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PATAGONIA TREK

About

The TREK

10 Days

Chile’s Patagonia has some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth. Here the South American continent explodes in a dazzling display of islands, glaciers, icebergs and mountains.

This is a journey through a breathtaking realm where nature’s spectacle is on full display. You trek through the heart of Chilean Patagonia which presents a kaleidoscope of landscapes: from the jagged peaks of the Paine Massif that pierce the sky, to the serene azure of glacial lakes and the vibrant greens of dense forests.

Every stride reveals a mind-blowing such as the ethereal Grey Glacier, the sweeping expanse of the Patagonian steppe, or the mirror-like waters of Lake Nordenskjöld.

Tusker Patagonia Trek

Patagonia

An Untamed Wonder

Our trek starts in the wild and remote northern reaches of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, where we camp amidst nature’s raw beauty.  We hike the magical “O” circuit, and are rewarded with an immersive experience in one of the worlds’ most spectacular wildernesses.  It’s an adventure that tests your limits and enriches your soul, leaving an indelible mark on all you wander its path.

Tusker Trail Torres del Paine

The Towers (Torres)

 These colossal granite monoliths thrust upwards, their jagged peaks a testament to nature’s raw power. Carved by glaciers and sculpted by time, they are a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the untamed wilderness, where every climb, every step, is a dance with danger and beauty in equal measure.

Grey  Glacier

Grey Glacier is a colossal masterpiece of ice and time. Its massive blue walls stretch for miles, capturing the imagination with their otherworldly beauty. As it creaks and groans, shedding icebergs into the emerald waters of Lake Grey, it is a magnificent spectacle that leaves one in profound awe of Earth’s frozen wonders.

The Challenge

Our trek starts in the wild and remote northern reaches of Torres del Paine National Park, where we  camp amidst nature’s raw beauty. Moving south to the “W” circuit, the journey transforms, with stays in charming Refugios and lodges, offering a touch of comfort in the wilderness. We break the two sections with a beautiful boat and catamaran journey seamlessly connecting these worlds, unveiling the majestic Paine Massif in all its glory—a truly spectacular encounter with Patagonia’s untamed heart!

Tusker Patagonia Trek

Patagonia’s Natural Beauty

In the heart of the Southern Andes lies a realm of untamed wilderness, a land where glaciers carve their majestic paths through jagged peaks and emerald lakes shimmer beneath endless skies. Patagonia is a poetic canvas of raw beauty. The windswept steppes whisper ancient tales of survival, while colossal ice fields guard their secrets in solemn silence. Here, nature unveils its most audacious creations: towering granite spires, pristine fjords, and primeval forests that beckon the intrepid traveler to explore its secrets. Patagonia is a true testament to the unyielding spirit of the wild.

Lodging on the Trek

Camping on the remote “O” circuit amidst nature’s grandeur, we embrace the raw essence of Patagonia. Then we take a thrilling twist, transitioning into the vibrant heart of the “W” circuit. Here, we trade tents for lodges, refugios, and even a hotel, infusing our journey with a captivating blend of rugged wilderness and modern comfort. This dynamic trek promises an exhilarating dance between untamed and luxurious, a symphony of experiences in Patagonia’s wild embrace.

The Paine Massif

 Patagonia

The Paine Massif in Chile, an ethereal masterpiece of the Andes, casts a spell that defies description. Its rugged spires, clad in ancient glaciers, pierce the heavens like cathedral spires. The deep azure of its lakes mirrors the sky, creating a surreal world where Earth and sky converge in a harmonious ballet.  As the ever-shifting Patagonian weather dances around these peaks, a sense of wonder envelops the soul. In the presence of the Paine Massif, time seems to stand still, and the heart is filled with an indescribable awe for the profound beauty of our planet’s most enchanting secrets.

Seasons

Nestled at the southern tip of Chile, Torres del Paine National Park is a rugged jewel in the crown of Patagonia located at 50.9423° S and 73.4068° W. This remote wilderness spans a staggering 925 square miles (2,422 sq. km) with a landscape as diverse as it is awe-inspiring. The park’s location, some 70 miles (112 km) north of Puerto Natales, places it on the very doorstep of the formidable Southern Ice Field.

In this land of extremes, the seasons are mercurial. Summers (December to February) offer long days and longer daylight hours,  drawing adventurers from far and wide. Winters (June to August), however, are a brutal test of endurance, with biting cold and fierce winds that conspire to challenge even the hardiest souls. Tusker’s trekking dates skirt the edges of these seasons to maximize the better conditions, and avoid the trekking crowds.  Seasons here are not mere calendar dates; they are chapters in a wild, unpredictable story that keeps drawing explorers back, year after year.

Trekking Itinerary

Day 1 – ARRIVE PUERTO NATALES

Way down in the Chile’s south, Puerto Natales was founded in 1911, and long served as a main port, from which much of Patagonia’s wool wealth was exported. These days the scent of adventure permeates the town, as it is the perfect launching point for our trek in Torres del Paine National Park. At dinner we meet with our guide for a pre-trip discussion.

Day 2 – SERON CAMP

Hike:  8 miles/12.8 km – 4 hours  – 250-ft/76-m elevation gain.

The adventure begins! Prepare for an exhilarating day as you depart from your Puerto Natales hotel bound for Torres del Paine. Your destination: the iconic Las Torres trailhead, the starting point for your grand Circuit of the Paine Massif.

We hike along a moderate trail, tracing the contours of the awe-inspiring Cerro Paine’s northeast face, surrounded by enchanting beauty of the Valle Encantado. Today’s destination is Seron, our cozy campsite.

Day 3 – DICKSON VALLEY

Hike:  9 miles/14.5 km – 5-6 hours – 250-ft/76-m elevation gain.

At dawn, we energize with breakfast and set off in the crisp dawn light along the Paine River. Lago Paine’s calm waters are on our right and the looming shapes of Cerro Oggioni and Cabeza del Indio to our left. The trail winds through a beech forest, leading us to the stunning Dickson Valley.

Our campsite awaits beneath towering peaks, a secluded night retreat. In the evening, we revel in the Patagonian landscape, enjoying Chilean wine and snacks in this remote, beautiful sanctuary.

Day 4 – LOS PERROS

Hike:  6.8 miles/11 km – 5 hours – 2,132-ft/619-m elevation gain.

The day is challenging yet invigorating, as you leave the valley behind and ascend towards the higher backcountry.

We kick off with a hike through the dense forest, prelude to an invigorating ascent. This spirited hike fires up your muscles and your spirit, preparing you to traverse the captivating Los Perros River. You cross numerous bridges, hiking through old-growth forest under the gaze of Indian Head Mountain. Breathtaking vantage points reveal magical vistas of the vast Dickson Lake, crowned by its majestic glacier and icebergs drifting downstream.

You navigate a moraine field, hiking to a promontory with mind blowing views of the magnificent Los Perros Glacier and its iceberg-dotted lake. Hiking past the glacier, you venture deeper into the wilderness to find your forested campsite, a serene retreat under the stars.

Day 5 – GREY CAMP

Hike:  11.6 miles/18.6 km – 10 hours – 3,503-ft/1,067-m elevation gain.
Long day with a challenging ascent & descent.

Today marks our most demanding hike, with a steady climb from the forest to John Gardner Pass. It’s a challenging ascent, with rocky stretches and steep inclines.

Going higher, Patagonia’s vastness unfolds beneath us. Reaching El Paso, at the crest of John Gardner Pass, with luck we might be treated to the breathtaking view of the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap, a majestic landscape of glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls. 

The descent is challenging, through increasingly tricky terrain. The path, muddy and slippery, requires the aid of ropes, trees, and poles. 

Our journey then continues with the steep Ascent of the Tears, providing awe-inspiring views above the Glacier. Here we trek on rocky paths, metal ladders, and two suspension bridges, with each step revealing the dramatic scenery.

Day 6 – GLACIER HIKE – GREY BOAT – SERRANO RIVER

Glacier hike, boat and road transfer.  

Embark on an unforgettable glacier hike with our expert glacier guides.  Afterward, catch the Grey Boat from the Refugio, setting off on an extraordinary journey through iceberg-dotted Grey Lake. Experience the rush as we navigate frosty waters to reach scenic Grey Beach. You then disembark and take a brisk walk to the quaint village of Serrano, nestled on the edge of Torres del Paine and beside the stunning Serrano River. 

Here, you’ll be captivated by majestic views of the Paine Massif’s western face and enchanting Last Hope Sound. Your destination, the boutique Pampa Lodge, awaits by the Serrano River. Here there are unobstructed views of the imposing Paine Massif and Patagonia’s mesmerizing sunrises. Relax in your comfortable room, savor the fireside bar’s coziness, and indulge in local and international culinary delights at the restaurant.

Day 7 – FRENCH VALLEY – LOS CUERNOS

Hike:  13 miles/21 km – 10 hours – 1,750-ft/533-m elevation gain. 

Begin your thrilling day with a 30-minute catamaran voyage across the lake, setting the stage for an adventurous hike into the heart of the French Valley. This day is dedicated to exploring a grand amphitheater of granite, where lush forests, towering mountains, and majestic glaciers converge in a spectacle of nature’s artistry.
You depart the serene shores of Lake Pehoe, ascending a trail that skirts the picturesque Lake Skottsberg, meandering through dense forests toward the awe-inspiring French Valley. Witness the landscape’s transformation, with trails growing wetter, boggier, and forests denser, all against the stunning backdrop of the Paine mountain range’s granite wall.

Prepare to be enchanted by the valley’s enclosed grandeur, a natural amphitheater framed by imposing granite peaks, graced with the sparkling waters of lakes Pehoe, Skottsberg, Toro, and Nordenskjold. You navigate challenging terrain, traversing boggy trails and a dry riverbed, surrounded by rich forests and moraine.

After a day rich in exploration and stunning scenery, descend the valley towards the cozy embrace of Refugio Los Cuernos. Here, charming 2-person private cabins await, each with a balcony and log-burning stove, providing a perfect, tranquil end to an adventurous day.

Day 8 – W Trail – Las Torres

Hike:  9 mi/14.5km – 6-7 hours – 850-ft/260-m elevation gain. 

Embark on a breathtaking hike along the captivating shores of Lake Nordenskjold. This trail, a gem within the park, offers an up-close view of the imposing Horns of Paine, leading you across the Ascending Valley towards your next exciting stop at Las Torres.

Setting out from Refugio Los Cuernos, meander along the lake’s edge, heading east on a stunning yet gentle trail. Here, the grandeur of the Paine Massif mountain range looms over you, creating a spectacular backdrop for your journey.

As you near the valley, the welcoming sight of the Hotel Las Torres emerges, signaling an opportunity for well-deserved relaxation. Celebrate your trek with a refreshing cold drink and sink into the comfort of plush sofas, a perfect prelude to checking into your spacious and inviting rooms. This day promises not just a hike, but an immersion in the heart of Patagonia’s breathtaking beauty.

Day 9 – Hike the Towers – Puerto Natales

Hike:  11.8 mi/19 km – 8-9 hours – 3,291-ft/1,093-m elevation gain. Challenging ascent over glacial moraine. Long descent on the return. 

We take an early  epic hike to the base of the majestic Towers (Torres), a challenge that promises rewards beyond imagination. This adventure will have you navigating steep mountain paths, meandering rivers, deep valleys, and glacial moraine, each step bringing you closer to a breathtaking spectacle.

After a lunch set against this dramatic backdrop, you  retrace your steps to the trailhead, where your ride awaits to whisk you back to Puerto Natales, marking the conclusion of this remarkable journey. For those craving an even more unforgettable experience, seize the opportunity for a sunrise trek to witness the Towers bathed in a mesmerizing alpine glow.

We drive back to Puerto Natales, capping off a day filled with awe-inspiring vistas and exhilarating challenges.

Day 10 – Fly home

We take the morning to pack our gear, clean up and get ready for a drive to the airport for your flight home.

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