The Torres del Paine National Park


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The Torres del Paine National Park is a national park encompassing mountains, glaciers, lakes and river-rich areas in southern Chilean Patagonia. The Cordillera del Paine is the centerpiece of the Park. It is located about 115 kilometers north of Puerto Natales and just over 300 kilometres from Punta Arenas. The National Park was established in 1959. It was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. The Paine massif dominates the landscape. It is an eastern spur of the Andes, located on the east side of the Grey Glacier, rising dramatically above the Patagonian steppe. Small valleys separate the magnificent granite spires and mountains of the massif. Glacial erosion has been the main reason for the sculpturing of the massif in the last thousands of years. The Cuernos del Paine centre bands of exposed granite strongly contrast with the dark aspect of their tops. These are remnants of heavily eroded sedimentary stratum. But in the case of Las Torres what was once the overlying sedimentary rock layer has been completely eroded away, leaving behind the more resistant granite.

This documentary commences with a spectacular sunrise over the Torres and Cuernos del Paine. Probably the finest place to stay in the National Park is at the Hotel Salto Chico. The lodge was built in 1993 and is located on the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall, offering excellent views of the mountains. Indeed, many hiking excursions can be arranged and made from this base. One of the finest day hikes is along the Valle de Frances, French Valley. Blessed with fine weather, there are spectacular views of the peaks. Among the lakes visited are Lago Pehoe, Lago Nordenskjold and Lago Sarmiento. Guanacos are one of the most common mammals found in the park. With the absence of other grazing livestock, their number is secure. Their only predator is the puma. The park contains breeding populations of 15 birds of prey, including the magnificent Andean Condor. We conclude with an interview with a Chilean Climber who has recently climbed the highest peak in the park.

The Torres del Paine National Park is a magnificent area to explore and trek. It is a popular hiking destination in Chile. Hikers can opt for a day hike, walk the popular ‘W’ route in about 5 days or trek and complete the full circle in 8-9 days. The views are just breathtaking and really memorable. This park is one not to miss!

Running time is approximately 15 minutes.

Tags: Chile, South America