Torres del Paine or Towers of Paine are three massive granite pillars jutting out some 2,800 meters above the Patagonian steppe at South America's finest national park, 1,960 km south of the Chilean capital Santiago. These breathtaking spires are flanked by the summit of Paine Grande (3,050 m) and the sharp tusks of black sedimentary peaks known as Los Cuernos (The Horns). Aside from these spectacular granite spires and mountains of the massif that dominate the landscape, the national park also encompasses ridges, crags, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and lagoons.
The centerpiece of the park is, of course, the three gigantic Towers of Paine. One of the earliest description of the area can be found in a book by Lady Florence Dixie published in 1880, where the British writer refered to the three towers as Cleopatra's Needles. She and her party were the first tourists to visit what is now called Torres del Paine National Park.
The Paine massif is actually a part of the eastern spur of the Andes located on the east side of the Grey Glacier, rising dramatically above the Patagonian steppe. The highest summit of the range is Cerro Paine Grande at an elevation of 2,884 m. The South Tower of Paine is about 2,500 m, while the Central Tower of Paine is about 2,460. There are other smaller summits including the Cuerno Principal, about 2,100 m, and Cerro Paine Chico at about 2,650 m.