Hiking Torres del Paine is a must-do for any adventure travel trip to South America. It felt a bit like walking on the edge- the edge of what I can’t really explain, perhaps it was the feeling of closing in on the end of the world? As we went up each of the “fingers” of the “W” Trail, we climbed steeper and steeper terrain. The views of course were incredible.
This pictures makes the trail a lot more verdant looking then it actually is. Unsurprisingly, the closer you get to Antarctica the more tundra-like the landscape becomes. Many sections of the hike cross windy plains where small shrubs cling close to the ground. We were not the best prepared for a week on the trail so we hiked quickly and skipped some sections, shortening the hike by a few days. As you can see from the photo layers are the key to a successful hike- the elevation change is significant and while you might be hot at the start near the lakes, by the time you reach the turn around of a “finger” you could be trudging through snow.
IF YOU GO: We wrote a brief guide to hiking the “W” trail that is a good starting point for exploring the area. Start with a plan, but be prepared to change it based on weather and hiking conditions. There is money exchange on the trail at some of the refuges, but it’s a complete rip-off (to be fair, you are in the middle of no where!). The refuge prices will seem shockingly high, but remember all of their goods and services are coming at a premium.