O Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park

Trekking O in Torres del Paine

“O” Trekking in Torres del Paine National Park

The O Circuit, also known as the Paine Grande Circuit, encompasses all the breathtaking sites of the renowned W Circuit and then elevates your experience to new heights. This circuit introduces you to the wonders of the park’s northern side, providing a comprehensive exploration of Torres del Paine. With fewer hikers, the mountain breeze brings an unparalleled sense of peace, tranquility, and serenity.

While W Circuit packages may offer nights in shelters, the O Circuit exclusively entails camping. Embracing nature’s embrace during these days offers moments, landscapes, and sublime photographs that few have the privilege to witness. Highlights include traversing daisy fields, crossing rivers, and ascending the awe-inspiring John Garner Pass.

This challenging circuit earns its name from the way it “closes” the W on a map, offering a complete immersion into Torres del Paine National Park. While this trek will push your limits, the self-fulfillment and profound impact experienced on the trail make it an unforgettable journey.


“O” Circuit of Trekking in Torres del Paine: Map

Check our map for the famous “O” Trekking in Torres del Paine National Park


torres del paine O Trekking Map


O Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park: What to see during this trekking?

The Paine Circuit offers unparalleled views of Chilean Patagonia, allowing you to explore the most breathtaking landscapes within Torres del Paine National Park.

For many trekkers, the John Gardner Pass stands out as the highlight of the O Circuit. Ascending to the highest point of the Macizo Paine circuit at 1200 meters above sea level, you’ll traverse lush forests and rugged boulders. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy a 360° view of the Gray Glacier, offering a glimpse of the vastness of the southern ice field. But the allure of John Gardner Pass extends beyond its scenic vistas; it’s an adventure in itself, featuring epic suspension bridges, unpredictable weather conditions, and tranquil spots far from the crowds.

The Paine Circuit encompasses the iconic landmarks of the W Circuit, including a trek through the French Valley and views of Paine Grande, the park’s highest peak at 3050 meters above sea level. Additionally, you’ll reach the Base Torres viewpoint, arguably one of the most photogenic spots in Patagonia, offering an incredible vista of the renowned granite peaks.


How difficulty level does the “O” Trekking Circuit in Torres del Paine have?

The O Circuit is not technically difficult, but it is a strenuous multi-day trek recommended only for experienced hikers. While the altitude in Patagonia is generally low, there are demanding ascents and descents, particularly if you haven’t trained adequately for the trek.

The highest point is the John Gardner Pass at 1200 meters above sea level on day 4, followed by the Base Torres viewpoint at 850 meters above sea level on day 7.

On the first day of the trek, expect to hike around 11 hours to reach the Dickson camp, covering approximately 29 kilometers. Although much of the trail is relatively flat, the initial segment of the O loop is demanding. The most challenging section is the hike to John Gardner Pass, a 22-kilometer (12-hour) journey from Camp Perros to Camp Gray. While it offers unforgettable views of the southern ice field, be prepared for potentially extreme weather conditions—it’s one of the windiest areas in the park. Healthy knees are essential for the descent!

Other demanding hikes include the Francés Valley (25km) and the Base Torres viewpoint (22km). Weather plays a significant role in your experience (welcome to Patagonia!), but with good physical condition and appropriate equipment, there’s no reason not to enjoy it.


Best season to enjoy the “O” Circuit in Torres del Paine

It is extremely difficult to give a correct answer to the question “When to travel to Torres del Paine”? The climate of Patagonia can change in the blink of an eye and each month has its advantages and disadvantages. But a good start would be to understand the meaning of the concept of “season” here.

The high season runs from November to March. It is the busiest date in Torres del Paine, with the highest prices and the largest number of people on the trails. Some places can be very crowded (such as the Base Torres viewpoint), but the number of people on the trails of the Paine Massif circuit is limited, so you will not find camps full of people in this area (north sector). The days are longer, with up to 17 hours of light in December.

But although Torres del Paine is open all year round, the trails of the O circuit are open from October to March (we offer them from November). Touring the Paine circuit can only be done in spring and summer, with the quietest months being October and March.

Regarding the climate, there is not a single truth but several trends. Summer (from late December to early March) is warmer but also has the strongest gusts of wind. Autumn (late March to early June) and winter (late June to early September) are good times to look for animals, with less wind and more tranquility on the trails. Finally, spring (end of September to beginning of December) is a good time for flowers and fauna, with cool nights but generally good weather conditions for walking.


The “O” Trekking in Torres del Paine: day by day itinerary


Transportation to Torres del Paine NP

Transportation to Torres del Paine Natinoal Park, lodging at Serón Sector.

Trekking from Superior to Guillaumet Pass


Hike to Dickson

Hike to Dickson, lodging at Dickson Sector.

Revealed after a steep and exhausting ascent, this glacier provides a tremendous and rejuvenating view. It originates from the Southern Ice Field but has, unfortunately, experience a significant shrinkage over the last few decades, resulting in an expansion of its lake below.

A welcome sight revealed after a steep climb, the Lake Dickson is part of the Southen Ice Field and flows into the Paine River. Fed by the Dickson, Cubo, and Frias Glaciers, in 1998 shrinkage of Dickson let to an expansion of the lake which now flows over 17 km (10.5 miles) long and crosses the border of Chile and Argentina.


Hike to Los Perros

Hike to Los Perros, lodging at Los Perros Sector.

This hanging glacier comes from the Olguin Mountain Range, not the Southern Ice Field, which explains its name of Glacier Olguin on the Southern Side. Unfortunately, this glacier has experienced the largest shrinkage over the last 20 years…

O Circuit in Torres del Paine Map, Chile


Hike to Jonhn Gardner and Grey Lake

Hike to John Gardner mountain pass and Grey Lake, lodging at Grey Sector.

One of the most memorable and spectacular views in the park is the John Garner Mountain Pass. Found at 1200 mts (3900 ft), this mountain pass is one of the highest trekking points in Torres del Paine and overlooks the immensity of Grey Glacier. If you´re lucky, you will catch a glimpse of the Southern Ice Field.

Grey Glacier is the largest glacier in Torres del Paine National Park, measuring 6 km wide (4 miles), 30 mt tall (100 ft), and 19 km long (12 miles). Its floating icebergs and glacial moraines are just as picturesque as the glacier itself, which tumbles down from the massive Southern Ice Field. To see this gorgeous ice formation up close, you can take a boat ride, a kayak tour, or an ice-hiking excursion.

DAY 5 – Hike to Paine Grande

Hiking to Paine Grande Sector

Hike to Paine Grande, lodging at Paine Grande Sector.

Made up of four summits, Paine Grande is recognized as one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The highest peak towers at 3050 mts (10000 ft), making it the tallest mountain in the MAcizo Paine Range and also the technically hardest mountain to climb in the entire Torres del Paine National Park.

Laguna de los Tres - Trekking Peak to Cerro Madsen

DAY 6 – Hike to Frances Valley

Frances Valley

Hike to Francés Valley, lodging at Francés/Cuernos Sector.

The Cuernos del Paine put up a fight with the Las Torres Mountains over the prettiest in the park. Standing at 2600 mts (8200 ft), 2400 mts (7900 ft) and 2200 mts (7200 ft), the different types of rocks that make up this massif create a stark, beautiful and multi-colored contrast. A 700mts  (3000 ft) wide slab of granite crosses the middle of these  uniquely shaped mountains.

The Frances Valley is located in the middle of the W Circuit and offers unique unmatchable views. To the west, you can gaze at the Cuernos, Espada, Hoja, and Mascara Mountains. To the east, the Frances Glacier overhangs Mount Paine Grande. To the north, the jagged Fortaleza and Aleta de Tiburon peaks (shark´s fin) stand out against the sky. AS if that wasn´t enough, the valley is immersed in a Nothofagus forest filled with many species of trees and vegetation that produce a variety of flowers and change colors during autumn.

DAY 7 – Central Sector

Hiking to Central Sector

Hike to Central Sector, lodging at Central Sector.


Hike to Base de las Torres

Hike to the Torres Base. We will enjoy a wonderful trekking to Las Torres Base. Amongst the most famous mountains in the world, these tree towering granite peaks soar in the blue sky at 2850 mts  (9350 ft), 2800 mts (9200 ft), and 2600 mts  (8500 ft). Molded by pure glacier force, these are the breathtaking towers that give the Park its name. Return to Puerto Natales.

Picture of Ramiro Rodriguez

Ramiro Rodriguez

25 years working in travel market, as Sales & Marketing Manager in RipioTurismo, Marketing Manager in Nuevas Ideas Travel Consulting Group. Writer and travel lover.

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