Off The Beaten Paine
5 Hiking Days in Torres del Paine
Off The Beaten Paine is designed for avid trekkers and adventurers who travel for the hidden gems. Madre Roca invites you to come appreciate Patagonia away from the peak season crowds. In this program, you will roam through inédit trails, enjoying dramatic landscapes and wildlife sightings off-the-beaten-trails.
Day 1: CERRO PAINE
This hike is an incredible opportunity to see the Towers from elsewhere than the heavily-traveled Base of the Towers trek. Summiting Cerro Paine will not only give you an imposing view over the Towers, but also a 360° lookout on the eastern side of the National Park. The climb is relatively long and steep, making it a high-difficulty rated hike. But the view at the top will make you forget the sweat.
Cerro Paine is the mountain located on the east side of the Paine mountain range, and getting to the top is no easy task. Often, especially in the spring and summer time, the strong Patagonian winds keep you from reaching its abrupt and narrow small stretch of a summit. In the fall and the winter, it is the amount of snow and white winds that might make you have to turn around. But if you reach the top, you will be glancing at the towers from an altitude of 1.550 m (~5,850 ft).
The trail will first take you through the Patagonian pre-andean scrubland, then the nothofagus forest, and finally the andean desert. This last part is made of switch-backs in a never-ending hillside consisting of losen and small rocks. If weather and conditions allow, you will be facing the imposing Towers during most of the climb. Moreover, you will be able to laugh at the indian file of people on the Base of the Towers trail looking like little ants from a distance, while you will be enjoying the silence and solitude this hike provides.
Observations: trekking boots and poles are a must for this excursion, as well as gloves and sun glasses; gaters will be of great help too.
Day 2: LAZO WEBER
Lazo Weber trek offers fantastic views all along. The trail is situated in the southern part of Torres del Paine National Park, away from the main attractions, allowing for a whole view over the Paine mountain range, and more. Here is another occasion to avoid the crowds and go off the beaten track in one of the most visited parks in the country. Moreover, it is a one-way trip, with a constantly changing landscape.
The hike is mostly through flatlands, including gradual ups and downs. At the end awaits a very rewarding lookout that offers 360° views on the Paine mountain range as well as the southern lakes and snow-caped mountains. The greatest difficulty of this hike is the last steep downhill, with an elevation loss of ~300 m in less than 1 km. And, as always, watch out for the wind!
Day 3: VALLE FRANCÉS
The famous French Valley is renown for its scenic and ever-changing landscape. You will walk through the Patagonian steppe, burned forests, living forests, glacier moraines... You will pass through lakes and lagoons, hanging glaciers with their occasional avalanches... To finally reach an amphitheater of granite formations! Exceptional views guaranteed all throughout!
The day begins with a 30 minutes catamaran ride on the Pehoé lake, to start the hike from Paine Grande lodge. From there, you will make it to the Italian Campsite, and further into the valley, making sure you turn around at a reasonable hour in order to make it to your boat ride back on time! Otherwise you will be stuck in Paine Grande for another day... When camping may not have been part of your original plan!
Day 4: FERRIER & PINGO
Situated on the west side of the National Park, Ferrier and Pingo are two off-the-beaten-track gems unknow to many travelers. Ferrier is an incredible lookout over the Patagonian Southern Ice Fields, and Pingo is an adventure through one of the last forests not affected by fires!
Ferrier's lookout trail begins at the Grey Lake ranger station. It is a climb of about 650 m to reach a giant boulder overlooking the Grey River, Lake, and Glacier, but also the southern and western parts of the National Park. The climb is steep and muddy, so be ready to sweat! And once again, be aware of the wind!
Due to the 2011-2012 forest fire that burned about 20% of the park, Pingo's access is restricted to the general public. The trail follows the Pingo river for 4.5km until it reaches a pristine waterfall. Walking through these woods will make you feel like you are back in the times when the park had barely any visitors, long before the landscape had been affected by their activity.
This protected area is one of the last rain forests in the National Park. Many species of animals and plants found refuge in this area, making for a hike rich in flora and fauna. In particular, you might have the chance to find Huemules, the critically endangered South Andean deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus), and several types of orchids, depending on the time of the year.
Day 5: LAGUNA AZUL
The last day is to relax... Enjoy a short wildlife hike on your way to the beautiful Blue Lake. Guanacos (Lama guanicoe in the picture below), Andean Foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus), Skunks (Conepatus humboldtii), Armadillos (Zaedyus pichiy), Lesser Rheas (Rhea pennata), and Condors (Vultur gryphus) are on the menu! From Laguna Azul, if weather allows, you will enjoy the Towers from afar accompanied by a tasty picnic. More hikes are available around the lake for those who do not need a nap after lunch
** Please note that for the safety of all participants, the specialized guide has full authority to cancel or modify the itinerary due to adverse weather conditions. In addition, all of our packages are adjustable and interchangeable. Let us know what excursions call your attention and let's work together to create the perfect itinerary for you!