El Caminito del Rey
HISTORY of the Path
The Caminito del Rey, situated near El Chorro in southern Spain, often dubbed the “world’s scariest footpath”, reopened to visitors in 2015.
The trail, which translates as “the King’s walkway”, skirts the edge of the narrow Gaitanes Gorge in southern Spain.
Millions of people have watched YouTube footage of dare-devil walkers negotiating the rickety, metre-wide path.
However, both entrances were closed to the public following fatalities in 1999 and 2000. Despite the closures, walkers have continued to try to navigate the trail, much of which has fallen into a state of disrepair.
In places, only slim metal rails remain, with walkers needing to have sure footwork to prevent falling into the Guadalhorce River far below.
The 1.2 kilometre trail was originally installed to allow workers access to the Guadalhorce dam. The royal association derives from the dam being inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1921. His great-grandson, King Felipe VI, has been asked to open the new camino.
The old path
the new path
It always sells out quickly
In 2015 the path opened again. The chipped stone paths along the gorge walls have been replaced by wooden walkways along the edges with a trellis. In some places the path has been made of glass so you can look down. The path is open to children from 8 years. You have to book your tickets in advance. Still it’s very busy. The real daredevil perhaps will no longer go down, because of climbing and climbing is no more. They can have a look at the video which shows how it used to be climbed. Although a walk of 7 kilometers in total at a height of 100 meters, may be not for everyone. Especially not for people with vertigo.
The entrance is the North Access through a 1’5 km way, that has got the start near the Parking Zona 4, in a narrow and long tunnel dug in the mountain. This tunnel connect with a forest trail that arrives to the checkpoint of the entrance.
The route is 7 Km / 4 miles long and it is very important to read and follow the compulsory regulations and recommendations, do not use an inappropriate footwear, bring water, sun protection and do not walk outside the marked way.
The Caminito is a linear tour, not circular, only one direction and descending from North (Ardales) to South (El Chorro). It consists of a linear journey of 7.7 km (approximately 2h and a half).
After finishing the tour and to return to the parking in the North Zone, there is a shuttle bus available for € 1.55 per person.
Check the weather forecast on the official site before you leave, it can be closed because of heavy wind and rainfall.
When tickets for Camino del Rey are sold out
Look at this site with tricks to get last minute tickets
- Rise and shine early
- Try to go and go to the lakes
- Go to the Saltillo
El Saltillo hiking trail - in the Axarquía -
The best alternative to the Caminito del Rey, an hour and a half drive from Ojén
El Saltillo in the Axarquia, also called the little brother of the Caminito del Rey, is certainly a good alternative if it has not been possible to get tickets for the Caminito del Rey. Or when you’ve already walked this and are looking for more excitement and less crowds. And reservation is not necessary, it’s free and you don’t have to wear a helmet.
It is a spectacular mountain hike with beautiful views and picturesque waterfalls at the end. There is the possibility to cool off in one of the small pools.
Certainly not suitable for people with fear of heights and small children. There are vertical mountain walls without deposits, back and forth for 8 kilometers in about 2 ½ hours.
Afterwards you can have lunch at Restaurante La Maroma, the start and end point of the walk in Canillas de Aceituno, with the very friendly owner.