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Summer vacation at Torres del Paine

The journey to the base of the three towers

Diego Salas

There are many trails inside and outside of the Torres del Paine National Park limits, each one covering different landscapes and with varying levels of difficulty.  Nevertheless, one of the most famous walks among travelers is undoubtledly the trek to the base of the three towers.

This is the toughest excursion available on the ample menu of adventures offered by Tierra Patagonia.  In total it is a 21 kilometer walk, through a winding trail completely surrounded by nature, which averages about eight hours in total – four hours going up and then four hours to return, with many ups and downs.

This hike is not for everyone.  Even for those experienced hikers, it’s important to be meticulous in preparing for this excursion.  To do so safely and responsibly, certain requirements must be met.  For example, having the appropriate shoes and clothes; not having any previous injuries that could worsen during the journey; and having a physical fitness level capable of walking for an extended period of time, which will also likely include adverse weather conditions.

During the hike, depending on the time of year, it is very probable that we will experience rain, strong winds, or snow, and even all of these at the same time.  This is why it’s important to use trekking boots and to dress in layers, which will allow us to remove or add clothes depending on what we need in the moment, without losing pace or carrying too much unnecessary weight.

Torres Del Paine national park, Chile, Patagonia
photo:Adam Clark

One of the first recommendations the guides at Tierra Patagonia will make is to do an easier trekking excursion before attempting this difficult hike.  This way, both the guest and the hotel’s excursions team will be able to make a general evaluation before heading out to the base of the three towers.

This beautiful adventure can be divided into three parts.  In the first part, the trail starts up a steep incline over dirt and rocks.  We head off early in the morning, so the temperature will be quite cold.  Nevertheless, it’s very likely that you’ll warm up during this part of the walk and won’t need too many layers.  It is at this point where, if you look up from the trail, you can admire the entire Patagonian landscape from above.

In the second part of the hike, we enter a native forest, completely changing the environment.  Not just the view, but the feeling of this stage also changes, a bit easier than the previous up-hill hike, alternating inclines, flat parts, and downhill declines.  The humidity and shade of the forest may make you want to put on a few more layers, and is also a good place to take a break for water or a light snack.

It’s important that we pace ourselves and fuel our bodies properly to ensure we have enough energy for the third and final stage of the hike.  Here, the trail gets tough, with the steep slope of loose rocks complicating the final scramble to the top, and even more so if it’s raining.  But all of the effort will pay off once we arrive, finally, at the feet of the famous Torres del Paine.  You will undoubtedly be moved by this natural monument’s incredible beauty.

Once we’ve finished enjoying this moment, our group of adventurers will head back down the same trail we came up, but this time we’ll walk full of pride for having accomplished our goal.  Though we may be tired, it’s important to keep up the pace in order to make it down the trail before the sun sets.  Luckily, for some reason, the trail feels shorter on the way back.  Most likely, the emotions and thoughts that an experience like this can bring up, help us to lose track of time.

As the journey comes to an end, we’ll forget about the fatigue when we arrive at the van to take us back to the hotel, where we’ll be greeted with a celebratory well-earned and delicious snack.

Of course, the best way to rest and recover after this exhausting trek, is to head to the Uma Spa at Tierra Patagonia.  Your body will be thankful for the wide variety of natural treatments and massages available.  Plan your adventure with us.  We look forward to having you!