20 Photos of Torres del Paine That Will Make You Want to Pack Your Backpack

In Blog, Chile, Destinations, Inspiration, National Parks, Photography, South America, Torres del Paine by Kay2 Comments

I’d been dreaming of traveling to Patagonia since back in high school, when my father described it as one of the most spectacular places in the world. In November, I finally got the chance to see Torres del Paine for myself. It didn’t disappoint.On the Thursday before Thanksgiving week, I took off from Houston with a full backpack and a twinge of anxiety. Two flights, two buses and a catamaran later, I found myself on the shores of Paine Grande campsite in Torres del Paine National Park, eager for the adventure of a lifetime and curious about the days to come.

The stunning view from the catamaran into the park

What I found is that Chilean Patagonia is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. With its beautiful glaciers, stunning craggy peaks, and verdant hills, my 6 days there strongly reinforced my new-found love of the mountains. Everywhere I looked, there was something to see that took my breath away. These photographs don’t even do it justice. Chilean Patagonia is the stuff of dreams, and there’s nowhere in the world quite like it.

Hiking to Grey Campsite

The first day was admittedly the hardest, since I was getting used to carrying my heavy pack around. However, the stunning views of the surrounding peaks and lagoons made the hike worth it.

Clear skies and beautiful clouds on the way to Grey campsite

 

A picturesque place to spend a night

 

Grey Glacier

After my first night camping, I spent an entire morning walking around the side of Grey glacier, listening to it creak and rumble under the summer sun. The wind whipped my face as I sat on the rocks next to the glacier, admiring its sky-blue color, its size, and its beauty.

A tiny glimpse of the very edge of Grey glacier

 

Admiring the peace and quiet of the morning alongside this magnificent glacier

 

Paine Grande Campsite

On the second morning, I woke up an hour earlier than I meant to, and caught the tail end of a colorful sunrise. The golden light cast shadows on the mountains ahead. As I walked around campsite, its inhabitants deep in slumber, I made friends with a friendly fox who was scouring for a snack.

Sunrise at Refugio Paine Grande

 

Can you spot the arctic fox?

 

Path to Italiano Campsite

With the sun high overhead, we made our way to the Italiano campsite before making the ascent in the Valle de Frances. The trail was beautiful, with a reflection pool that almost perfectly mirrored the landscape and sky above it.

The reflection of Los Cuernos in the morning sun

 

Mirador Frances and Mirador Britanico

Aside from seeing the Torres del Paine themselves, this was definitely the most magnificent part of the trek. After a grueling uphill hike through forests and over boulders, we were rewarded by 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks. For a long while, I sat on a boulder in the valley and marveled at this striking panorama of nature’s artwork.

Paine Grande in all its glory

 

I was so proud of myself for scaling a boulder, even though I had a little help…

 

A glacial stream runs through the Valle de Frances

 

Part of the 360 degree view at Mirador Britanico

 

Another view of the amazing panorama of Mirador Britanico

 

Path to Chileno Campsite

This was the longest and most difficult day of the hike, and after 10 miles of hiking with all of my gear on my back, I could feel every bone in my body aching. When I would get tired and cranky, I simply looked around at where I was, and my worries felt less painful.

Blue skies over the teal-colored Lago Nordenskjöld

 

Red honeysuckles of springtime dotted the green landscape throughout the park

 

The incredible view on the last leg of the hike from Italiano to Chileno

 

Sunrise at Torres del Paine Mirador

My alarm went off at 3:00 AM. We stumbled out of our tent, headlamps ignited, and packed our backpacks in the dark. I threw on my hiking boots and my warm layers, preparing to make the final ascent of the trek.

We made the final, steep trek up the side of the mountain to the mirador just as the fiery light began to peek through the clouds. And we stood, breathless, marveling at the stunning colors of the sky on one side, and one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders on the other.

The sun rises on our final ascent to the Torres del Paine mirador

 

Torres del Paine with its head in the clouds

 

A Last Glimpse at Torres del Paine National Park

Our final day in Chilean Patagonia consisted of eating our weight in pizza at the Hotel Torres del Paine, napping in our tents, and basking in the beautiful, warm weather. I couldn’t help but gaze out to the park in my final moments there and think, speechlessly, about where I was and how far I’d come in the past 5 days.

A beautiful last day in the park – you can even see the tops of the Torres from here!

 

I’ll never forget the amazing 6 days I spent in Torres del Paine

Feeling inspired? If so, check out my guide to trekking the W in Torres del Paine to get started with planning your trip!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Yeeee! I love Patagonia. Isn’t it just breathtaking? A few years ago I did this hike and this post just made me so happy. I actually don’t really have many pictures from my time there either. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment Kellie! Totally agree – Patagonia must be one of my favorite places in the world. It is stunning!

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