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Top Ten Treks in The World - #1 - Torres Del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine - ChileAs much as I wanted to put one of Nepal's legendary treks at the top of the list it was Chile’s Torres del Paine trek that secured the honors. The “classic” Patagonian trek offers towering granite peaks, valleys surrounded by 360 degree panoramas of mountains, glacial views stretching to the horizon, incredible fields of wild flowers, and much more. Amazingly it accomplishes this without requiring you to hike over 4,000' in altitude. Sure, epic treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro or along the trail to Everest Base Camp garner a greater physical challenge, but if that's the only measuring stick we could all walk/run an ultra marathon through Death Valley. As I mature, I savor getting a greater bang for my effort and there's no place like Torres del Paine for that. For the less adventerous there are even short options from day hikes, to the very popular “W” trek. Of course, to truly take in all of its splendor, the complete circuit should be completed.

Regardless of the duration of your trek there are many starting points. We chose to take the catamaran to Refugio Lago Pehoe and start the trek in the more traditional anti-clockwise direction hitting many of the side trips along the way.

Trekking the circuit can require as few as eight days, but took us eleven. We were in no rush and wanted to make sure we saw all of the highlights under proper conditions. The weather is quite unpredictable and patience is rewarded. Hasty trekkers miss the best views, settling for partial glimpses at the towers, valleys, and glaciers. When the weather was a formidable foe, we stopped and waited for it to pass. We took our time and allowed the views to ripen under the proper weather conditions. There is simply no comparison to seeing the towers under the rays of the early morning sun versus the often gray clouded over views of a midday trip up to the towers.

Before we tackled Torres del Paine, we decided to see what the Argentina side of Patagonia was like. We selected a trek around Mount Fitzroy and it was truly magnificent. However, after completing the complete Torres del Paine circuit and seeing the great diversity that the Torres del Paine trek offers, the nod goes to Torres del Paine as the best trek in Patagonia.

You can read a more complete story of our hike at our sister site www.greattreks.com or purchase our book A Journey Along the World's Great Treks.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trek Milford Sound - New ZealandInca Trail - PeruTour de Mont Blanc - Italy, France, Switzerland

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Haute Route - France, SwitzerlandAnnapurna Trek - Nepal
Kachine Village Trek - BurmaMt. Everest Base Camp Trek - Nepal
Torres del Paine Trek, Chile

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