Torres del Paine weather is unpredictable to say the least. With climatic conditions capable of passing through four distinct seasons in one day, hiking in this national park is an introduction to Patagonia’s notoriously capricious climate. But don’t be put off; the gem in Patagonia’s crown merits a visit and we’ve put together this guide to everything you need to know to help you prepare for the weather in Torres del Paine National Park.
Torres del Paine weather: what to expect
Key features of the weather:
- An annual rainfall of 700mm means waterproof coats are essential equipment when visiting the park.
- Winds can reach up to 110 mph (180kph) and are more persistent during the summer season.
- Temperatures average around 55°F (13°C) during the summer months and drop to between 41°F (5°C) and -3°C (27°F) during winter.
- Daily Torres del Paine weather conditions can be checked online before arriving in the park.
Torres del Paine’s temperate climate is characterized by high levels of rainfall. Summertime, when the trails of Torres del Paine are most frequented by visitors, actually has the most inclement weather: January through to April receive some of the highest levels of the year, with up to 3.15 inches (80mm) of precipitation.
The shoulder months of September and October see the lowest average rainfall of the year in Torres del Paine, with 1.77 inches (45mm) the norm. But whenever you visit, sudden showers can begin with little warning, so a waterproof jacket and pants can make trekking in the park a drier experience.
The extreme winds in Torres del Paine have become the stuff of legend for hikers in the area. These gusts have been known reach up to 110 mph (180 kph) – strong enough to make a hiker and his backpack airborne! Most persistent during the summer season, these winds can be responsible – on rare occasions – for closing some of the trails.
The prevailing winds that come from the Pacific Ocean in the west are to blame for these exceptionally windy and cold conditions. Torres del Paine’s location at 50° south latitude leaves it vulnerable to these extreme westerlies. Winds that blow around the world between latitudes of 40°S and 60°S face little obstruction from land before reaching the Chilean coast, and therefore can reach impressive speeds.
These winds also cause weather fronts to pass quickly over the park, adding to the unpredictability of weather and meaning that the skies can transform from clear blue to threatening gray within a short window of time.
These piercing westerly winds, the South Patagonian Ice Field in the north and the park’s proximity to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current combine to cause the overall cool temperatures experienced here and throughout Patagonia.
During the summer months, average daily temperatures hover around 55°F (13°C), with lows of 34°F (1°C). During winter, these drop to highs of 41°F (5°C) and average lows of 27°F (-3°C). Throughout the year, the strong winds can also make the ambient temperature feel up to 30°F (6°C) cooler.
So when should you visit Torres del Paine?
The ideal Torres del Paine weather is during late fall, early spring or summer, when longer hours of daylight and a warmer temperatures make hiking the ‘W’ or Circuit significantly more pleasant. Most visitors agree that this is the best season to visit the park.
Interestingly, Torres del Paine’s fierce winds are stronger during the summer months. Over winter, banks of high pressure coming from Antarctica in the south stabilize over Patagonia and lead to long spells of clear, cold and windless weather. Cold fronts do eventually reach Torres del Paine bringing snowfall, so if you consider visiting during this period, prepare to kit yourself out with extreme-weather sleeping bags and numerous layers to protect from the biting chill.
Essential equipment for surviving the Torres del Paine’s weather
- A waterproof jacket and pants.
- Waterproof gloves and a warm hat to protect from wind chill.
- Layers, including sweaters, mid-layers and base-layers, to respond to everything from sunshine to snowfall.
- A waterproof cover for your rucksack that is firmly attached and can’t be blown away by unexpected gusts of wind.
- Lightweight sleeping pad and warm sleeping bag.
- A tent that can withstand strong winds complete with sturdy pegs and guy ropes.
- Or, if you’d rather escape the weather, book into one of the comfortable lodgings in the park.