Trekking The Torres del Paine O Circuit In Patagonia Chile

This guide is part of a series of post to help you plan your Torres del Paine O Circuit hike, check out these resources to learn more.

How To Prepare For Hiking The Torres Del Paine Circuit
Torres del Paine O, W and Q Trekking Routes
Great maps can be found here

Torres del Paine National Park

We set out for Torres del Paine National Park one day before we were due to start the O Circuit Trek. Due to reservation issues, we were forced to push our trek back a couple of days in order to reserve the camps we wanted. This was not a big inconvenience since we had plenty of time but to make the most of it, we followed a tip from our camp host in Puerto Natales at the Yellow Plum. He said if we took the bus to Camp Pehoe, we would get a beautiful view of the mountain range since the camp is on the southern side of the park. He was spot on, I’m so glad we didn’t miss this gem!

The bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park is a short two-hour drive and arrives at Laguna Amarga (15,000 CLP RT). Here we had to register with the park administration and pay the entrance fee (21,000 CLP). After paying, there was a short video that explains the rules of the park such as camping and fire restrictions. They made it clear that we would go to jail and pay huge fines if we started a fire anywhere due to the past devastating wildfires that have destroyed massive parts of the park.

view of mountains and clouds over the lake

Camp Pehoe (10,000 CLP/Camping)

From Laguna Amarga, we hopped back on the bus which continues through the park. First, it stopped at the Catamaran, then our destination, Camp Pehoe. The camp is one of the few that doesn’t require reservations even after the new regulations and they also allow fires! Yes, even after reading and signing papers that say you will go to jail if you start a fire anywhere in the park, we were able to. Confusing, but it made for a relaxing night under the bright stars.

In the morning, the view from camp Pehoe was stunning. Clouds formed over the lake with the distant mountains towering over. The colors of the water along with the reflection made one of the best views of the trip and we hadn’t even started hiking yet!

Concessions available:

  • Basic grocery at high cost (pasta, sauce, chocolate, cookies)
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Bathrooms
  • Hot showers

From Pehoe we hopped back on the bus to the main entrance, Laguna Amarga, en route to the O Circuit.

view of the torres with a lake and glacier in the background

My Detailed O Circuit Hiking Route:

Day 1: Torres Central Camping (8,500 CLP/Camping)

At Laguna Amarga, we hopped on the shuttle bus to get a ride to FantasitcoSur’s Torres Central camping area (3,000 CLP). It is possible to walk to Central but it is about 4.4mi (7km) on the roadside.

Note: If you are starting the O Circuit directly from the bus, there is a shortcut from Laguna Amarga to Seron that bypasses Central.

Torres Central is a large campground that is often packed, especially during the summer high season. Refugio Central and Hotel Las Torres are also located here. From Central we day hiked to the famous Torres. The hike was about 11.25mi (18km) and took around 8-9 hours.

Concessions available:

  • Basic grocery
  • Coffee & tea
  • Fuel & basic camp supplies
  • Bathrooms
  • Hot showers

Distance:

  • Torres Central Camping to Torres: 12mi (19km)
A horse standing in a field with a mountain in the background at torres del paine

Day 2: Campamento Seron (5,000 CLP/Camping)

We left Torres Central en route for Campamento Seron for the first day of the O Circuit. The hike was fairly easy with one gradual climb followed by a steep descent. There were a lot of horse grazing along the trail and beautiful views to take in. The final 2.9Mi (3km)  were gentle and flat along a glacial river.

Campamento Seron had basic facilities but plenty of hot water, which was refreshing.

In the morning, we woke up to ice on our tents.

Concessions available:

  • Hot showers
  • Coffee & Tea

Distance:

  • Torres Central Camping to Campamento Seron: 8mi (13km)
sunset reflection over lake dickson

Day 3: Refugio Dickson (21,000 CLP Refugio Bed, 7,000 CLP Camping)

The hike from Seron to Refugio Dickson was similar to the previous trek except for one large steep climb. But, once at the top, the scenery changed to snow covered mountains and crystal clear lakes. A great reward for pushing up the hill.

Coming into Dickson we were graced with a nice view of a massive glacier in the distance. In camp, I walked down to the pristine glacial river and took in the sunset.  It was favorite camp and the most beautiful along the Circuit Trek.

Note: When I was booking camps online, the only option was to stay in the Refugio but I met many people that booked in person just two days before in Puerto Natales. Although camping would have saved a bit of money, the comfort of a bed and heat from the wood stove was well worth it. Also, I saw the meals that were prepared at the Refugio, if purchased, and they were nicer than any meal I had in months. At 23usd, it looked well worth it considering the location.

I also noticed many hikers enjoying cookies from the camp store and I couldn’t resist! At 2,000 CLP per pack, I decided they would be my moral boosting cookies.

Concessions available:

  • Basic grocery at high cost (pasta, sauce, chocolate, cookies)
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Alcohol & Soda
  • Bathrooms
  • Hot showers

Distance:

  • Campamento Seron to Refugio Dixson: 11.25mi (18km)
holding an iceburg from lake los perros

Day 4: Campamento Los Perros (5,000 CLP/Camping)

Hiking up to Los Perros appears difficult by the map but the hike really wasn’t hard at all. The gradual climb was easy compared to the previous days and seemed to pass by quickly with more amazing scenery in every direction.

Towards the end of the trek, the Los Perros Glacier appeared. We spend about 15min watching the glacier and were lucky to see it break a couple times. Then just a quick hike down and we were at the glacial lake where I went fishing for an iceberg!

Just a couple minutes up the trail and we were at Camp Los Perros. The campsite is very basic without hot water although there is a nice indoor kitchen. They also sold cookies!

Concessions available:

  • Basic grocery at high cost (pasta, sauce, chocolate, cookies)
  • Bathrooms

Distance:

  • Refugio Dickson to Los Perros: 7.5mi (12km)
view from john gardener pass in torres del paine with glacier grey in the background

 Day 5: Campamento Paso: (Free Camping)

The hike to Paso is one of the highlights of the O Circuit hike as we had to climb over the John Gardner Pass. Climbing up to the John Gardner Pass and getting the first glimpse of Glacier Grey was truly unforgettable. Luckily the weather was perfect beside a few clouds.

After a mandatory photo shoot, we began the 2600ft (800m) decent to Campamento Paso which seemed like it will never end. The trail is full of knee-jarring steep steps and very few switchbacks. Then, when my legs were almost ready to give out, there was a sign that said Paso was 3km away. Luckily, the sign was wrong and we only had about 1/2mi (1km) left before arriving at Campamento Paso.

Note: Most people won’t get a booking for Paso because it is small so the majority of hikers will be forced to continue to Grey. We were lucky enough to get a reservation although this is why we pushed our hike back a few days.

Concessions available:

  • Bathrooms

Distance:

  • Los Perros to Campamento Paso: 5mi (8km)
person crossing a suspension bridge next to glacier gery with mountain in the background

Day 6: Refugio Grey (5,000 CLP/Camping)

The best stretch of the circuit (and arm of the W trek) was on this day as we hiked 6.5mi (10km) along the massive Glacier Grey. The trail had a few small ups and downs but was relatively easy going. One of the highlights in this section were the 3 huge suspension bridges that are up to 165ft (50m) high.

Arriving atRefugio Grey was a shock after being on the backside of the park for a few days. All of the W hikers and day hikers just arriving via the catamaran now joined us. Refugio Grey was a full-blown lodge with a restaurant and bar, which we gladly visited as they had a wood burning fireplace. And Pisco.

Concessions available:

  • Basic grocery at high cost
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Bathrooms
  • Hot showers
  • Indoor kitchen
  • A nice lodge and warm fire

Distance:

  • Campamento Paso to Refugio Grey: 6.25mi (10km)
hiking near glacier grey with mountains in the background

Day 7: Paine Grande (6,000 CLP/Camping)

The hike to Paine Grande was easy moving and a relatively short day along Lake Grey. We arrived at Paine Grande and were again shocked by the size of the lodge. They had a cafeteria where we found irresistible food. Not that it was anything special, it just wasn’t camp food. Sold.

Concessions available:

  • Grocery at high cost (meat, pasta, chocolate, cookies)
  • Cafeteria (pizza!)
  • Bathrooms
  • Hot showers
  • Indoor kitchen

Distance:

  • Refugio Grey to Paine Grande: 6.8mi (11km)
selfie with a blue lake and mountains in the background

Day 8: Campamento Italiano (Free Camping)

The hike to Italiano was another short and easy day compared to other parts of the O Circuit. Once at Italiano, we set up our tent, grabbed our day packs and headed up the Valle Frances to the mirador to catch a view of the Frances Glacier. This beauty broke many times while we watched and the crashing sound kept us intrigued for a long time.

Back at Italiano, a free CONAF camp, there was a covered cooking area but the water supply was a short walk down to the river. The camp official noted that there was a problem with mice breaking into hikers packs and food stashes so we were careful to pay close attention to our food.

Concessions available:

  • Bathroom

Distance:

  • Paine Grande to Campamento Italiano: 5mi (8km) + 2.5 (4km)
a Puma walking in brown grass in Torres del Paine National Park Chile

 Day 9: Out To Central

Our last day was hiking out to Central which by map, says it is 7.5 hours but it only took us 6 hours. The elevation rarely changed other than a few quick hills. Once we made it to the ‘shortcut’ junction to Chileno, we used our adrenaline to push us on to the finish line.

Depending on the map and the hiker, we covered about 75 miles (120km) while hiking the Torres del Paines O Circuit and without a doubt saw some of the most incredible nature in the world.

Once we arrived at Torres Central Camping, I took advantage of the hot shower and made some food before hopping on the 7 pm bus back to Puerto Natales.

Distance:

  • Campamento Italiano to Torres Central: 11.25mi (18km)

And just when we thought we were leaving the park without seeing the majestic Puma, one came out of hiding a couple hundred meters from the bus. Perfect!

Torres del Paine Circuit Distance Overview:

  • Torres Central Camping to Las Torres: 12mi (19km)
  • Torres Central Camping to Campamento Seron: 8mi (13km)
  • Campamento Seron to Refugio Dickson: 11.25mi (18km)
  • Refugio Dickson to Los Perros: 7.5mi (12km)
  • Los Perros to Campamento Paso: 5mi (8km)
  • Campamento Paso to Refugio Grey: 6.25mi (10km)
  • Refugio Grey to Paine Grande: 6.8mi (11km)
  • Paine Grande to Campamento Italiano: 5mi (8km) + 2.5 (4km)
  • Campamento Italiano to Torres Central: 11.25mi (18km)

 

Torres del Paine Ciruit Map:

This guide is part of a series of post:

To help plan your Torres del Paine hike, check out these resources to learn more.

How To Prepare For Torres del Paine Trekking
Torres Del Paine O Circuit, W and Q Trekking Routes

torres del paine national park pinterest graphic
2017-06-22T22:26:36+00:00

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