Hiking the Caminito del Rey

Cliff walls of the Caminito del Rey

Cliff walls of the Caminito del Rey

The other day I had the honour and the pleasure of hiking the Caminito del Rey in Málaga Province. The Caminito del Rey feels like a blend between a hike and an aerial adventure. Visitors trek through beautiful scenery as well as edging along wooden walkways attached to a sheer cliff face located many hundred feet off the ground. It’s a truly exhilarating experience!

It consists of 3 very different sections. The first is a pleasant and relatively easy hike that is made up of around 2.9km through pretty pine forest and with views of the cracked hills and nearby river until you reach the Northern Access point. The middle section is the exciting one, where you are given a hardhat and a security talk before delving into a 3km walk along a wooden platform path that offers giddy views of the mountains and gorge. The end section is a gentle downhill stroll into El Chorro.

The walkway high above the gorge floor

The walkway high above the gorge floor

Before the mid nineteenth century, only shepherds, hunters and bandits walked this inhospitable gorge, known as the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. It’s steep gradients and tough topography kept it very isolated from human intervention. But in 1865, a railway line was built between Córdoba and Málaga, scything through tunnels and viaducts that had been chiselled through the gorge and mountain.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Spain started looking for alternative energy sources to coal. Focus fell upon the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes in order to create a large hydropower project. In 1906 a masterful project was completed whereby water from the Gaitanejo entrance was redirected through the channel of the Desfiladero and then dropped around 100m into the Salto del Chorro hydroplant. A pathway was fitted to the rock to allow maintenance work to be carried out if necessary.

In 1920 King Alfonso XIII walked this pathway to El Chorro when he opened the Chorro Reservoir. He was so impressed with the project that he awarded its architect, Rafael Benjumea, the title of Count of Guadalhorce. From that day forth, many a visitor, hiker, climber or maintenance worker was able to experience the breathtaking walk along these vertiginous balconies that ran along the edge of the gorge.

In 2000 the Caminito del Rey was closed for security reasons. In 2015, after a large restoration and security project it has been re-opened and can now be enjoyed by the general public.

The suspension bridge at the end

The suspension bridge at the end

I feel it is one of the most exciting things you can do in Andalucia. It combines so many wonderful elements into one experience. You can enjoy the incredible scenery, rather Grand Canyonesque! Feel the adrenaline rush as you creep along the gorge’s edge, hundreds of feet above the raging waters. Discover an area of Andalucia that is off the beaten path for most travellers.

I’m pleased to say that we are an authorised agent which means we can easily arrange for you to enjoy this experience. What’s more, we have the best guides in the area to make it a memorable day for you. Perhaps you’d like a spectacular picnic lunch afterwards? Or a visit to a nearby town? Or taste some wines at a local bodega? Andalucia is your oyster!!

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