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  • Writer's pictureDave Jackson

Thinking of visiting the Torres del Paine in the winter? Here is everything you need to know

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

The Torres del Paine National Park is home to the most famous hiking in all of Patagonia & the W Trek regularly features in surveys as one of the best hikes in the world.


Visiting Torres del Paine in the winter months comes with positives & negatives, so read on to make sure it is the best time for you.


Grey galacier, Torres del Paine
 

Table of contents


 

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1 - What is it like to visit Torres del Paine in the winter?


As the Torres del Paine National Park in the southern hemisphere, winter falls between June & August, however low season in the park runs between April & September. The park temperatures during the winter see highs of 9/10°c & lows of -2/-3°c. High winds are one of the things Patagonia is famous for creating a added challenge for hikers, and so one bonus is that winter has the lowest average wind speeds. It is however the wettest time of year, so a torrential downpour or a fresh blanket of snow are not uncommon, which can lead to slippery conditions.


Daylight hours are at their shortest during winter months, but there is still plenty of trekking time as average daylight hours are still 9/10 hours.


2 - What are the benefits of visiting the Torres del Paine in the winter?


2.1 - Hotels will be cheaper

If you are not the camping type & planning on staying in a hotel anyway, as winter is off season, you will experience the lowest accommodation costs.


2.2 - Snow

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a fresh blanket of snow & so what could be better than seeing it in one of the most stunning wildernesses in the world.


2.3 - Less traffic

Torres del Paine receives around 250,000 visitors each year! During summer months this can mean very busy hiking trails. Therefore, the benefits of visiting during the winter months are not having to dodge as many other hikers on the paths, fight for that perfect photo spot & having much more serine experience.


2.4 - Nature

As mentioned above, visiting the Torres del Paine in the winter will mean less fewer other hikers.

This reduction in footfall means you will have a better chance of seeing wildlife. Some of the highlights of which are Pumas, Huemuls (a type of deer which actually features on the Chilean coat of arms), Andean Condor, Armadillos & Darwin's Rhea.


3 - Negatives of visiting Torres del Paine in the winter


3.1 - Campsites will be closed

If you are hoping to visit the Torres del Paine on a budget, winter is not for you. Although the hotels (those that are open) will be cheaper than in high season, the campsites are all closed. Camping is by far the cheapest way to visit the Torres del Paine.


3.2 - Self-guided hiking is not allowed during the winter

Not only is the back side of the park closed (which means you can't hike the O Circuit at all), you are only able to complete the W Trek & even many of the day hikes with a certified guide.


3.3 - Weather can stop play

Patagonia is renowned for unpredictable weather, never more so than in winter. Unfortunately trails can sometimes be closed due to bad weather conditions during the winter months.


4 - Winter packing list for Torres del Paine


You've guessed it, winter is the coldest time of year so you will need you cold weather gear! When hiking layers are always best as even in the winter if the suns out you can get hot, but when it's not you'll want those layers on.


4.1 - Suggested packing list


Waterproof (Gortex is advisable), but the most important thing is that they are comfortable and well-worn in, supportive around your ankle and have decent grip.


You'll want your thick mid to heavy weight socks to ward off those wintery conditions.


Consider water resistant or even thermal lined.


Needs to be breathable & moisture-wicking, Morino wool is perfect.


A lightweight, synthetic, soft-shell jacket or fleece needs to be moisture-wicking.


A down or synthetic-filled jacket is ideal.


Winter is the wettest time of year, Gore-tex is best.


Sports underwear is best due to it's moisture wicking qualities, possibly consider splashing out on Merino wool.


Ladies you are going to want something reasonably supportive & comfy.


Essential for those who are lacking hair up top!


Two pairs is ideal. Thick, insulating, waterproof, all-weather gloves are great for keeping your hands warm but not for actually doing anything with your hands. You will also want some thinner, base gloves that are water & wind resistant.


Buff/scarf

I'm a big fan of Buff's, they're like the Swiss army knives of trekking clothing


Not just great for keeping you upright when it's slippery, they are also great for saving your knees on the way down.


5 - Other things to know


5.1 - Which hotels are open in Torres del Paine in the winter?

The only 2 hotels open during the winter in the Torres del Paine are the Explora hotel & Lago Grey hotel. Lago Grey is much cheaper than Explora hotel, however their prices still start at around $225 per night!


5.2 - Visiting the highlights of the park can involve driving

If your main aim when visiting the Torres del Paine is to hike the Mirador Base Las Torres both hotels are quite a distance away and could involve an hours drive.


A cheaper option would be to stay in Puerto Natales & get the bus in each day to visit the highlights. The accommodation is much cheaper but it takes about 2 hours each way to get the bus in/out of the park.


5.3 - Do you need to pay a national park entry fee to enter the Torres del Paine?

Yes, you do need to pay an entry fee to the national park all year round.


This must be done on the CONAF website on the ASPTicket page at least 24 hours before you want to enter the park. We only did ours the day before as we thought you had to pay in cash at the entrance as lots of other blogs inform but this has all changed and now you register and pay in USD online.


The price varies depending on how long you require entry to the park for. Up to 3 days is US$35 per person and for more than 3 days is US$49.


Once registered and paid you will receive a QR code that you need to be able to show to the park rangers when you arrive.

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