TORRES DEL PAINE: PAINE BIG CIRCUIT – 7 DAYS 6 NIGHTS
From Puerto Natales, Chile
Seven days trekking loop around Torres del Paine massif
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Small Group
The Paine Big Circuit, also known as the O Circuit, is for bold trekkers searching for a truly entrancing Torres del Paine experience. On this 7-day endurance trekking and camping adventure, you’ll camp in remote areas and hike more than 100 km along one of the world’s classic trails, continually accompanied by granite mountains, countless glaciers, untamed weather, otherworldly lakes and spectacular views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
-Regular tour departs from September to April at 07.00 am.
-Private tour departure schedule is coordinated previously with the passenger depending on their availability.
- Pick up and Drop off at your hotel;
- All meals indicated in the schedule (B: breakfast, BL: box lunch, L: Lunch, D: dinner);
- Entrance to Torres del Paine National Park;
- 6 nights lodging at campsites;
- 4 season tents (based on double occupancy);
- Porters to carry the camping gear and the food;
- Catamaran to cross Pehoe Lake;
- English Speaking Guide;
- Any additional nights;
- Medical expenses;
- Travel insurance (air medical rescue service – first aid and/or evacuation – insurance included);
- Personal expenses;
- Sleeping bag and mattress;
- Porters to carry personal belongings (including sleeping bag and mattress, available upon request, maximum of 15kg per porter. This service can usually be shared between two hikers);
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except the ones include in the menus;
Transfer to Torres del Paine – Round trip hike to Las Torres lookout point
2 HOURS BY PRIVATE TRANSFER / 8-10 HOUR ROUND-TRIP, 21 KM
We’ll pick you up in Puerto Natales at 7.30 am and travel to Torres del Paine National Park via unpaved roads and past lagoons and pampas; accompanied at times by the guanacos (relatives of llamas), grey foxes, flamingos and black-necked swans that call them home.
Our first challenge is the ascent to the Towers base lookout point, following the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley. After our first hour’s trek we’ll pause to observe how the valley’s beauty unfolds with rich beech forests, glaciers and waterfalls. We’ll then continue uphill for another 90 minutes and prepare to ascend a gigantic terminal moraine (a ridge formed at a glacier’s end point). At the top, we’ll be rewarded by the arresting sight of the Towers themselves. At this lookout point 900 meters above sea level, the three granite spires appear to burst dramatically out of the rocky landscape, while at their base a green-blue lagoon provides a counterpoint of stillness. Here, we’ll have lunch and take pictures before beginning our descent down the same path and to our first campsite.
Night at Camping Torres (BL-D).
Camping Las Torres to Serón - Trekking through beech forests
4-5 HOURS, 9 KM
Depending on the weather, our early morning start will be lit up by orange-tinged views of the Towers. Our path takes us through a very old forest of beech trees where we may hear woodpeckers or find fresh puma tracks. Today’s 9 km hike is the Circuit’s easiest and takes us via a well-marked, slightly sloping trail. Along the way, an exceptional view of Paine Chico Mountain will accompany us. Our destination is Serón Campsite, where we’ll set up camp and enjoy a replenishing dinner.
Night at Serón Campsite (B-BL-D).
Serón to Dickson - Accompanied by wildflowers and craggy peaks
6-7 HOURS, 18,5 KM
Depending on the season, today’s leg shows off the Park’s gorgeous floral delights, as orchids, calceolarias, violets and oxalis flower. Circling Paine Lake, several impressive mountain views will appear, such as Cerro Escudo and Cerro Cabeza del Indio (in which the profile of an Indian is seen as if carved into the rocks). At the beginning of the Paine River we’ll see the curved peak of Cerro Cubo, as well as Lake Dickson (a lake straddling Chile and Argentina). Tonight, we’ll set up camp at Dickson Campsite.
Night at Dickson Campsite (B-BL-D).
Dickson to Los Perros - Alongside mountains, rivers and glaciers
5 HOURS, 9 KM
Today is a day to please the senses, filled with beautiful sights and textures. Often touted as one of the most beautiful sections of this wilder side of Torres del Paine, we’ll hike through ancient beech forests, wander undulating trails and follow Los Perros River. Mountains, waterfalls and lush vegetation will never be far away, as our trail crosses the river via suspension bridge and arrives at the base of our second terminal moraine; this time belonging to Glacier Los Perros, a hanging glacier that feeds the crystalline lagoon at its base. A final half hour hike takes us to today’s destination, Los Perros Campsite. Tonight’s campsite is the only one on the Circuit without hot showers and standard bathroom facilities such as flushing toilets.
Night at Los Perros Campsite (B-BL-D).
Los Perros to Grey via the famous John Gardner Pass
10-11 HOURS, 22 KM
The most strenuous day of the Paine Circuit has arrived, bringing demanding trails and variable weather conditions. Of course, your efforts will be more than rewarded with some of Torres del Paine’s most heart-stirring landscapes, experienced by very few visitors to Torres del Paine. We’ll begin along a clear trail through forests, then make our way through swamp-like section before beginning our ascent to the John Gardner Pass. At this Pass, 1200 meters above sea level, Patagonia’s famous winds are strong and the views across Grey Glacier and of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field’s still unexplored peaks are astonishing. The trail now takes you alongside the glacier, ascending and descending through forests of fallen trees and beneath the imposing, almost muscular granite walls of Cordon Olguín. As we come closer to Grey Glacier we may see an ice calving (where chunks of ice break off a glacier’s edge). Tonight we’ll recharge at Grey Campsite.
Night at Grey Campsite (B-BL-D).
Grey to Paine Grande - Optional activities at Grey Lake
3,5 HOURS, 11 KM
Our morning begins slowly, resting and stretching around camp. Depending on your energy levels, choose from several options this morning. Walk to the Grey Glacier’s lookout point and watch for ice calvings on its massive walls; complete an ice hike with the aid of crampons; or kayak on Grey Lake, paddling around icebergs and in front of the glacier. Later, we’ll have lunch at the Refugio and hike to Pehoe Lake. (Ice hike and kayaking expedition at an additional fee, advance booking required, please contact our Travel Specialists.)
Night at Paine Grande Campsite (B-BL-D).
Trek the French Valley and Transfer to Puerto Natales
7-8 HOURS, 17 KM / 35 MINUTES BY CATAMARAN /2 HOURS BY PRIVATE TRANSFER
Today’s destination, the French Valley, is a spectacular natural basin surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers. This is a return hike, so we will be able to leave our packs behind and trek lightly. We start by walking around Paine Grande, the highest peak in Torres del Paine, through native Patagonian firebush and evergreen beech forests. At the suspension bridge over the French River, the arresting hanging glacier atop the valley will come into sight. From here, we’ll walk for another hour, ascending 300m through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the lookout point (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. We’ll take our time to have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies. Our return hike is along the same track, and the catamaran will take us back across Pehoe Lake to meet our private transfer back to Puerto Natales.