The legend of the world's most dangerous hiking trail, El Caminito del Rey
After a busy Christmas with a lot of work in the kitchen, we start the year by taking some fresh air in this beautiful and impressive part of the Spanish geography. I have visited the Gaitanes gorge to show you one of the most incredible trails in Spain, called the Caminito del Rey.
The Caminito del Rey is a walkway built on the Gaitanes gorge's walls between the Ardales, Alora and Antequera municipalities in Malaga, Andalusian, Spain. It is a walkway of more than three kilometres, plus 4.8 kilometres of access. This path is adjoined to the rock inside the canyon and has sections with a width of barely one meter. It was hung up to 105 meters above the Guadalhorce river on one of the walls that became vertical.
A landscape worthy of seeing, and if you suffer from vertigo, it can be a good shock therapy since, despite being a super safe route, the views are dizzying.
Why was this road built?
This beautiful place in the Natural Site of the Gaitanes Gorge and the surrounding populations have been an essential point of influence for the growth of societies from ancient times to the present.
The company Sociedad Hidroeléctrica del Chorro used to own a part of the area where the hydroelectric power plant was located. And they needed access to both sides of the dam and canal to facilitate the passage of maintenance workers, transport of materials and surveillance.
Works began in 1901 and were completed in 1905. The road started next to the railway tracks and ran through the Gaitanes gorge.
Visits to the area were frequent while the reservoir was being built between 1914 and 1921, friends and family of Chief Engineer Rafael Benjumea, engineers and people interested in this project in general.
Given the incredible beauty that could be contemplated travelling along the road, Benjumea decided to improve it and reform the bridge between the two sides of the gorge. These two rocky walls, joined by the so-called "Balconcillo de Los Gaitanes", are the most famous in the province.
In 1921 King Alfonso XIII presided over the inauguration of the Guadalhorce-Guadalteba reservoirs, crossing the previously constructed road to do so, or at least he visited it. From then on, it began to be called Caminito del Rey.
The legend of the world's most dangerous route
Time dramatically deteriorated it: almost the entire route lacked a railing, and there were collapsed segments, leaving only the support beam. All these factors contributed to creating a black legend after several hikers lost their lives trying to cross it.
In 2014, work began to rehabilitate it. A new walkway was built, with wooden panels along its entire length. The rehabilitation work was completed in the first quarter of 2015 and reopened at the end of March that same year, arousing great expectations among the public.
Today it is a safe and well-maintained route. The path can be accessed through several entrances. There are parking areas and a bus that travels the accesses and exits of the way.
In summary, the Gaitanes Gorge and the Caminito del Rey are two impressive and popular attractions in Spain. They offer a unique and spectacular landscape and are an ideal destination for those seeking an exciting, different, fun experience.
Here is the link to the website if you want to complete the information and book tickets. Making the reservation in advance is essential as getting them on the same day is difficult.
And one more thing, if you can, take the guided tour. There are lots of legends and stories that this road holds and are worth listening to. Special mention to Pablo Covos, my group's guide, gave us excellent knowledge of the area and a sense of humour.
I hope you enjoyed the virtual "Camino".
Have a Tasty Day!