El Caminito del Rey The King's little pathway

A walk along the pathway once known as the "world's most dangerous walkway"

El Caminito del Rey (English: The King's little pathway) is a walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to Camino del Rey (English: King's pathway). The walkway had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for over a decade. After four years of extensive repairs and renovations, the walkway re-opened in 2015. It has been known in the past as the "world's most dangerous walkway" following five deaths in 1999 and 2000

There are several access points into the Caminito del Rey, this is the entrance at Conde de Guadalhorce’s (the Count of Guadalhorce’s) Reservoir, which takes you through a long tunnel under the mountain and into the gorge beyond.

The total length of the route is 7.7km, which is divided into 4.8km of access ways and 2.9km of boardwalks.

The boardwalks are the most famous part of the trail, and cover 2.9 km between the entrance and exit point, comprising of 1.5 km of boardwalks, and 1.4 km of paths or forest walkways.

The click of the helmet being done up is like a green traffic light. There is no going back now. Ahead lie eight kilometres of walking what was once known as ‘the most dangerous walkway in the world’
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The estimated time for the full length of the route is between three and four hours, with the boardwalk section taking about one and half hours.

The walkway was originally built to provide workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls with a means to cross between them, to provide for transport of materials, and to facilitate inspection and maintenance of the channel.

The construction began in 1901 and was finished in 1905.

King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway in 1921 for the inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce dam and thus it became known by its present name. The walkway is 1m (3 ft) in width, and rises over 100m (330 ft) above the river below.

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so technically complicated that it took longer to design the project (3 years) than to build it (12 months).

The original path was constructed of concrete and rested on steel rails supported by stanchions built at around 45 degrees into the rock face. It deteriorated over the years and there were numerous sections where part or all of the concrete top had collapsed. The result was large open-air gaps bridged only by narrow steel beams or other supports.

Few of the original handrails existed although a safety wire ran the length of the path. Several people lost their lives on the walkway and, after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed both entrances. Even so, in the 4 years to 2013, four people died attempting to climb the gorge.

The regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Málaga agreed in June 2011 to share costs of restoration (including car parking and a museum) of €9 million. The project took approximately three years to complete. Many of the original features remained in place.

In March 2014, the cornerstone of the rehabilitation project was laid by specialized alpinists. The walkway reopened on 29 March 2015 and was listed in the best new attractions for 2015 by Lonely Planet.

Award winning emerging tourist destination

The new pathway, still offers the more adventurous a heart-stopping walk of 2.9 km along the cliff-side path built 100m above the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge

The second part of the pathway traverses some of the most heart stopping points of the pathway.

On the opposite side of the gorge the Málaga - Córdoba railway line runs through tunnels in the cliff face.

Now it starts to get a little bit more scary :o)

The gorge is outstanding with walls that at some points reach 300 meters high and just 10 meters narrow.

The old path has been retained and in many places is located just below the new path, adding interest to the walk.

A glass floored balcony allows visitors to fully experience the terrifying drop to the Guadalhorce River below.

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A high point of the trail is walking over the steel suspension bridge across the gorge, and because of its metal mesh floor you can look down and see the river below your feet.

The reason for the pathway: the Embalse del Conde de Guadalhorce (the Count of Guadalhorce Reservoir).

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All images © 2016 Scott Masterton | Fascinating Light Photography

All Rights Reserved

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For more detailed information about the history and restoration of El Caminito del Rey, the surrounding area, the experience and how to get there, please visit the following link:

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If you enjoyed this photo story, then you might like to view our Iceland adventure:

Created By
Scott Masterton
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All Photographs Copyright 2016 - Scott Masterton. All Rights reserved.

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