruzar un bosque , un puente colgante y dar un buen paseo por la playa
    The ice floes that are broken from the Grey Glacier , they move to the bottom of the lake up to a beach that is called the ice floes cemetery
    To arrive you need to cross a forest a hanging bridge and you must take a good walk in the beach

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    Mirador Cuernos - Horns(Cuernos) Viewpoint

    by elpariente Updated Apr 15, 2007

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    Es un paseo de un par de horas muy agradable y sencillo que empieza en las cascadas de Pehoe y se va por un bosque magallánico , lleno de arbustos y flores (zapatitos de la virgen , calafates...) hasta llegar al mirador desde donde se ven los impresionantes Cuernos
    It is a walk of a pair of hours very nice and easy that starts in the Pehoe waterfalls and you go cross a Magellan forest , full of bushes and flowers ( Little shoes of the virgin , calafates...) up to reach the viewpoint to see the impressive Horns ( Cuernos )

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    Boat trip on Lago Grey

    by amy312 Written Jan 11, 2007

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    A gorgeous trip, but pricey. We took the boat from Refugio Grey to Hosteria Grey, about 2 - 2.5 hours in total on the boat. Great views of Glaciar Grey and iceburgs, as well as pisco sours made from glacial ice (touristy, but fun). This is a great way to finish (or start) the W trek.

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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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    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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    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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Torres del Paine Things to Do

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