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 our favorite hikes, enjoying dramatic landscapes and wildlife sightings off-the-beaten-trails.
5 Hiking Days
*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, guests' compromised health, or any other unexpected event.
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: WILD HORSES
The day begins with a second breakfast in Pito's puesto (gaucho's refuge during summer pasture), out in the middle of nowhere, between mountain ranges and grazing lands. Many are unaware that the upper east side of Torres del Paine National Park is refuge to a big herd of Wild Horses, called Baguales. From his puesto, the veterinarian and local guide has been studying the herd for over 10 years. After a cup of coffee with baileys, he happily shares his project with you.
On this very informative hike, you will not only track and learn about the wild horses, but you will also be able to contemplate the abundant native flora and fauna. Pito will take you off trail in a restricted area of the National Park, where not many have set foot before you.
Day 4: FERRIER & PINGO
Situated on the western side of the National Park, Ferrier and Pingo are two off-the-beaten-track gems unknown 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 plateau overlooking the Grey River, Lake, and Glacier, but also the southern and western parts of the National Park. The climb is steep and muddy, and once again, be aware of the wind!
Due to the 2011-2012 forest fire that burned more than 40,000 acres of the park, Pingo's access is restricted to the general public. This protected area is one of the last primary 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. The trail follows the Pingo river for abour 4.5 km until reaching a wonderful waterfall.
Day 5: CONDOR'S NEST
This hike will take you back in time, to when this land was inhabited by giants. You will first explore the Milodon Cave and its surroundings. Carved by glaciers and paleolakes, this cave sheltered the first inhabitants of Patagonia and its megafauna, including sabretooth tigers, and the famous Milodon.
Then, you will take a trail that leads to the top of Cerro Benitez, overlooking the beautiful Laguna Sofía. On the way, you will pass enchanted forests, cave paintings, and very unusual conglomerate rock formations... where condors love to nest. A little bit of wind and you will have them flying right over your head.
**MIX AND MATCH: all of our excursions are adjustable and interchangeable. Let us know what excursions call your attention and let's work together to create the perfect itinerary for you!