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El Camino Del Rey – The Unknown 2nd Half

Abandoned Ruined House At End
The previous article ends here, at this house in view from the end of the first portion of the trail. Little did we know this was only the half way point.

Recently L. Vincent from New Zealand left a comment on one of the most popular posts on the site, Photos To El Caminito Del Rey. He let me know that I never actually completed the hike, that really I only went about half way. This came as a surprise to me because I’ve read a lot about El Camino, and spoken to a lot of people about it, but I’d never heard of this second part. I asked him some questions about it and if he had any photos to share, and he was happy to offer. Below are some of the photos I handpicked from his set, as well as his answers to my questions about the trip through the ENTIRE El Camino Del Rey.

Q. How much further does the El Caminito Del Rey trail go after the ruined house in the valley?

To get to the start of the trail is about a 20 minute walk, then the second part of the trail is about a 3/4 mile I guess.

Starting The Second Leg Of El Camino Del Rey
After the walk through the valley, about to start the second leg of the hike
Start Of The Second Part To El Camino Del Rey
Look familiar? The famous cement trail is back here in the start of the second part of the trail.

Q. Overall the second half of the trail looks to be in better condition than the first part; there didn’t seem to be as many holes or collapsed sections, is this true?

The second part is in much better condition, there are two missing sections that have via ferrata cables and foot holds, although on one section the foot hold is the rock itself.

Rock Overhang
A rock hanging out over the pathway
More Unsteady Walkways
More unsteady walkways on the second part of the hike to the Power Plant
Standing On The Edge Of The Broken Path
Standing on the edge of one of the broken sections of the 2nd half of the hike

Q. How long did it take for the entire hike (including the first half everybody already knows about)?

Without taking into account our stop for lunch, the actual walking of the trail took us about an hour and half to two hours, but we did stop for lots of pictures and to have a good look through the tunnels along the path.

Bridge Across Gorge - El Camino Del Rey
A bridge crossing the river gorge
Standing On Old Unstable Cement Bridge
Standing on the unstable cement bridge crossing the river

Q. Is it required to cross through any train tunnels, or does the path avoid them?

The path avoids all the train tunnels and tracks, they are on the other side of the gorge, although there is a bridge crossing the gorge along the second part that would take you ver to them if you wanted to walk out along them.

Looking Back At The Scary Trail
The view back towards El Chorro, with a train tunnel across the gorge
Walkway Along A Wide Part Of The Gorge
The walkway alongside the wide part of the Rio Guadalhorce gorge
El Camino Del Rey Through The Gorge
A full view deep inside the El Chorro gorge with the path headed through
Broken Section Of El Camino Del Rey's Second Part
One of a couple missing sections along the lesser known second part of El Camino Del Rey

Q. I didn’t see any in the photos, are there cables you can hook onto like in the first part of the hike, or have they not been setup for this second half of El Caminito Del Rey? Is a harness no longer useful?

There is limited cable along the second part; the only places where there is cable are the two points where the track is totally gone, and as some of the foot holds there are the rock face itself, a harness is a must! There is a fair amount of hand rail still in place, but the path seems stable and there is not many holes in it from falling rocks hitting it like the first part of the path.

A Missing Section Of The Extended El Camino Del Rey
One of the missing sections along the extended El Camino Del Rey
Whole View Inside El Camino Del Rey Canyon
The whole view of the gorge looking back at the cement bridge
Sketchy Part Of El Camino Del Rey
A sketchy section of El Caminito
Walking The Dangerous El Caminito Del Rey
Walking along the elevated part of the second part of the path
The View Looking Down Into The Gorge
The view looking off the path into the gorge and river below

Q. Did you hire a guide or have any type of map? How did you know the trail continued past the house?

We never hired a guide, we stayed in a place called “The Olive Branch” not far form the gorge, and there are some guys who go there every year as climbers/workers, some of them have been coming to El Chorro for 18 odd years, and they mentioned it around the common room. For the record The Olive Branch is an absolutely excellent accommodation…

Narrow Gorge Deep Into El Camino Del Rey
Walking along El Camino as the gorge gets narrow and scenic
2 Levels Of Walkways
A view showing the upper and lower walkways, this article mainly shows the upper path

Q. Did you find the actual power plant like in this article? El Rio Guadalhorce’s Hydro Station

No, never even knew it existed, but at the end of the path is the damn they describe in that article, which i had known!

Waterfall & Powerplant At End Of El Camino Del Rey
A waterfall and building near the hydro electric power plant at the end of El Camino Del Rey
Powerplant At The End Of El Camino Del Rey
A closer view of a building near the power plant and canyon at the end of the second part
Made It Through The Entire El Camino Del Rey
El Camino Del Rey the complete version, success!
End Of El Camino - The Path Cuts Off
They cut off the rest of the path here, I'm guessing to prevent access to the power plant

Q. Would you recommend continuing down the trail after the first part of El Camino, or is the first section enough?

The first part is more exposed, but in my opinion the second part is well worth it, as the rock formations are jurasic for a lack of a better word….

BUT you need to climb out of the second part, there are three bolts on the wall, so a rope and some quick draws would be a definate advantage. You could scramble it, but it is on the steep side for a comfortable scramble.

A Canal Valve At The End Of El Camino Del Rey
The group posing at the end of the successful & COMPLETE El Camino Del Rey hike

Overall the lesser known second part of El Camino Del Rey looks pretty cool. From the photos and answers I got it seems that it becomes less about the thrill and more about the scenery on the second half of the hike. It does’t look as terrifying as the first stretch; the more you hike along this type of terrain the more you get comfortable with the height and risk of crumbling walkway, and it had less holes and collapsed sections. However, deeper into the El Chorro gorge is beautiful, especially towards the end of the hike, where the Guadalhorce river has done a great job carving a slot canyon which looks worth the visit on it’s own.

Although I’m upset I didn’t know about the second part to El Camino Del Rey when I was in El Chorro, and I apparently haven’t had the chance to complete the entire hike, I’m glad we found out that it exists. Thanks again to L. Vincent of New Zealand for not only letting us know that the 2nd half of El Camino Del Rey exists, but for sharing his photos with us.

Photos Of The Power Plant & Second Half To El Camino Del Rey

El Chorro Power Plant Map

One good comment on "El Camino Del Rey – The Unknown 2nd Half"

  • Samual@orlando taxi service  @ Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 4:36 AM

    That is so dangerous, look at the steeps. But hope you had great time there. I am having phobia with such kind of places can’t make it at all.

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