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Horses and Hiking

Torres del Paine - Epic Las Torres Trek & Horseback Ride
Torres del Paine - Epic Las Torres Trek & Horseback Ride
The infamous Towers Trek. The one excursion that everyone swears you MUST do while in Patagonia. The normal trek that most hikers do is an 8 hour ordeal. You have 4 hours of hiking up to reach the towers, and then 4 hours of hiking back down again at the end. The hike is not an easy one, or a horizontal one. You are making your way up and over boulders, through brush, over log bridges, all the while the trail continues to rise above (or drop down below) you.

If you want to see the towers but do not want to hike 8 hours, there is only one option out there. Las Torres Hotel has a stable in the park and their horses are used to carry supplies up the trail to the refugios where hikers can camp if they are doing the full W trek. Las Torres is the only operator allowed to use this trail for horses, and so if you stay at this hotel, you are one of the lucky few who can take a horse for half of the journey. Kepler and I chose to go this route, and it was fabulous!

We met our feisty companions as the regular trekkers took off by foot. We had time to get geared up and get to know the horses a little before setting off. Once we hit the trail, it was easy going! We happily road along through rivers and brush, over boulders and up, up, up for 2 hours, passing all of the weary hikers along the way. After two hours, we tied up our horses and set off by foot to do the remaining two hours up. This was still quite a challenge, so I cannot imagine having done this AFTER hiking the first two hours.

After enjoying the beauty of the towers, we hiked 2 hours back down, saddled up, and finished the final two hours by horse again. How lovely it was not to have those final 2 hours laying, daunting, ahead of us after our 4 hours of hiking. And how smug we felt as we passed the other 99%, exhausted on their way back down. While we probably didn’t earn our drinks that evening quite as much as the other hikers did, we certainly enjoyed them just as much!
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