Understandably the most popular national park in Chile, home to the famous three granite peaks of the Paine mountains, numerous glaciers, many beautiful lakes of varying shades of blue, and some of the world’s greatest walks.
After the patchy weather of Argentinian Patagonia (non-stop rain in El Chalten and Boxing Day snow in El Calefate) it was a relief to get near perfect weather for walking to Base Las Torres, an 18km return walk from Los Torres campsite. The scenic snow covering the mountains made up for a very cold night in the tent, despite wearing three pairs of socks, thermals, six layers of merino, a hat and ski gloves!
Heading up a ridge along the Ascencio Valley helped get some warmth back in the system.
Warmth turned to heat in the cloudless sunshine and 400m in 1km steep and rocky ascent to the Base de las Torres lookout.
The effort was worth it though for about the most scenic lunch spot possible, if an extremely busy one.
On the way back I took a detour via the shortcut to the Los Cuernos Shelter, adding at least another 4km onto the walk, but entirely worthwhile for the stunning view of Nordenskjold Lake.
More stunning views of the lake the next day on a 32km return walk to Frances Shelter. Morning rain turned to the perfect mix of sun and clouds for interesting textures on the landscape.
Hoped to head onto Frances Lookout, or even Britanico Lookout (44km return trip) but the persistent cloud over the mountains thickened and it started to rain, so I decided to turn back. Before leaving to return though the clouds parted long enough for me to see Frances Glacier and a decent waterfall.
Next day headed out of the park via Salto Grande waterfall, with more stunning views of the mountains.