WHY THIS TRIP
This short version of the world-famous “W” trek focuses on the three most spectacular hikes in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park: the Valle Frances, the Grey Glacier, and the hike to the base of the Torres del Paine themselves. Accommodations will be the EcoCamp Patagonia and a charming mountain Refugio.
Torres del Paine’s “W” trek is an iconic trek for its views of spectacular granite walls, glaciers, deciduous forests, and aqua lakes and rivers. The Torres del Paine “Short W” Patagonia Trek takes in all the highlights of its longer sibling, but in a compact three days of trekking, by using vehicle shuttles for the travel between the three valleys that make up the legs of the “W.”
The trip begins in either Punta Arenas, Chile, or in El Calafate, Argentina, with a transfer to the Patagonia EcoCamp in the middle of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Three of the four nights will be at the EcoCamp, a series of comfortable geodesic dome rooms built to be sustainable and to fit into the Patagonian landscape.
The first day’s trekking will begin with a short drive to Lago Pehoe, followed by a catamaran ride across the lake. Then you will hike up the Valle Frances (French Valley) into the heart of the Paine Massif, past hanging glaciers and stunning granite spires. This night you will overnight at Refugio Paine Grande, before continuing your trek alongside Lago Grey toward the towering face of the Grey Glacier. From here you take a boat ride across the lake to view ice chunks calving off of the glacier, and then drive back to our comfortable rooms at the EcoCamp.
Our third and final day of trekking is the challenging, but extremely rewarding, hike to the base of the Torres del Paine, three granite spires rising above a lake filled with icebergs.
Finally it is time to depart back to either Punta Arenas or El Calafate for our return flights or more adventures.
LOCAL OPERATOR: CASCADA EXPEDICIONES
Since 1991 Cascada Expediciones has been offering eco-friendly opportunities for travelers to let go of normal life and refresh with energizing connections to nature. With a strong focus on providing innovative, high-quality experiences — trips in which each traveler enjoys every moment of a trip — Cascada has refreshed nearly 30,000 people. Headquartered in Santiago, a trip of a lifetime with Cascada can include activities ranging from trekking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, rafting, fly fishing, kayaking, skiing, wildlife safari and photography, multisport itineraries to winery tours. In engaging the outdoors Cascada-style, every traveler is made to feel relaxed and energized by each activity; nourished rather than weary.
More good feeling comes in knowing the money spent on a Cascada trip stays in the Chilean economy. Moreover, the money stays with a company and people who have a deep respect for the environment. The staff and guides live an eco-friendly life, sharing the environmentally sustainable philosophy put into practice over the life of the company. So firm in its understanding of nature’s importance, Cascada became a carbon neutral company in 2008 and, between June 2009 and 2010, offset more than 183 tons of CO2 emissions. With a goal of becoming entirely CO2-free, Cascada encourages its travelers, suppliers and shareholders to help by standing by its philosophy.
Bob K. –
The trip was 5 stars all the way around (even though I broke my nice, new SLR on the second to last day!)! Specifically the vistas were everything advertised (we were lucky!), the food and accommodations wonderful, and our guide (Natalia) superb! The cost of the trip was quite reasonable.
Karen C –
The trip was great! I would like to say that more detail on the challenges of the trek would have been useful. The info we got from you did not give correct info on length of hikes which were: Day 1 – about 13 miles, Day 2 – about 8 miles, Day 3 – about 16 miles & very challenging.
All went fine & it was a fabulous experience but as a very fit 57 year old I think people need to know the demands of this trip.
We miss Patagonia…