A (very) brief history of time.

El Caminito Del Rey.  The path was originally built in 1901 to provide access to the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro and Gaitanejo Falls. It’s named after King Alfonso XIII who followed the route in 1921 to mark the inauguration of the dam, Conde del Guadalhorce.

In its early iteration, the path was made of concrete with steel rails, but over the years the walkway fell into disrepair. Much of the structure deteriorated, leaving wide open spaces where walkers were in danger of plunging to a gruesome death! With no handrails and only a thin safety wire, daredevils in the 80s and 90s would regularly take on the dilapidated trail. Sadly, this resulted in several fatal accidents in the years 1999 and 2000. Following these accidents, the path was closed to visitors for restoration.

Fifteen years and more than five million Euros later, the path was reopened to the public. Here’s a video of the path BEFORE the restoration took place. Look away now if you are scared of heights!

At around 09:30AM I took the bus for the short ride to the start of the trail that takes you to the actual path through the canyon.  This walk was very pleasant, with some nice views.  At the start of the actual path were hundreds of people lined up to get access.  This is where they check your permit and give you a helmet to wear during the walk.  Initially they added me to an english language group walk, but after checking, I was told to move into the non-group line, which was a very loooong line.  I told the guy that checked my ticket that I had already been waiting quite a while in the incorrect line, and after some back and forward discussion he moved me to the front of the non-group line!

Once the groups were allowed to start their walk, it was our turn to go.  We immediately caught up with the groups that had started a few minutes before, which caused an ongoing  traffic jam for the first kilometer of walking.  What a shame that was!!   

Other than that, the walk was spectacular!  The boardwalk was attached several hundred feet above the vertical cliffs.  Quite an engineering feat!!  Once you get off the boardwalk, you think you are done, but after walking over a dirt path for a while, you hit the most amazing part of the path.  Here you can see the old walkway still hanging against the rock face just below the current walkway.  That walkway looked really scary!!  To get to the end of the trail, you cross a hanging bridge, with a beautiful waterfall coming straight our of the rocks.  Pretty amazing.

The whole walk was about 10 km long and took me about 3 hours.