The former most dangerous hike in the world
“Until recently, this almost 8-kilometre path near Malaga was considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. Today the entire route has been carefully restored, earning it the Europa Nostra Award for heritage conservation. Although it’s now much safer, one thing hasn’t changed – the unique experience of strolling along walkways hanging over sheer cliff faces.” ~ Spain Tourism
On arrival at the El Caminito del Rey hike I was slightly panicked. Feeling queasy as my stomach turned; my hands were also clammy. Seeing the ledge we had to walk, my lips pursed, I was mostly quiet for the bus ride up to the start. Looking back I blame this on the reviews that I had read prior.
Some newspapers had rated it as the “Top 20” scariest or dangerous hike in the world! And I quote The Guardian, “The El Caminito del Rey is a ramshackle trail threaded along the dramatic walls of El Chorro gorge in the province of Málaga. The 1,200m-long walkway was built at the turn of the century to help workers construct nearby hydroelectric plants. Although it is officially closed and some sections are incomplete, many tourists still risk the route, using harnesses and climbing gear to traverse the gaps in the path.”
It has since been reformed and reopened to the public, and on arrival early afternoon my nerves were immediately calmed with the professional welcome that met us. The safety aspect experienced at El Caminito del Rey is first-class, and their briefing is detailed. So unless you have a severe fear of heights, I think you will be fine.
In approximately 37 degrees celsius (98F) heat we took our first step along a wooden walkway winding between rocks and gorges. The views were impressive with gigantic boulders & rock formations, green lakes dotted across pretty landscape which is surrounded by lush forests, and waterfalls! Yes, that sound of water rushing just spurred you along in the heat of the day!
The route is 8 kilometres, of which 4.8 are access paths and 2.9 are walkways. There are many plant and animal species living in this area (mountain birds such as the Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture and golden eagle; Spanish ibex, foxes, dormice, etc). If you’re in luck, you may be able to spot some of them.
Caminito del Rey history & dangerous hike
The works were started in 1901 and finished in 1905. The pathway used to start at the Renfe railway and went along the gorge. It therefore connected both sides and made them approachable. In 1921, King Alfonso XIII went along the path on his way to Count of Guadalhorce’s reservoir in order to officially open this great building achievement. This is when people started to call the path ‘The Kings Little Pathway’, and this name has kept to date.
For more Out There Global hiking and walking trails visit here.
There are a few options for you to consider when booking to enjoy this linear trek:
1. Book directly with Caminito del Rey and make your own way there. (At the time of publishing this article the web page was not 100% English friendly and you may want to have your translate app ready. Please note tickets are essential)
Alternatively book a private tour at the Out There Global shop, in conjunction with Viator, a Tripadvisor company. Reviews are available!