El Caminito del Rey. Spain
El Caminito del Rey is considered to be one of the most dangerous pedestrian hiking trails in the world. It is also known as The King’s little pathway. This walkway runs along the gorge in El Chorro in Spain, near Alora Village in Malaga province.
El Caminito del Rey was laid in 1901 and opened in 1905. It is a narrow path curved like a gut that stretches in the mountains on the pins hammered into stone. The fact is that in 1921, the river Guadalhorce, which runs through the limestone canyon of El Chorro, was blocked by a dam. As a result, three reservoirs were formed here, which give to drink the whole valley below and provide water for the nearby villages and towns. This water goes through the gorge through a specially laid tunnels and pipes at a height of 200 m above the ground. The pathway was built so the local workers had the opportunity to approach the dam Conde del Guadalhorce for its service, as well as to deliver the necessary materials. The trail passes between two waterfalls: Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls. By the way, the trail got its second, king’s name, through this dam. In 1921, King Alfonso XIII personally passed along the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce and since then The King’s little pathway is called so in his honor.
The width of the path is only a meter, and sometimes even less; the length – about three kilometers; the height – from 100 to 300 meters. El Caminito del Rey was almost in a state of serious decline. Since the end of its construction (1920) the trail wasn’t used for its intended purpose and gradually destroyed. Most of the concrete slabs and rails were loosened or dismantled. In many parts, it was finally collapsed, having left only metal beams and wires. Almost across the entire road there were no handrails, but along the terrain in the most dangerous sections there was a steel cable stretched for insurance. Not to mention the fact that the chasm under your feet of 250-300 meters adds adrenaline.
The trail was officially closed for a long time – too ruined structure which led to the deaths of many desperate tourists. To be precise, The King’s little pathway was closed in 2000 after the deaths of three alpinists. However, despite the prohibition El Caminito was always very popular among the travelers. As a reward for courage, the daredevils receive an opportunity to admire the spectacular views of the canyon and the river Guadalhorce. Take a look at the pictures – incredible scenery! And imagine how it looks in real life! So, not only this trail itself attracts them. Pine forests, rivers, lakes, canyons and trees, which have become a trademark of Makinodromo – this whole region is known as one of the best climbing areas in Europe. Hiking, mountain biking and camping also refer to such activities which are in demand here.
The government of Andalusia restored the path. About 7 million Euros were allocated for this purpose. The construction work started in February 2014, and already March 28, 2015 Caminito del Rey was open to visitors. Today, the length of the route of El Caminito del Rey amounts 7.7 km, of which the most interesting part is located between the northern and southern entrances – 2.9 km.