Patagonia and other adventure travel destinations

The Ultimate Checklist For Hiking the W Trek Torres del Paine

Hiking the W Trek, Torres del Paine National Park will always be an unforgettable feature of an adventure vacation in South America. As it’s one of the most popular stops along the gringo trail in Chilean Patagonia, the internet is full of information about the national park and how to organize your hiking trip.

But if you’re looking for clear guidelines about how to turn the ultimate Chilean trek into a reality, read on for our checklist that helps break every stage of planning your hike into easy, actionable steps.

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Equipment for hiking the W Trek, Torres del Paine

With high winds and showers a constant threat even during the warmer summer months, equipment for hiking the W Trek, Torres del Paine needs to be capable of responding to rapidly changing weather conditions and, if you’re planning on camping, keeping your warm and dry at night time.

  • Invest in a high-quality, 30-40 litre backpack if you plan to stay in the serviced campgrounds or cabañas along the W. Invest in a larger 60-70 litre backpacks if you will be packing camping equipment.  

w trek torres del paine

Entry into Torres del Paine

As of 2016, CONAF (the authority that administers the park) have placed limits on the number of those hiking the O circuit. This shouldn’t affect those on the W trek, however it is worth visiting the CONAF office in Puerto Natales before visiting the park to avoid disappointment.

  • Visit the CONAF office in Puerto Natales to confirm there are no limits on entry for your planned entry dates.
  • Be sure to withdraw the entry fee of $30 ($18,000 CLP) before leaving Puerto Natales to ensure you have enough Chilean pesos to cover accommodation and additional food costs throughout your trek as no ATMs are located in the park.


Transportation into Torres del Paine National Park

If planning on booking a guided tour of the W trek, it’s unlikely that you will be required to organize your own transportation, as this should be included in the price. However, if you are considering walking without a guide, it is essential that you plan this in advance, particularly during high season when greater tourist numbers put pressure on the local transport infrastructure.

  • Book your return bus ticket from the offices of Buses Gomez or Buses Maria Jose. Buses leave Puerto Natales twice daily in the high season, with departures scheduled for 7:30am and 14:30pm each day.


Food and Accommodation

w trek torres del paineAgain, if you’re walking self-guided, food and accommodation must be arranged in advance of your arrival to the park. Guided tours include this as part of their price.

  • Plan enough food for four days. Lightweight, nutritious food for lunches and evening meals, as well as snacks of energy bars and nuts, will keep your hunger at bay and your energy levels and spirits up.
  • Book accommodations, including campgrounds, cabañas and shelters in advance if trekking in high season. You can do this online through Fantastico Sur and Vertice Patagonia.


Alternative routes around Torres del Paine National Park

Although hiking the W trek, Torres del Paine will be an achievement for many visitors to Patagonia, consider the longer but less high-profile O or Q routes.

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[…] back into Chile and Puerto Natales, from where you can take a tour to hike the famous ‘W’ trek in Torres del Paine National Park. Admire the area’s dramatic glacial landscapes and take a photograph posing in front of the […]