Pehoé Lake Catamaran and Valle Francés Hike
Wake up with a hearty breakfast on the Patagonian steppe before heading out to Lake Pehoé. We launch off from Pudeto Dock on a catamaran ride that takes us to the lake’s northwestern shores.
After docking, we begin our uphill hike to Valle Francés (French Valley). This is a challenging yet scenic trail lined with notro and coihue trees, and it leads to a suspension bridge over the French River with panoramic views of Glacier Francés’ frosted spires and Paine Massif’s eastern face. From there, the trail takes you through Valle Francés’ slopes strewn with rugged outcroppings and shady lenga forests.
Our group’s hiking pace determines how far into Valle Francés we go today. If our group maintains a good pace, we can potentially reach the Valle Francés viewpoint, where you can relax and look upon the undulating valley and its many granite rock formations. Once we’ve topped our ascent, we pause for a relaxed picnic, take in the scenery, and explore the area.
After lunch, we begin our descent through mountainous forests and stretches of grasslands. The trail concludes at Refugio Paine Grande sitting on Lake Pehoé’s shores. Climb onto the catamaran for the return trip to Pudeto Dock, where we are picked up and driven back to EcoCamp Patagonia for the evening.
• Activity: Nature Hike
• Hiking Distance: 13mi/ 21km
• Estimated Hiking Time: 8 hours
• Maximum Altitude Point: >660ft/ >200m
• Overall Activity Time: 8am Start/ 8pm Finish
Note: This activity can be influenced by weather as the Valle Francés hike is dependent upon the catamaran trip. If the catamaran ride is cancelled due to inclement weather, an optional hike to Mirador Britanico is available.
Further Activity Options:
• The catamaran service is closed during the shoulder season that runs through April and May, September and October. In its place, we offer an excursion that takes you from Estancia Lazo to Weber Bridge.
Read more about the Weber Bridge Adventure below:
In the event that we go on the Lazo Weber Excursion, we depart EcoCamp Patagonia after breakfast and drive past Lazo Weber Estancia and enter Torres del Paine National Park through the Laguna Verde keeper post. We set off from here on our 12km hike along the relaxed Lazo Weber Trail. The trail follows along a number of lakes with glacier-trimmed peaks rising in the distance, hills of golden grass, and forests of lenga and coihue trees. We stop to enjoy the landscape at Laguna Honda, where we also have the opportunity to catch sight of condors and caranchos, flighty foxes and herds and guanacos.
From Laguna Honda, we continue on the trail to the lofty El Toro Lookout, from which you can see the Paine Massive, serpentine mountain rivers, and a series of glacial lakes including Lagos Toro, Grey, Paine, and Serrano. We then leave the heights of El Toro Lookout for the lower-lying Paine River; there, we have time to explore the rocky shores before meeting up with our van for return transport to EcoCamp Patagonia. Dinner and a cocktail are waiting for you.
• From November 1st-15th: Hiking trails are restricted to Camp Italiano.
• From November 16th-March 15th: Activity operates as planned.
• From March 16th-31st: Hiking trails are restricted to Camp Italiano.