Torres del Paine National Park

Chile Torres del Paine National Park
By Canopus24. (Own work.) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Las Torres Over the hills Colors of Patagonia

Chile · Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine National Park is the one of the most attractive national parks in Chile and all Patagonia. It is remote, isolated, rugged and windswept. There are more sheep than people in the Magallanes Region of Chilean Patagonia – one of the factors that make it so fascinating. Here, the granite spires of the Paine massif tower over emerald green valleys, churning rivers, glassy blue lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, snowy mountains, and icebergs. A plethora of exceptional wildlife can all be found within its boundaries. However, this dreamscape is one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, with winds that can knock a grown man to the ground.

Its main spot, the “towers” themselves, is the impressive rock formation, both colossal and unique, called “Torres del Paine” (Paine Towers) made up by the Torre Central, Torre Sur and Torre Norte.

Torres del Paine National Park is comparable to the US Yellowstone or Yosemite Parks. It was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1978 by UNESCO.

These epic massifs, with their wintry snow raiments, call rock climbers and ice hikers to their feet with promises of an adventure at the edge of their abilities. Less ambitious visitors will find all sorts of wonderful trails through the wilderness and herds of guanaco (a type of small, Patagonian llama) that can be enjoyed in a few hours. While there are many trails in the park appropriate for day hikes, Torres del Paine was designed for multi-day circuit treks, with refugios—European-style cabins offering a bed, meals, and a hot shower – dotting the trails. The three-day ‘W’ route is one of the most spectacular hikes in the world, it usually takes about 5 days.

Before Torres del Paine National Park became a national park in 1959, this region was used to graze sheep. These days, the park is popular among tourists who come to admire the striking stone spires of the Paine Towers.