Caminito del Rey: its past history
In 1901, the Hydroelectric Society of El Chorro, which was the owner of El Salto del Gaitanejo (dam), needed an access by which its maintenance operators could cross El Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (gorge) without the need to walk around for hours. A project was founded which ended in 1905 and was a technical wonder of the time. The construction of several metres of walkways, which in some cases were more than 100 metres above the ground and situated against completely vertical walls, was a great architectural achievement.
Nevertheless, it was not until 1921 that the official opening took place. The impact of the construction of the path was so great that King Alfonso XIII attended the site in person, which is the reason why from then on it was called El Caminito del Rey (The King’s walkway). As time went on and road infrastructure improved, along with the danger of the walkway, use of it was stopped and it was abandoned.
At the beginning of the 90s it was in a state of terrible repair. However, it became renowned amongst hikers and adventurers, which made the brave and daring want to go and cross it. Unfortunately, between 1999 and 2000 there were four deaths from falling, which forced the Junta de Andalucia to close its access. Nevertheless, in 2005 the idea of restoring it occurred with all the pertinent security measures, which finally happened in 2015.
Features of El Caminito del Rey
Caminito del Rey is defined as a hiking route of medium-high difficulty , not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo. In total the route is 7.7 kilometres, 2.9 being walkways and the rest accesses. These accesses cross spectacular and breathtaking places, so do not think that the walkways above El Chorro are going to be a short walk. In total it takes between 3 and 4 hours to complete the whole route.
All the walkways which make up the path boast the pertinent security measures with safety handrails, for children also. Additionally, because there is always a small risk of rock falls, at the entrance you are provided with an authorised helmet which is obligatory to cross the gorge. Proof of its safety is there have not been any accidents during the time it has been opened to the public, so do not have any fears.
To help understand the dangers that the pathway entailed for workers at the beginning of the century and for adventurers who attempted to cross once it had closed its doors, underneath the walkways you can still see fragments which survived from the original construction. We assure you that when you see them you will be astonished at the courage these people had.