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Backpack the 'Q' Circuit in Torres Del Paine

Torres de Paine, Chile



17.5 miles

Route Type



Added by Zee Lilani

This trip adds a day to the popular 'O' Circuit in Torres Del Paine and should be seriously considered when planning your trip for its stunning vistas. The draw to the 'Q' rather than the 'O' is the opportunity to begin the trek apart from the hoards of visitors with picture worthy views at every turn! 

The 'Q' Circuit is simply the 'O' plus the 17.5km section between the Serano Visitors Center and Refugio Paine Grande. To reach Serano Visitors Center simply take the same bus used to do the 'W' or the 'O,' but stay on the bus until the third stop. It may feel strange as half of the people will get off at the first stop ('W') and then the remaining 95% of people will get off at the second stop ('O'). However, if you have the time, it is an absolute must do in my book. 

Once you reach the visitor center, you will know as the bus turns around here and the driver will motion for you to get off. The center has an attendant who will have you sign in on a piece of paper and give you any additional information you may need. There are bathrooms available so fill up bottles and enjoy your last clean bathroom for awhile. The trail is directly adjacent and to the left of the visitor center. 

The trail is mostly flat and allows unobstructed views of the entire Torres Del Paine mountain range. This view is the reason most choose to do the 'Q' over the 'O' as there is nowhere else to see the entire landscape in one frame. Although the trail is relatively easy, the winds are what make the day a little difficult. There are no trees or mountains to obstruct the winds so you are constantly struggling to fight against the wind for every step. Strap on your camping cup or any other items you may have hanging on the outside of your backpack because the winds are relentless! After a beautiful 4-5 hours of walking, the trail begins to meander up a hill to Pehoe Lookout. This is the place to take the iconic Torres Del Paine shot. The water is majestically blue and the peaks soar in the sky like you've never seen before. It's a great place to take a moment and enjoy the beauty from the outside before you enter the actual park. The trail then continues around the lake and up another hill until you reach Refugio Paine Grande where you can sleep for the night. 

Another option available to those seeking to do the 'Q' is to sleep at the primitive campsite about 6km into the trail. It is situated beside a river and has about 5 spaces for tents. This is a good option if you are new to backpacking and want the first day to be an easy introduction to the following days to come. It's also a great option if you want to really savor your time in Torres Del Paine and have an extra day to spare!

Congratulations, you have now finished the 'Q' section of Torres Del Paine! The rest of the circuit continues the exact same way as the 'O' which has already been included as one of the adventures on TheOutbound.

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