Hiking the W Trek in Chile

Outdoors & Animals

Torres del Paine, Chile

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain range in South America, Chile offers some of the best terrain for nature and adventure lovers, including magnificent deserts, fjords, mountains, forests, volcanoes, lakes, wilderness, and winelands. Throughout these regions, there are a variety of ancient treks once used by the indigenous peoples for travel and trade. Now these scenic treks, once used as a source of survival, are available for incredible adventure on your Chile vacation.

The most popular of the Chilean treks is the W Trek. This famous route meanders through some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. While the steep mountainous terrain requires a moderate level of fitness, the complete silence of the forests, views of beautiful alpine lakes, and the adrenaline rush of hiking along a windy precipice makes it well worth the effort. This is one of the world’s most astonishing trekking routes.

Suspension Bridge over Lago Grey with Glacier Grey in Background, Southern Patagonia, Chile
Suspension bridge over Lago Grey, with Glacier Grey in the background

What is the W Trek?
The W Trek is a 60-mile multi-day circuit trail that travels through Torres Del Paine National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, famed for its exquisite remote setting. Named after the shape of the hiking trail, the W Trek winds back on itself through steep mountainous territory. We recommend taking about 6 to 7 days, which allows plenty of time to appreciate the route at an enjoyable and relaxed pace.

What is the terrain like?
The terrain is somewhat challenging with uneven rocks, uphill climbs, and thrilling cliff top hikes that yield unforgettable vistas. Hikers in relatively good shape should not struggle with completing the trek. Expert guides are on hand at all times.

What is there to see?
Hikers can expect some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with incredibly remote and untamed terrain. Highlights include memorable mountain views, crisp alpine lakes, striking glaciers, and wildlife that will keep you company along the way, such as foxes and a variety of interesting birdlife.

Patagonian Red Fox in Torres Del Paine, Chile
Patagonian red fox

Where do I start?
The W Trek is best done counter-clockwise. This keeps the hardest sections of the route for last and helps trekkers avoid some of the headwinds that can rush through the dramatic valleys.

When is the best time to go?
The trek is only open for just over half the year during the end of spring, the summer months, and the beginning of autumn. The best time to hike the W Trek is during the summer months of December to March when there are 18 hours of daylight. This allows plenty of time to absorb the scenery as you go along – this gorgeous route is not one you want to rush.

Where to stay
You’ll stay in innovative eco-camps and comfortable mountain huts throughout your journey. These places are designed to provide exceptional comfort in a natural setting, with minimal environmental impact. You’ll wake up next to gorgeous lakes, awe-inspiring valleys, and exquisite flora and fauna.

Paine Grande Campsite While Hiking the W Trek in Torres del Paine, Chile
Paine Grande campsite along the W Trek

How’s the food and wine?
You can expect to enjoy great food and wine provided at camps throughout the trek. The menu is drawn from local ingredients and infused with Latin flair. After each day of exploration, unwind at dinner and enjoy the company of your fellow hikers. The W Trek in Chile is one of the most epic hiking routes in the world, so don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. After all, you’re hiking one of the world’s most epic, first-rate passages.

What is the weather like? What should I pack?
The weather is changeable. It’s not unusual to get gusty winds, rain, and sunshine all on the same day. Water and windproof clothing is a must. Bring along good hiking shoes that have been well worn in before the journey, as you will spend plenty of time on your feet. Pack enough clothing for layering as this is the best way to keep warm. Don’t forget sun cream, a hat, water bottle, and most importantly, your camera!

Torres del Paine National Park at Night, Patagonia, Chile
Torres del Paine National Park at night

For information on the W Trek or other travel ideas in Chile, please contact us by phone at 1-888-469-2955, by email at [email protected], or visit our website at www.goway.com.