Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is often regarded as South America’s finest. Many tourists visit because they can see some of the park’s most iconic peaks and glacial lakes from the comfort of a bus. Hikers can easily access much of what the park has to offer in a four-day hike known as the W Circuit (so-called because the route resembles a W when viewed on a map.)
From the monolithic Torres del Paine to the distinctive Cuernos del Paine and the jagged peaks of the Paine Massif there is much reward for relatively moderate effort, punctuated by evenings spent in comfortable refugios along the trail. But it isn’t all about mountains. Expect open steppes and ancient beech forests competing for your attention with the tongues of immense glaciers jutting into electric blue lakes. A truly magical place.
Photos by Robert A. Mitchell Jr.