Hike around the Paine Massif on the “O” Circuit
Encircling the entire Paine Massif, the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, the Paine or “O” Circuit is world-famous for its views and challenging sections, offering the ultimate outdoor endurance challenge for trekkers and adrenaline junkies. Stopping at all the popular W Trek sights such as the base of the Torres, French Valley, and Grey Glacier, the Paine Circuit ups the ante by taking trekkers through the John Gardner Pass, renowned for its views, to the Dickson Glacier, and more. Think you’re up to the test? Let’s find out!
After pick-up from your Punta Arenas hotel or the airport (with the alternative option to start your trip from El Calafate in Argentina), you’ll be driven to EcoCamp Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park, with stops in Puerto Natales for lunch and a stop at the Cueva de Milodon. After dinner, you’ll spend the night in your own EcoCamp Dome, getting ready for the trek to start tomorrow.
Starting from EcoCamp, we hike along the bank of the Rio Paine, stopping to enjoy the views of Lago Paine and the surrounding landscapes, on the way to Camp Dickson, our stop for the night. At Camp Dickson, we can see the Dickson Glacier and parts of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
From Camp Dickson, we head along the Los Perros river through the most remote and wild part of the trek, passing the Los Perros Glacier and through a beech forest to get to Laguna Los Perros, stopping at Camp Los Perro for the night.
From Los Perros, we head up through the John Gardner Pass, the highest point of the circuit and a true challenge for any trekker, but well worth it for the amazing views of the Grey Glacier, Grey Lake, and the landscapes spread out below us at the foot of the Paine Massif. We stop at Camp Grey for the night.
From Camp Grey, we walk along the eastern side of Grey Lake, with the option of a kayaking excursion in the morning. Passing through Calafate bushes, we head down toward shallower, dry valley toward Lake Pehoe, where we’ll stop for the night.
Today, we head up into the heart of the Paine Massif again to visit the French Valley (Valle Frances), trekking to the far end of the valley by the French River, surrounding by the famous geological mountain formations the valley is famous for. We spend the night at Camp Frances.
Today, we head along the Los Cuernos Trail in front of the Paine Massif, walking alongside the aquamarine waters of Lake Nordenskjold, admiring the flora and fauna and learning about the various wildlife and plants that call the park home. We end the day and spend the night at EcoCamp Patagonia.
After breakfast, we hike up through the Ascencio Valley along what is arguably the park’s most famous trek, to the base of the Torres. Passing through forests and tackling a huge moraine of rocks, we reach the ultimate prize: the iconic lookout at the base of the three granite spires for which the park is named. We return the way we came to EcoCamp for the night.
|Data / Day||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7||Day 8||Day 9|
|Seron - Dickson||Dickson - Perros||Perros - Gardner-Grey||Grey - Pehoe||Valle del Frances Trail||Los Cuernos Trail||Las Torres Trail||leave
|Starting Point||EcoCamp Patagonia||Camp Dickson||Camp Perros||Camp Grey||Camp Pehoe||Camp Cuernos||EcoCamp Patagonia|
|Finishing Point||Camp Dickson||Camp Perros||Camp Grey||Camp Pehoe||Camp Cuernos||EcoCamp Patagonia||EcoCamp Patagonia|
|appx. Walking Time||11 hrs||5 hrs||12 hrs||5 hrs||8 hrs||7 hrs||10 hrs|
|Distance||29 km / 18 miles||9 km / 5 miles||22 km / 14 miles||11 km / 7 miles||25 km / 15 miles||16 km / 10 miles||21 km / 13 miles|
|max Altitude Point||300 m / 984 feet||500 m / 1640 feet||1200 m / 3937 feet||400 m / 1312 feet||686 m / 2250 feet||244 m / 800 feet||914 m / 3000 feet|