From the “Hidden Treasures of the Costa del Sol” series.
El Caminito del Rey is a Walk in El Chorro, in Malaga Province, Spain. Visited by climbers, mountaneers and nature lovers, this dangerous walk is 4 km long and connects the Guadalhorce Lake District with the Area of the Guadalhorce Valley, using for that the gorge called “La Encantada” . A very dangerous walk, it has seen many accidents and deaths since its construcion in 1903, as it has been in disrepair for the last 40 years. There are plans to rebuild and open it to the public starting the renovation at the end of this month of February 2014.
Since i have been there many times, and fear they will make the walk into another tourist attraction, i plan to walk it this weekend just before they close it and it changes forever, at least as we know it now….
But first a little bit of history :
HISTORY OF EL CAMINITO DEL REY IN EL CHORRO, ARDALES
The walkway was 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. Construction began in 1901 and was finished in 1905.
Twenty years after the pathway was completed, King Alfonso XIII crossed the pathway for the inauguration of a new dam. This led to the pathway’s modern name, “The King’s Little Pathway,” or “El Caminito Del Rey.” After the King’s crossing. However, the bridge began to fall into disrepair.
LOCATION OF EL CAMINITO DEL REY IN EL CHORRO, ARDALES
WHAT TO KNOW
While it is not recommended to attempt a crossing (in fact it is currently illegal), there is a cable running the length of the path one can clip onto. However, the integrity of this cable is unknown. Between 1999 and 2000, four deaths occurred due to the instability of the path. As a result of these deaths, the government has closed both entrances.
In June 2011, the regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Málaga agreed to share costs of restoration (including car parking and a museum) of €9 million. The project will take approximately three years to complete. Many of the original features will remain in place and the new materials that are used will be in keeping with the old design.
WHAT TO SEE
Apart of the walk itself, there are many other things you will se on your way, both natural and historical.
It is considered to be of immense ecological importance. Its walls, which are up to 400 metres high, are home to a variety of plant and animal life, a clear example of adaptation to a vertical way of living. From the point of view of nature, this is a paradise for bird watchers, geologists, and nature lovers in general. Birds you will see here include the falcon, kestrel and goshawk, as well as other medium-sized birds of prey
Historical : Apart form the story of the building of the path itself, the area houses examples of cave houses dating back to prehistorical times, and used up to the middle of the XX century, including the times of the Civil War. An interesting spot related to this period is the “Escalera de los Republicanos” or “escalera arabe”
And dont forget the climbing !!!
TIPS AND THINGS TO CONSIDER
- This is only a little part of the Natural Park fo the Condes del Guadalhorce.
- Enter at your own risk. The walk was already dangerous twenty years ago, so imagine how it is now. Only experienced climbers should try it.
- For the less intrepid you can walk the part of the walk that starts at Restaurante El Quiosco, at the lakes, and takes you through a beautiful forest to the back entrance of the “Caminito”.
- Dont forget to visit the other wonderful locations in El Chorro, like the town of Ardales, Turón Castle, Bobastro, mesa de Villaverde, the burial site of Las Aguilillas, the old and the new dam, and the many restaurants and hotels in the area of the lakes.
Spectacular images of el Caminito del Rey : http://www.elcaminitodelrey.com/
Video made in 2008 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXrVG7aoizc
Video of 2012 : http://vimeo.com/82317824
News that they finally are going to repair the track (spanish) : http://www.diariosur.es/20140206/local/malaga/adjudican-sando-rehabilitacion-caminito-201402061348.html
MAP : ACCESS POINTS AND IMPORTANT LOCATIONS (Google Maps)
Full map with all the information : Here
- Point of Access to the first part of the caminito del rey. Cars can be parked here : Here, from the railway station
- (If you want, you can also go the way of the railway tunnel, which is safer. You will seen the Caminito in front, the access here)
- Start of first and most impressive part of the Caminito del Rey : Here
- End of first and most impressive part of the Caminito del Rey : Here
- Start of the second part of the Caminito del Rey : Here
- End of the second part of the Caminito del Rey : Here
- (there is also an acces to the railway tunnel so you can access the secret valleys safer. It quiet hidden. Location here)
- Entry to the one-man tunnel that takes you out of the valley into the Lakes and the Restauran el Kiosko : Here
- Exit point of the one-man tunnel bringing you from the back part of the Caminito del Rey : Here
- Property in the Area of Ardales
- Ardales & Other nearby towns
- Information about the Area
- Old page about El Chorro
HOTELS , FOOD AND ACCOMODATION
This is not an affiliate list. Do check them out and please leave your opinion behind for others to use.
- Hotel del Conde in El Chorro
- Apartamentos Ardales in Ardales Town
- Restaurante El Quiosco Ardales
- Restaurante El Mirador Ardales
- Restaurante y Hotel La Garganta
- Camping Parque Ardales
- The Olive Branch El Chorro
- The Climbing Lodge
- Finca Limoneros in Alora
Beautifull scenery, in the middle of an area with many places to visit. Advantage is that you can take different routes depending how experienced you are with climbing or walking ind the campo. Dont forget this will be the last days you will see it in its full glory, so be quick….. 🙂