One mustn’t expect solitary, wilderness-style hiking in Torres del Paine National Park. The area is incredibly popular, and for good reason. Trails are well-trodden (sometimes overly-trodden), and you will rarely go more than a few minutes without seeing other hikers along the way. This is particularly true about the trail to the famous “Base of the Towers”, in the Valle de Ascensio. But nothing about the popular nature of this trail should make you avoid it.
Most of the hike is through thick forest, and the final mile or so is quite steep. But there are few views on the planet as spectacular as those you get as you crest the top of the ridge after those final few switchbacks. I had a sense of what was coming, but I still blurted out some nonsensical exclamation of both surprise and awe upon looking out over the lake and the granite monoliths towering above. Well worth the long day and crowded trails.
Now, it is always possible that one crests this hill in a cloud bank. Even if you do, stick around for at least a little while in hopes that things open up. Remember, weather is changeable here – and every once in a while it is changeable for the better!