Valparaiso is host to street art and murals on practically every building and street corner.

Valparaiso

The ascensors are a quick, albeit rickety, way to bypass walking up some of Valparaiso's steep hills.

This article is the last in a series of five detailing each day of the W-Circuit trek in Torres del Paine National Park. The trek was completed starting with the Glacier Grey leg and going west-to-east, though it can be completed in the opposite direction as well.

The Base las Torres are one of South America's most distinctive natural landmarks and the most visited sight in Torres del Paine.

The trail from Torres Central goes through the Valle Ascencio and then up a steep ascent to the base itself. If you've summited a 14er before, it is a comparable hike. You can also camp at the Chileno campsite which is much closer to the base. Head out early in the morning to give yourself enough time. While many plan to take iconic sunrise photos of the Torres, in practice it is extremely difficult to reach the base before dawn and visibility is far from guaranteed.

Valle Ascencio Valle Ascencio


Unless the weather is truly adverse to the point that ascending is treacherous you should continue up. Don't get discouraged if visibility is poor and assume you won't be able to see the Torres, weather conditions can shift rapidly and there is no telling what you will encounter at the top. I ran into cloudy weather that lifted around 10 minutes after reaching the mirador.

Base Las Torres Base Las Torres


The mirador sits along a small lake that has formed at the base of the torres. It can get a little crowded in the early afternoon.

Base Las Torres Base Las Torres


One advantage of ending the W-Circuit at Base las Torres is that it feels like more of an accomplishment and a capstone to the trek.

Base Las Torres Torres del Paine


You'll want to make sure to time your descent back to Torres Central to catch the shuttle bus back to the park entrance in time to catch the bus back to Puerto Natales unless you staying the night.


Other articles in this series:
Day I: Park Entry & Glacier Gray
Day II: Return to Paine Grande
Day III: Valle Frances (French Valley)
Day IV: Cuernos to Torres Central

This article is the fourth in a series of five detailing each day of the W-Circuit trek in Torres del Paine National Park. The trek was completed starting with the Glacier Grey leg and going west-to-east, though it can be completed in the opposite direction as well.

Getting from Cuernos to Torres Central takes approximately 4 hours. It is fairly flat and you'll follow along Lago Nordenskjöld most of the way.

Torres del Paine N.P. Torres del Paine N.P.


The lakes in Torres del Paine are really tiers of cascading glacial water flowing all the way to the ocean eventually.

Torres del Paine N.P. Torres del Paine N.P.


Torres Central is the only stop on the W-Circuit with road access outside the park and has the most services.

Torres del Paine N.P. Torres del Paine N.P.


I had time to kill in the afternoon after getting to Torres Central. I headed east partway up the trail to Seron, which is the next stop along the O-Circuit, after I left most of my gear at the refugio. There are some great views back towards Torres Central from this trail and an abundance of wildflowers and meadows.

Torres del Paine N.P. Torres del Paine N.P.


The path to Seron is densely forested compared to the W-Circuit routes. The 2011 wildfires did not reach this part of the park.

Torres del Paine N.P. Torres del Paine N.P.


Other articles in this series:
Day I: Park Entry & Glacier Gray
Day II: Return to Paine Grande
Day III: Valle Frances (French Valley)
Day V: Base Las Torres Ascent

Valle Frances

The French Valley ascent will be your longest day when completing the W-Circuit. You can expect to take 5-7 hours to complete a round-trip to the end of the valley along with several hours on each end between campgrounds and refugios.

This article is the third in a series of five detailing each day of the W-Circuit trek in Torres del Paine National Park. The trek was completed starting with the Glacier Grey leg and going west-to-east, though it can be completed in the opposite direction as well.

The third day of a five-day W-Circuit trek will be your longest regardless of which direction you choose to tackle it in. You can expect an average of 10 hours of hiking on this day. You'll spend around 2.5 hours hiking from Paine Grande to Campamento Italiano, the base of the French Valley trail. Heading up the French Valley and back takes another 3-6 hours, this can vary quite a bit depending on your physical fitness and weather conditions. Italiano to the Cuernos campground and refugio takes another 1.5 hours, you can also choose to camp at Italiano and bypass Cuernos the next day by continuing on to Torres Central. You should leave Paine Grande shortly after dawn so you don't feel rushed later in the day.

Lago Skottsberg is along the trail from Paine Grande to Campamento Italiano. You'll see the aftermath of the 2011 fire that burned the forest in this area and was responsible for the open flame restrictions in the park today.

Lago Skottsberg Lago Skottsberg


The French Valley can be prone to inclement weather that will block your view of anything. You may want to skip it if this seems to be the case. The staff at the refugios will have weather forecasts on hand. The valley is the middle leg of the "W" and if you follow it to the end you'll have a panoramic view of the mountains.

Valle Frances Valle Frances


You'll follow the river for much of the French Valley ascent and will see glacial water pouring down from the surrounding peaks.

Valle Frances Valle Frances


Mirador Británico is the final outlook in the French Valley.

Valle Frances Valle Frances


An interesting beach with black and white rocks is located on the shore of Lago Nordenskjöld along the way to Cuernos.

Torres del Paine N.P. Torres del Paine N.P.


Other articles in this series:
Day I: Park Entry & Glacier Gray
Day II: Return to Paine Grande
Day IV: Cuernos to Torres Central
Day V: Base Las Torres Ascent