Caminito del Rey

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One of our top 10 dayhikes in the world

Caminito del Rey

Also known as The King’s Little Path.

Once called the most dangerous pathway in the world  in the world.

AT A GLANCE

  • Caminito del Rey is near Ardales in the province of MálagaSpain, Andalusia
  • inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII 1921
  • first built 1905, the walkway had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for nearly 15 years due to deaths
  • re-opened in 2015
  • new pathway still offers a walk of 2.9 km
  • 1 metre (3 ft) wide climbing over 100 metres (330 ft) above the Guadalhorce river
  • the entire trip from the start at the town of Ardales to finish at Álora would be about 8km and might take 3-4 hours
  • originally built to provide access to workers at hydroelectric power plants Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls
  • ticket required ( 10€ in 2019)
  • in 2019 open Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Monday.

Why We Like This Hike

  • in the past it was illegal, dangerous and difficult. Since 2015 it’s easy for one and all to enjoy.
  • the thrill and adrenaline rush
  • spectacular natural beauty

Considerations

  • children under age-8 not allowed
  • hard hats required. You will be given one at the start.
  • in the past people have fallen. People have been killed. Safety is highest priority now.
  • sometimes closed due to bad weather
  • a 300m alternative tunnel has been built for one section. It’s used when the path above cannot be used due to rain, wind or rockfall.

original trail at the bottom and new pathway at the top

Cost

If you can simply purchase a ticket it’s only €10 (2019).

If you can’t get one by booking online, know that many local restaurants, hotels and gas stations have them if you ask around in Málaga. You might pay €20 / person for one of those.

A guided walk costs  18€.

Shuttle bus between the trailheads is € 1.55 / person.

Logistics

  • you can get there by driving (A-357 from Málaga) … or by train
  • two entrances, one in Ardales, the other from Álora. If driving, park at the north entrance. Exit at the south entrance. You can shuttle bus back to your car.
  • if you choose rail, in 2019 RENFE train service offered regional daily service to El Chorro.
  • new Visitor Center opened in 2019

  • there you get a short audiovisual presentation on the adventure. Learn about the geology, archaeology, history and engineering before you set out.

There are seven parts of the route:

  • Visitor Reception Area Shuttle bus stop and a car park El Kiosko Restaurant
  • Two access areas: the path and Gaitanejo way (2.7 km or 1.5 km long route, depending on your choice).
  • Visitor Reception Centre and Gaitanejo Reservoir.
  • First Canyon Gaitanejo Gorge (2.9 km from the entrance to the exit)
  • Second Canyon Las Palomas Cliff
  • Hoyo Valley
  • Third Canyon Gaitanes Gorge (Desfiladero de los Gaitanes)
  • Last Stretch Boardwalk to the exit
  • Downwards path to the El Chorro Train Station, called Avenue Caminito del Rey (2.1 km).

If that all looks confusing, simply travel to the Visitor Centre and get the information there.

  • it’s downhill if you finish at the El Chorro Dam

Local Information

Best Travel Guidebooks

Best Web Pages

Best Trip Reports

Movies

You can do this hike virtually using Google Street View.

Click PLAY or watch it on Lonely Planet.

Click PLAY or watch some history on YouTube.

There’s much to do and see. Click PLAY or watch a Málaga tourist promotion on YouTube.

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