The Paine Big Circuit, also known as the O Circuit, is for bold trekkers searching for a truly entrancing Torres del Paine experience. On this 7-day endurance trekking and camping adventure, you’ll camp in remote areas and hike more than 100 km along one of the world’s classic trails, continually accompanied by granite mountains, countless glaciers, untamed weather, otherworldly lakes and spectacular views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
2 hours by private transfer / 8-10 hour round-trip (13 miles) / night at camping torres (BL-D).
We’ll pick you up in Puerto Natales at 7.30 am and travel to Torres del Paine National Park via unpaved roads and past lagoons and pampas; accompanied at times by the guanacos (relatives of llamas), grey foxes, flamingos and black-necked swans that call them home. Our first challenge is the ascent to the Towers base lookout point, following the Ascencio River into the Ascencio Valley. After our first hour’s trek we’ll pause to observe how the valley’s beauty unfolds with rich beech forests, glaciers and waterfalls. We’ll then continue uphill for another 90 minutes and prepare to ascend a gigantic terminal moraine (a ridge formed at a glacier’s end point). At the top, we’ll be rewarded by the arresting sight of the Towers themselves. At this lookout point 900 meters above sea level, the three granite spires appear to burst dramatically out of the rocky landscape, while at their base a green-blue lagoon provides a counterpoint of stillness. Here, we’ll have lunch and take pictures before beginning our descent down the same path and to our first campsite.
4-5 hours (5.5 miles) / night at serón campsite (B-BL-D).
Depending on the weather, our early morning start will be lit up by orange-tinged views of the Towers. Our path takes us through a very old forest of beech trees where we may hear woodpeckers or find fresh puma tracks. Today’s 9 km hike is the Circuit’s easiest and takes us via a well-marked, slightly sloping trail. Along the way, an exceptional view of Paine Chico Mountain will accompany us. Our destination is Serón Campsite, where we’ll set up camp and enjoy a replenishing dinner.
6-7 hours (11.4 miles) / night at dickson campsite (B-BL-D).
Depending on the season, today’s leg shows off the Park’s gorgeous floral delights, as orchids, calceolarias, violets and oxalis flower. Circling Paine Lake, several impressive mountain views will appear, such as Cerro Escudo and Cerro Cabeza del Indio (in which the profile of an Indian is seen as if carved into the rocks). At the beginning of the Paine River we’ll see the curved peak of Cerro Cubo, as well as Lake Dickson (a lake straddling Chile and Argentina). Tonight, we’ll set up camp at Dickson Campsite.
5 hours (5.6 miles) / night at los perros campsite (B-BL-D).
Today is a day to please the senses, filled with beautiful sights and textures. Often touted as one of the most beautiful sections of this wilder side of Torres del Paine, we’ll hike through ancient beech forests, wander undulating trails and follow Los Perros River. Mountains, waterfalls and lush vegetation will never be far away, as our trail crosses the river via suspension bridge and arrives at the base of our second terminal moraine; this time belonging to Glacier Los Perros, a hanging glacier that feeds the crystalline lagoon at its base. A final half hour hike takes us to today’s destination, Los Perros Campsite. Tonight’s campsite is the only one on the Circuit with hot showers and standard bathroom facilities such as flushing toilets.
10-11 hours (13.6 miles) / night at grey campsite (B-BL-D).
The most strenuous day of the Paine Circuit has arrived, bringing demanding trails and variable weather conditions. Of course, your efforts will be more than rewarded with some of Torres del Paine’s most heart-stirring landscapes, experienced by very few visitors to Torres del Paine. We’ll begin along a clear trail through forests, then make our way through swamp-like section before beginning our ascent to the John Gardner Pass. At this Pass, 1200 meters above sea level, Patagonia’s famous winds are strong and the views across Grey Glacier and of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field’s still unexplored peaks are astonishing. The trail now takes you alongside the glacier, ascending and descending through forests of fallen trees and beneath the imposing, almost muscular granite walls of Cordon Olguín. As we come closer to Grey Glacier we may see an ice calving (where chunks of ice break off a glacier’s edge). Tonight we’ll recharge at Grey Campsite.
3,5 hours (6.8 miles) / night at paine grande campsite (B-BL-D).
Our morning begins slowly, resting and stretching around camp. Depending on your energy levels, choose from several options this morning. Walk to the Grey Glacier’s lookout point and watch for ice calvings on its massive walls; complete an ice hike with the aid of crampons; or kayak on Grey Lake, paddling around icebergs and in front of the glacier. Later, we’ll have lunch at the Refugio and hike to Pehoe Lake. (Ice hike and kayaking expedition at an additional fee, advance booking required, please contact our Travel Specialists).
7-8 hours (10.5 miles) / 35 minutes by catamaran / 2 hours by private transfer (B-BL).
Today's destination, the French Valley, is a spectacular natural basin surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers. This is a return hike, so we will be able to leave our packs behind and trek lightly. We start by walking around Paine Grande, the highest peak in Torres del Paine, through native Patagonian firebush and evergreen beech forests. At the suspension bridge over the French River, the arresting hanging glacier atop the valley will come into sight. From here, we’ll walk for another hour, ascending 300m through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the lookout point (the “Plateau”). Your reward is a heart-stirring bird’s eye view of granite peaks and hanging glaciers. To one side, the French Glacier and Paine Grande (3050 m); while to the other, La Espada, La Hoja, La Máscara and the main and north “horns” of Los Cuernos arch upwards. In the upper section of the Valley, Cerro Catedral and Cerro Fortaleza loom like turrets above the landscape. We’ll take our time to have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies. Our return hike is along the same track, and the catamaran will take us back across Pehoe Lake to meet our private transfer back to Puerto Natales.More...
- Difficulty : Strenuous.
- Equipment : Recommend equipment for low temperatures
- Important : Recommend travel insurance.
- Prices : All prices depend on the number of travelers.
- Single Tent Supplement : USD $250.
- All the private transportation indicated in the schedule.
- Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park.
- All meals indicated in the schedule (B: breakfast, BL: picnic lunch, D: menu dinner).
- 6 nights lodging at campsites.
- 4 season tents (based on double occupancy).
- Porters to carry the camping gear and the food.
- Catamaran to cross Pehoe Lake.
- Guide (English-Spanish languages).
- Guide ratio: 1:6 guests.
We will pick you up at 7.30 am with our private transport at your Puerto Natales hotel and take you to Torres del Paine National Park.
Read our Terms and Conditions where our cancellation policies and changes are defined. Always remember to plan your trips in advance.