Must see: French Valley
The French Valley is the most beautiful valley in the National Park Torres del Paine, a steep hike that includes the middle point in the “W” trek. Offers incredible its 360 degree unique panoramic views of Los Cuernos del Paine, the French Glacier and Lakes Nordenskjold, Pehoé, Scottsburg and Toro.
One of the tourists writes about the valley: “The French Valley is famous for this: you sit back and watch, and big chunks of ice spall off the glaciers, crashing hundreds of feet below onto the rocks…“
Any verbal description can’t give you complete image and atmosphere of that place. All around are glaciers hanging out of mountain peaks, and down below lakes, trees, rivers cascading down the valley walls.
It’s really worthy walk to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif. From this point, you can enjoy first truly wonderful view and then continue up the route until reaching the upper parts of the valley. In the high valley you will admire the granite peaks of Espada (Sword), Hoja (Blade), Mascara (Mask), Paine Grande, Aleta de Tiburón, Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress).
How to get to French Valley?
One of the possible ways to experience the beauty of French Valley is the route, which goes around the lake Nordenskjold and after five hours of trekking leads to the foot of Paine Horns. Here you find the Refugio Cuernos (lodge). Going on, after two hours you will get the Italian camp, where is possibility of camping. The place offers great view for the French Valley and, what is important, is well protected from the wind. If you don’t want to stop in Italian camp, and you are in good physical condition continue walking up to the British Camp. During two hours walk you will enjoy the view of the glacier and French River.
From the Hotel Las Torres we go first by the catamaran from Refugio Pudeto to Refugio Pehoe. We pass Lago Skottsberg, then ascend later Valle del Frances, where we will have a good view of Paine Grande, Glaciar Frances and Los Cuernos. It´s probable to see avalanches on the snowy mountains. View video from the excursion.
In summary the circuit has well-designed paths and allows a lengthy excursion to the inside part of the Massif of Torres de Paine Park. Offers several places to stop and rest in the journey.