We found Caminito del Rey by chance. We used to go to the south of Spain once every two years and it’s strange that we haven’t come across this place before. I have one word for it: AMAZING.
Caminito del Rey is situated about 60 km northwest of Malaga. The best way to get there is by car, first on the A-357 highway and then on the MA-5403 road. You can park at the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir at the north entrance.
It takes 20-30 minutes to walk from the reservoir to the control booth at the entrance to the trail, next to the Gaitanejo hydroelectric power station. You must arrive 30 minutes before the planned entrance. The ticket (2022) costs 10 euros. If you are traveling with a group, you can order a guide in English or Spanish. Then we you pay 18 euros for the ticket.
The entire route is 7.7 km long and is accessible to people over the age of eight. It runs on the section from the Guadalhorce reservoir to El Chorro, it runs between three canyons. The trail was built at the beginning of the 20th century and consists of several stages. The most interesting are:
- Gaitanejo Canyon,
- Las Palomas Cliff Canyon,
- Hoyo Valley,
- Canyon – Gaitanes Gorge (Desfiladero de los Gaitanes).
The first gorge, Gaitanejo, is quite narrow, about 10 m wide. If we look down, we can see amazing shapes formed at its foot. At its end there is a section called Soto, with a viewpoint. It goes down to the river. On the other side you can see a railway track built in 1865. A few moments later, after a long bend where a wooden footbridge circles a rocky wall, we enter the second canyon, Las Palomas Cliff.
On this section you can rest a bit, there are a few gentle turns that lead to the viewpoint at the King’s Bridge (Puente del Rey). Built in an open space between two railroad tunnels to connect the slopes of the canyon, the track and walkways that were used for loading and unloading, and for transporting materials and workers.
After crossing these two gorges, we enter a large space with lush vegetation. This is the Hoyo Valley, where you can rest before continuing your hike. From this point, the path leads further up to another clearing, from which you can admire the whole area.
Once we enjoy these amazing views, it’s time to move on – to the third canyon. This is probably the most interesting and picturesque part of the route. We cross the overhanging footbridges at a height of about 100 meters above the river level. We pass the Crystal Balcony, so named because of the glass floor. If you are afraid of heights, don’t look down.
A moment later, we see an old aqueduct bridge – it is probably one of the most photographed objects on this trail. It was built in 1904 to carry water from one side of the ravine to the other, over 35 meters. It was also used by people who walked along El Caminito del Rey. It is now used to transfer water from one side to the other.
Next to it is the second suspension metal bridge Puente Colgante. As we walk through it, we can feel it move. At its end you can see a group of rocks that stretch towards the water, forming a kind of column at the entrance to the canyon.
The last stretch leads to the bus terminus at El Chorro, at the southern end. From here we take the shuttle bus back to the starting point.
Official website: http://www.caminitodelrey.info/es/