Hiking the Torres del Paine W Circuit is not for the faint of heart, but is worth every single step and heavily rewards its hikers with scenery you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Here’s our do’s and don’ts for trekking the Torres del Paine W Circuit.
DO find out the difficulty of the trek you plan to do (But also be flexible to change the itinerary order once in the park due of weather changes).
DO be totally honest and realistic with yourself about your fitness level and outdoor hiking experience.
If you are in doubt, DO ask the national park staff to recommend you an appropriate walk for your experience and fitness level.
DO find out about the forecast (ask locals, or check this out) and always be prepared for all four seasons in one day.
DO respect the recommendations of park rangers, who represent the authority in the park.
DO check in at the park entrance, register and get your “mountain pass” which you must keep visible.
DO pack light: a 60-65 liter backpack should be okay for 4 days and a 10 liter backpack if you stay in Refugios.
DO bring technical outdoor clothing.
DO wear proper hiking boots, and waterproof ones are much better. Make sure they are not brand new when you begin hiking. If you just bought them for the trip, use them before: try them out by running and climbing as your feet will be your main transportation and must be okay.
DO always have handy: rain and windproof gear, warm clothes (hat, gloves, scarf) and extra snacks for your hikes; there is nowhere to buy refreshments along the footpaths.
DO carry a waterproof cover for your backpack and camera.
DO keep in mind the total duration of the walk so you can always be back by night.
Do walk only on the allowed paths and never go off them, don’t try to do any shortcuts.
Inside the national park, DO keep your eyes wide open to all the indications in your way.
DO register in every park ranger stations.
DO use UV protection glasses when observing glaciers.
DO use UV sunblock even if the sun isn’t visible.
DO carry a bag for litter and take it ALL out of the park.
If you find any garbage left on your way, DO take it back out of the park
DO camp only in places where camping is allowed and always keep the camps clean and tidy.
DO Respect the sleep of other campers
DO NOT MAKE A FIRE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!!!! (Law 20.653).
Since 1980, there have been 18 fires destroying 30 % of the vegetation in the park. The use of camping kitchens is only allowed in the authorized places designed for it. Smoking is also restricted to authorized spots.
DON’T walk alone. Walks are very well signposted and you will find many hikers along the trails, but it is STRONGLY advised to walk in companion.
DON’T leave food or leftovers that might attract wild animals into the camp.
DON’T leave seeds or any organic material in the camp, it MUST be carried out with you.
DON’T leave litter, human leftovers or detergent into the water courses. Keep soap and detergent in a separate recipient out of the watercourses.
DON’T leave any batteries in the camps, take them out to the nearest town.
DON’T make contact (or make the least amount of contact possible) with the animals. Remember you are a visitor.
This is the natural habitat of the puma, and even though it is quite difficult to find any trace of it, it’s important to have in mind:
Do not walk in solitary paths and, if you are with children, DO NOT let them wander too far.
DON’T bring pets.
In case you have the luck to meet a puma, keep calm and do not run. Try to make yourself bigger by raising your arms and do not crouch. Go back slowly without giving your back to the animal.
Written by Patricia Wissar