Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 12:03 pm
Just a few decades ago, the Torres del Paine Mountains in southern Chile were relatively unknown, even to avid hikers. Now the 5-day “W” Torres del Paine Trekking route is one of the most wildly popular trails in Patagonia.
Torres del Paine National Park has become so well trodden that improvements to the trail networks and campgrounds are becoming a constant battle for parks workers. A new campground and shelter is under construction and will be available for use by October 2011. Now, Torres del Paine Tours are gearing up for the coming high season, December-February.
One of the reasons Torres del Paine National Park is such a popular Chile tour is that there are basic shelters, called refugios, available to hikers. Many backpackers hike along the W route and stop at campgrounds or shelters where they can find refuge from the elements for the night. Constructing and maintaining these shelters is a challenge since they are scattered throughout the park in some of the most rugged and isolated areas of Patagonia. During the high season, it can be difficult to secure a bed because of the high volume of adventurers, and the limited supply of mattresses.
The new campground and shelter seek to meet – and exceed – that demand. The campground will boast a restaurant that overlooks the spectacular glacial scenery. The shelter itself will come with bedrooms and shared bathrooms, along with hot showers.
Declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, the national park is both a gem in Patagonia’s crown and a playground for adventure-seekers. The rugged terrain of Torres del Paine National Park, located near Puerto Natales in the heart of Chilean Patagonia, covers nearly a half-million acres of pristine mountain ranges, glacial lakes, Magellanic forests, and meadows dotted with wild guanacos and other Patagonia game. The iconic Cuernos (horns) and Torres (towers) mountain ranges rise formidably against stark blue skies and stunning landscapes.
Read more >> How to Visit Torres del Paine
The best time to go on a Chile hiking tour through the majestic Torres del Paine is during the shoulder season when the temperatures are mild, and it is not so crowded. December through March is considered the Patagonia summer, and January is the warmest month, with temperatures in the 50s or low 60s Fahrenheit. When trekking outside of these months, temperatures can drop dramatically, and rough winds over 62 mph are common. Hikers need to be prepared for snow, sleet, or rain. The prime season for winter sports is July through September; however, this is also when you’ll find the slopes the most packed with people. Aim to do your Torres del Paine hiking sometime in November, October, March, April, or May.