Although high season in Torres del Paine is stunning in its own right, nothing can beat a winter adventure through an epic ice-clad and snow-covered landscape such as Torres del Paine National Park! Hike through the winter wonderland of offseason Patagonia, visiting the area’s amazing lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests, and valleys in the tranquil wintertime silence and snowy beauty of winter.
The trip begins with you being picked up from the Punta Arenas airport to take you to your hotel in Puerto Natales, lively town on the shores of “Seno de Ultima Esperanza”. Here, you’ll have time to relax, have some lunch and get ready for the adventure to come!. Your winter journey brings with it the short, intense days of Patagonia’s colder months – which are very different from its longer, lighter summer days. As we know, the south is a land of extremes!
Today we depart early in the morning to Torres del Paine National Park and our goal for the day, the base of the Towers!
After leaving the luggage in the Refugio Central, we will walk towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending to Ascencio Valley on the Tower’s eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead us to that iconic base-view of the Towers – three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley to the Refugio for a well-deserved dinner and to rest for the next day’s adventure.
Today we start the day with a pleasant walk through the Cuernos Trail which leads us alongside the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. During this walk we will have the opportunity to admire the park’s exquisite flora and fauna, as we enjoy the magnificent views of the park’s central lakes and the Paine’s Horns, majestic black horn-like peaks of slate atop gray granite which crown the center of the Massif. The trek ends at Refugio Domo Francés, a small and cozy mountain refuge. The evening is free for relaxing and enjoying dinner.
After breakfast at Refugio Los Cuernos, we will begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that leads to the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far in we go depends on our group’s trekking rhythm. A swifter walk will lead us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south-east face of the Massif, where we will be treated to fantastic views of the valley. We will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley where we will be able to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley’s geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After our upward trek, we will pause for a picnic and relax a while. This day’s trek will end as we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest which will take us to Refugio Paine Grande.
N.B. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico may be available weather and time permitting.
Today we hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern end of glacial Lake Grey. Along the trek, we will have different views of this breathtaking glacier, as well as the chance to enjoy perspectives of the Southern Ice Fields.
Once we arrive, those who still want to walk will have the chance to approach the glacier from different lookouts.
After breakfast, we will board the boat* that sails right up to the huge, crystalline facade of Grey Glacier, where we will have plenty of time to marvel at the calving glacier. From the southern end of Grey Glacier, we will transfer to Puerto Natales to enjoy a free afternoon.
*Please Note: The navigation to Grey Glacier is subject to a minimum number of passengers and weather conditions. If the navigation cancels, we’ll have to do a 7-hour hike through Las Carretas Trails.
We board the transfer that will take us to Punta Arenas Airport. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight.