Photos of De Magallanes y Antartica Chilena Hiking Trails

backpacking
1 day ago

This was well worth the [very expensive and complicated] trip from Wyoming, USA! The views and experiences are incomparable! Every single day is too breathtaking to describe so I’m not even going to try. I’ll just talk about the details that you’ll want to know before you go, and the things you might not think about. And you should know that the W is not the “better half.” It’s just half. So if you’re coming here do you just want to see HALF?!?!

For one, something that surprised me (as an introvert who doesn’t like to share the outdoors with anyone else) was that I made a lot of friends! We started with the O part and finished with the W, so the first half of the trip was a wonderful chance to truly bond with the group of people that was doing the hike alongside us. It’s a one-way trek so the group remains consistent. And with the weather not always so great, and the mandatory group cooking area, there was a lot of community-building time and our group got so close! So even when we merged with the flood of people in the W, we stuck together as a group, hiking and eating and camping together. It brought all of us so much joy to share the experience - like being back in summer camp as a kid! And you’d miss this aspect if you only did the W.

I guess some people would say this trek is sort of easy and that the elevation change is negligible. I would not. Just because there’s little change in elevation from the departure to the destination doesn’t mean that there’s no hills all the way through! There’s almost no flat areas. You’re going either up or down pretty much the whole time, and sometimes it’s quite a big hill.

The hardest part was the pass between perros and grey. My muscles were screaming for days after that. And as expected, the britannica and Torres lookouts were also very steep. My legs hadn’t recovered from the pass yet when we did britannica, so I wish we had planned one more night so the britannica day wasn’t so long.

We did the sunrise hike for Torres. They say it’s 4.5 hours from central (where we stayed). We’re pretty strong hikers and we packed light. We left by 1am and arrived at 4:30. That was perfect timing. We stayed for an hour (freezing to death) and it was totally majestic as the sky and the towers kept changing colors. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Apparently you’re not allowed to night hike but just be discreet about it. There’s no one guarding the trailhead or anything. Also, if you are in your own tent at central, the checkout is not til 6pm, so you can take a nap afterwards! (Checkout is 8am otherwise)

Beware of the sun!!!! Apparently there’s like no ozone down here so it burns you really badly. I’m Mediterranean and my husband is Asian, so we rarely wear sunscreen on our outdoor adventures. We paid for that with horrible peeling burns on this trip. Do not think you’re immune to the Patagonian sun!!

We drank straight from the sink and streams our whole trip and had no stomach issues or anything.

I noticed that a lot of people were carrying the large backpacking backpack on their backs and a smaller backpack on their fronts. I can imagine that was horribly uncomfortable! I think the best way to do it is to pack minimally so all your stuff fits in or attached to your big backpack, and bring one of those small drawstring backpacks for like the plane and bus trips, and day hikes. That way you can just stuff it in the big one when you’re not using it.

Here’s a rundown of the amenities you can expect at every campsite:
(My husband and I brought our own tent, sleeping bags, and mats. In retrospect, I might have splurged for the stuff to be provided at each site. The tents were huge and nice, and the mats were obviously much more comfortable than the portable ones. And with the fatigue from all that hiking and the rain, it would have been nice not to set up camp every night and to have a comfortable mattress.)

Seron:
Soft grass for your tent
Flushing toilets
Sink
Soap
Paper towels
Hot showers
Garbage cans

Dickson:
Soft grass for your tent (sometimes)
Flushing toilets
Sink
Soap
Hot showers (supposedly??)
Garbage cans
Electrical outlet
Super nice cooking area with sink

Perros:
Wretched campground
Hard packed dirt to put your tent on
Flushing toilets
Sink with no soap
Cold showers
No place for garbage
You have to leave by 7am if you are hiking all the way to grey, and by 10am if you’re just going to paso, to safely make it over the pass before the crazy afternoon winds.

Paso:
We didn’t stay here but we passed through and it looked pretty wretched as well. The toilet is a gross drop toilet and there’s no sinks. The cooking area is an open shed with rickety tables.
You have to leave by 4pm if you’re going to grey to safely cross the suspension bridges.

Grey:
Humongous camping area
Really nice flushing toilets
Sink with hot water
Soap
Paper towels
Hot showers (only 5-9pm)
Garbage cans
The Refugio is a really nice place to hang out

Paine grande:
Very crowded steep and windy hillsi