El Caminito del Rey is one of the most impressive and (a few years ago) most dangerous mountain trails in the world. El Caminito del Rey (The King’s little walkway) is a walkway pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Andalucía, Spain. The walkway had fallen into disrepair and was extremely dangerous. After extensive repairs and renovations the walkway has been reopened and now is a very popular attraction.
El Caminito del Rey is a walkway that originally has been built to provide workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls with means to cross between them, to provide for transport of materials, and to facilitate inspection and maintenance of the channel.
El Caminito del Rey is situated in the El Chorro Natural Park in Malaga province in Andalucía.
Construction began in 1901 and was finished in 1905. In 1921 King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce, and it became known by its present name.
El Chorro is a spectacular mountain enclave in the Gorge Gaitanes Natural Park.
The Caminito del Rey is no more than 1 m wide and rises over 100 metres above the river below. The walkway itself is 3 km long and it lies along the Gaitanes Gorje walls from Ardales through Antequera and ending at El Chorro. El Chorro is a spectacular mountain enclave in the Gorge Gaitanes Natural Park. It is a protected area because of its high ecological value and its extraordinary landscape, historical and paleontological wealth. It is located in the province of Malaga.
One of the most well-known sites of Caminito del Rey is the gateway to the Gaitanes Gorge.
One of the most well-known sites of Caminito del Rey is the gateway to the Gaitanes Gorge. From the road that links Alora and El Chorro at the entrance of the Gaitanes Defile, you can see a small picturesque bridge linking the path that runs along both walls of the gorge. From the bridge a footpath is installed in the vertical rock that ends at the railroad from Córdoba to Málaga. The path could be accessed by El Chorro, a small village, which is also one of the main climbing resorts in Europe, due to its proximity to the Gorge of Gaitanes and also due to its facile access to El Caminito del Rey. Nowadays the official entrance is in the North, and the track is one-way only.
Old versus new…
Constructed of concrete, resting on steel rails supported by stanchions at around 45 degrees into the rock face, the old walkway is in a highly deteriorated state and there are numerous sections where part or all of the concrete top has collapsed. The result is large open air gaps that are bridged only by narrow steel beams or other support fixtures. Very few of the original handrails exist but a safety-wire did run the length of the path.
One of the most impressive and before one of the most dangerous mountain trails in the world.
Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent times. After two fatal accidents (on the old path!) in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed both entrances – if you look at this video you can see why…
The government finally decided to restore the walkway to open it to the public. Many of the original features still have remained in place and the new materials that are used are in keeping with the old design. The renovated Caminito del Rey is made of wood panels with metal anchors drilled into the wall. One of the most interesting features is the glass floors above the Gorge of Gaitanes at 100 meters above the river.
The bridge that crosses the Gaitanes Gorge is equally impressive.
You will have to choose a specific time for your visit. Please be aware of the fact that you will need app. 20 minutes to walk from the parking place near Ardales to the entrance. Full length of the path of the El Caminito del Rey is 7.7 km. The part of the access ways is 4.8 km long and the stretch between the entrance and exit gates of the boardwalks (the actual trail: boardwalk – Hoyo Valley – boardwalk) is 2.9 km long. If you are in a hurry you can easily walk the trail itself in an hour…but why should you hurry? You have only this once to enjoy these amazing views!
Please note that you have to buy tickets way in advance, as the new trail is very popular.
Check for more information and to plan your visit: official website
El Caminito del Rey route is a one way route. It stretches from north to south,thus, you need to organise your trip back to the starting point. There is a shuttle bus that brings your back from the southern access point at El Chorro in Álora to the parking place at the northern entrance. The price of the ticket is € 1.55.
Check available dates and buy tickets here : BUY TICKETS
Wear good shoes, bring some water and food, as you cannot buy anything along the track. And last but not least: do check the weather forecast and the website of the Caminito just before you go over for your visit: sometimes, when there is too much wind, the trail will be closed. Better check in advance!
For more information or to plan your visit, visit the official website.