WHY THIS TRIP
The Patagonia Torres del Paine Circuit Trek is one of the world’s iconic treks, and it is the most adventurous and challenging trek in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. This a trek for those who are fit and who want to experience the splendor of the entire Paine Massif, with its granite spires, sinewy glaciers, deciduous forests, waterfalls, and beautiful lakes. Trekking days are long and difficult, but the scenery and experiences make it completely worth the effort for those up for the challenge.
Most visitors to Torres del Paine spend all of their time on the front side of the park, and those who trek usually do the very popular “W” along southern edge of the massif. The circuit trek, however, goes completely around the massif, circling counterclockwise from the base of the Towers around to the rarely visited eastern and northern parts of the park before crossing John Gardner pass with its amazing views of the Grey Glacier, dropping down along lago Grey, and then ending with the “W” trek back to the EcoCamp. Over the course of seven days of trekking on the Torres del Paine Circuit, trekkers will walk 82 miles around the Paine Massif at elevations ranging from 800 to 4,000 feet.
Nights 1, 7, and 8 are spent at the EcoCamp Patagonia in the geodesic dome hotel rooms, either in the Standard Domes, or, with an upgrade, in the Superior Domes. Nights 2-6 are spent in backpacking 2-person tents in park campgrounds that have mountain bathrooms.
Each day trekkers will need to carry their own daypack with water, lunch, camera, extra clothing, and other items needed during the day. Porters will carry the camp gear and extra clothing for each trekker, and the porters will also set up the tents each night.
The trip begins and ends with transfers from Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, or El Calafate.
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.