Monday, Stepping into the Paine Massif’s Heart: Valle Frances
Torres Del Paine NP, Chile
After breakfast, we start our day driving towards Pudeto dock, located by the shores of Pehoe Lake. Once there we board the catamaran that takes us to the northern west sector of the Lake from where we’ll start the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep we go depends on our groups’ rhythm. An active walk leads us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif. From this point there is a truly wonderful view. Then we continue up the trail until reaching the upper section of the valley. The entire group of geological formations of the high valley can be admired here: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). It’s time to have a picnic and recover from the walk. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well. Next, we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until reaching the Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. Here we organize our luggage and enjoy a replenishing dinner.
Lodging at Paine >Grande – These are typical mountain huts, open to the public visiting Torres del Paine. They have rooms for 4-6 people and shared bathrooms.
*The excursion to French Valley varies throughout the season depending on the catamaran connecting Pudeto and Refugio Pehoe: From October 1st to November 15th and from March 16th through April the navigation operates only once a day, therefore the hike will be limited and only reach Italian campsite. (From November 16th to March 15th the excursion operates on a regular basis)
Lake Pehoe Navigation: 30 min
French Valley Trail – Approximate walking time: 8 hrs.
Distance: 25 km / 15 miles
/ Breakfast / Box Lunch / Dinner /