At seven o'clock in the morning we are already in front of the kiosk of the Caminito del Rey in El Chorro. Today we have the unique opportunity to make a short tour along the King´s Little Path and at the same time see the climbing competition Rally Escalada El Chorro in the gorges of the Gaitanes. At the kiosk a tour guide of the Caminito del Rey explains to us what we have to take care on the King´s Little Path. Then our adventure starts. A narrow road first leads up to the entrance of the gorge. There we get helmets from the tour guide. Respectfully we then enter the path consisting of wooden boards that runs 100 meters above the ground along the steep walls.
After about 100 metres we arrive at a suspension bridge that leads us over the river Tajo de la Encantada to the opposite rock massif. From there it is only a few minutes to the viewpoint Mirador de Cristal del Caminito del Rey, which reminds a little of the skywalk of the Grand Canyon. From here in the opposite wall we can see the first climbing professionals hanging a few meters above the ground.
Furthermore, the sun is just rising and we get a breathtaking panoramic view over a fantastic nature. Since we are here mainly because of the climbing professionals, the tour ends for us today. So we decide to go on taking the whole tour a couple of weeks later.
A few weeks later we continue the tour. From the viewing platform we descend bit by bit into the nature park Desfiladero de los Gaitanes with its lush green trees and flowering plants. From there we walk almost parallel along the river, which finally flows into the Río Guadalhorce. After a few kilometres, we return on wooden stairs along the steep walls of a mountain massif and then again continue through the natural park until we finally arrive in Ardales – our destination. Here we refuel our energy in a restaurant. The whole area is surrounded by reservoirs. At the reservoir Conde de Guadalhorce there is the house of the Earl of Guadalhorce which can be seen from the restaurant. With pleasant temperatures around 20 degrees in December, we let our souls dangle a bit and process the wonderful impressions that the hike over the Caminito del Rey gave to us.
The hike is suitable for people of all ages from eight years on. You should only take a few drinks and some food with you, as the tour will take a few hours. The tour we did from El Chorro to Ardales is usually the other way round. It starts in Ardales and ends in El Chorro, from where you can take a bus back to Ardales.
The Caminito del Rey is a hiking trail in the gorges of the Gaitanes - a canyon that connects the municipalities of Álora, Antequera and Ardales. The route is about seven kilometres long. A three-kilometre-long path leads through a blooming nature reserve. The remaining four kilometres are covered by a wooden path 100 metres above the sea level on the cliffs of the massif.
The Work on the King´s Little Path began in 1901 and was completed in 1905. In 1921 King Alfonso XIII officially inaugurated the path. Since then it has been called Caminito del Rey by hikers. In the years 1999 and 2000 there happend some accidents on the trail in which four people died. As a result, the government of Andalusia blocked the Royal Path. Together with the provincial administration of Málaga, the government of Andalusia drew up a plan for extensive restoration work in 2006. A few years later they put the construction work out to tender. In 2014, the Caminito del Rey was finally repaired for five million euros and reopened to the public in March 2015. The original Royal Road can still be seen on the path. The Caminito del Rey is the venue of some events like the Rally Escalada El Chorro. (Editor/Photos/Video: Michael Trampert – Source: Caminito del Rey)