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Photos & Guide To El Caminito Del Rey, Spain

The Path of El Camino Del Rey Cuts Off
The Path of El Camino Del Rey Cuts Off
UPDATE 04/14/2011: The path may have, or is about to see its last days. Read about The Restoration of El Caminito Del Rey

Some say its the most dangerous hike in the world, El Caminito Del Rey (also known as El Camino Del Rey) is definetely the most thrilling hike I’ve ever done. The path was originally constructed in 1905 for workers of a hydro eletric dam set up in the cliffs of El Choro. Since then, the path has deteriorated and is now only for the adventurous. The government of Spain allocated 7 million euros for the restoration of El Camino Del Rey in 2006, however its clear that this has not been spent yet.

To get there, catch the train to a town called Alora. Alora is about 12 or 13 km away from El Choro, which is your final destination. There is a train station in El Choro, you can try catch a train directly there, but the trains do not run often. From Alora we took a taxi, I believe there is only 1 taxi, the drives name is Antonio, and if you ask at the local bar outside the Alora train station they’ll call for you. We paid 20€ for the ride, which was likely too much, but we had 5 people so we didn’t mind so much. Antonio will drop you in El Choro at a market which has a flyer for the local climbing shop which is just down the road. Arrange a rough time for Antonio to come pick you up, allow plenty of time to catch your train as he’ll probably have to drive from Alora to come get you. Head down the road, it’s pretty obvious which direction you need to go to find the trail, and you’ll find the climb shop to your right. If you already have a harness, the straps, and carabiners, you can skip this part, or go in and ask any questions you may have. If you plan on renting your harness, be aware they only have 2 for rent, and they may already be rented. You may have to buy your harness as we did, it cost about 65 euros. The shop is run by a German guy who can answer questions, since we had a group of 3 he recomended we climb Alpine style, I’m not a climber so I’m not familiar with it, but I think this is where everyone is connected by a rope to prevent any 1 person from falling. DO GET A HARNESS as no matter how confident you are in your abilities, the path is old and falling apart, and you don’t want to be the sucker who makes the next section crumble. Even the cables you latch into are questionable, so don’t fall.

Now that you have your harness, continue walking up the path with the river on your left, its about 15-25 minutes to get to the trail head. You’ll start to see things you recognize, then you’ll catch your first glimpse of the bridge and El Caminito Del Rey high up on the cliff.

El Chorro Gorge From Far
The first glimpse of El Camino Del Rey as you walk up
Start Of Hike
The warning sign as you approach the trail, it’s actually illegal to do the hike
Start Of El Camino Del Rey
The climb starts like this, get the worst part over with

You may have read elsewhere you have to cross through a train track to get to El Caminito Del Rey, however you don’t. The path starts high up, and has two gates preventing entrance, however the part you want to start on is down below. You’re going to be scared when you see how it starts, crossing over steal beams which are spaced at around 4 or 5 feet apart with nothing in between.

Climb To El Camino Del Rey Path
The climbing section of the hike. The very start of the path has fallen away completely, so you start below it and have to climb up here. There are handles the entire way, but no cable to clip into

Then you’ll climb a steep cliff to get up to the path, we didn’t clip in at this point as there’s no cable, if you wanted you could because there are handles the whole way up, but the handles seem sturdy and make it a easy climb without a harness. This is the one part of the climb where we didn’t use our harnesses.

El Camino Del Rey Made Of Bricks
Here you can see why the path has fallen apart, its just bricks held together with mortar and nothing for support below
Crossing First Broken Section
Crossing the first missing section of the hike

If you’re travelling with others, be sure to keep a safe distance from each other to spread your weight evenly and decrease the risk of the path breaking and increase the risk of the cable holding up in case of a fall. From here it gets easier, I don’t know if its always windy, but it was extremely windy when we were there, and it makes the missing section just before the bridge quite frightening as well. We all found that by the end of El Caminito we were quite comfortable with anything it had to offer, but the beginning is really scary.

River Below El Camino Del Rey
A look down at the river in the gorge
Crossing Beam Before El Camino Del Rey Bridge
Crossing another missing section via the 3″ beam
View Valley From El Camino Bridge
Looking into the Valley where El Camino Del Rey ends from the bridge
Memorial For El Camino Del Rey Accident Victims
A memorial to several people who died on the hike in 2000, it became illegal after this accident
El Camino Del Rey Small Bridge
A bridge erected to avoid a large area of the path which is destroyed
Old Portion Of El Camino Del Rey Path
Hole In El Camino Del Rey
More Holes In El Camino Del Rey
El Camino Del Rey Bridge
Rock Climbing El Chorro
Broken Section El Camino Path
Crossing A Broken Section El Camino Del Rey
The view down while crossing a broken section of the path along the cliff
Broken Section El Caminito Del Rey
Another missing section of the path
Reason For El Camino Del Rey
This is why the path was built, so people can go and turn this wheel to start and stop the flow of water
Abandoned Ruined House At End
An old ruined house at the end of the pathway
Half Way Through El Camino Del Rey
Half way through the hike, we made it to the end, now have to go back
El Camino Del Rey Hike
Finishing the hike at the same spot we started, where the entire path has fallen

The hike is not very far, maybe about 2-3 miles in total, and this includes the way back. The walk to and from El Chorro and El Camino Del Rey maybe doubles that. I’ve heard you can come back via the train tracks if you prefer, but this is mostly tunnels and that can get pretty sketchy as well if a train happens to come by while you’re in there, I’d just come back the same way you came. When you reach the end of the hike, you’ll see an old ruined house. We continued to this house, and had lunch up on the hill right by it, it was really nice, I’d recommend it.

El Camino Del Rey Videos

The famous YouTube video

A similar video but more recent (2010). Includes more of the path, and in HD

NOTE: Due to the nature of the path, things can easily change, sections may become unnavigable or unsafe, might be a good idea to check with the climb shop beforehand

Please share your experiences or advice in the comments below

UPDATE 04/14/2011: The path may have, or is about to see its last days. Read about The Restoration of El Caminito Del Rey

More Photos From El Camino Del Rey

El Caminito Del Rey Satellite View Map

78 Good comments on "Photos & Guide To El Caminito Del Rey, Spain"

  • jungywungy  @ Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    looks crazy!

  • Roswitha  @ Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 4:37 AM

    Hola Mike
    Good work, interesting, informative, frightening, exciting,
    adventurous…….maybe I would like to use some of your pictures for the Hostel….if you allow me…….

    Ref. YouTube Video Min.2.26
    Wow, Mike what did you do to pass this part of the Camino…….

    hasta pronto

  • Stargazer  @ Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Thanks for the guide, it’s very useful info. I have climbed the Sky Bridge of the Great Wall of China. it doesn’t have any kind of safety cable, but this looks even more scary in places.

  • Steve Climbs  @ Monday, July 25, 2011 at 6:12 AM

    Nice write up, but slightly incorrect in a few areas. Probably the one area that you really did get wrong is regarding the legality of going on it. Under the picture of the ‘information’ sign you wrote “The warning sign as you approach the trail, it’s actually illegal to do the hike”. It is not illegal to do the walk, however it is difficult to do the walk, and the sign you see has been put there to explain to Joe Public that it is ‘intransable’ (not passable), not illegal. Where the confusion arises is that it is illegal to walk on the train tracks or go through the tunnels, if you do you can be arrested and have to pay a €6000 fine.
    My advice is that you need a harness, with a proper Via Ferrata set, and a helmet. And yes it is a good idea to get roped up alpine style. Stay safe.

  • Surferboy  @ Friday, August 26, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    Hey some nice photos! Looks pretty palm sweaty :) Are there ropes all the way around now or is there free climbing also? A good weekend trip for sure. thanks guys

    • Mike  @ Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 5:29 AM

      Yeah, the cables do go all the way, no free climbing necessary, but the El Choro area is a great climbing area in general, very popular as well. There were a couple guys climbing off the path when we were there.

  • chaz  @ Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    the thought of this climb gave me a boner…

  • Aida Mayo  @ Monday, February 27, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Hola Mike! do you mind if I share your photos in Pinterest.? It will link to your blog. Aida Mayo 

    • Mike  @ Monday, February 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Hola Aida, thats fine, thanks for asking!

  • mary  @ Friday, March 2, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Hi! I Do you think route can be done by a person with no experience in hiking, climbing etc.?? El camino del rey looks exciting and i would like to go there, but i have no experience on the mountains and i don’t want to risk to much… so, i am waiting for your advice. thanks

    • Mike  @ Friday, March 2, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Hi Mary,

      I had no experience when climbing it, neither did my friends who did it with me. Just make sure when you rent or buy your harness the person at the shop shows your how yo use it properly and how to attach and detach from the cables. There is not much actual climbing involved. Good luck and have fun!

      • mary  @ Monday, March 5, 2012 at 7:25 AM

         Thank you for your answer, Mike! Did you have your own equipment when climbing El Camino del Rey or did
        you rent it? If you rented it, could you give me some more information
        (prices, location etc), please?

        • Mike  @ Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM

          We tried to rent it, but the climbing shop in El Choro only had a couple and they were already rented out. We ended having to buy them for 60 euros or something, but it was well worth it.  When you arrive to El Choro you can ask around and you should be able to find the climbing shop no problem.

  • Lukevincent  @ Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    The house is only the mid point of the path, continue 20 mins up the normal track and the second part of the suspended path can be walked. But there is very limited Feratta cable in the second part.

  • Anonymous  @ Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    I’ll be in Malaga for 1 day as a cruse ship passenger on May 26. Is it possible to get from Malaga Harbor, do the hike, and return in 5-6 hours? I’m an experienced climber. Any locals want to help guide me?

    • Mike  @ Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 11:16 PM

      Maybe if you rent a car? Otherwise, taking the train to El Chorro, and then a taxi each way to the hike, plus getting fixed with your harness and returning it… its probably going to require more time. Even renting a car would be rushed though. It’s definitely a day trip from Malaga, but it will most likely require more like 6-8 hours depending on if you rush or take your time and enjoy it. And if you want to do the second half which I just recently found out about, it sounds like its a very full day. Sorry.

      • Anonymous  @ Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 7:43 AM

         Thanks, Mike.  I appreciate the info.

  • Bill  @ Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    I believe your belief that bricks were used in constructing the suspended part of the El Caminito Del Rey is incorrect. They were certainly used for the part on solid rock, as they are much easier to place – instead of having to haul, mix and pour much more concrete. From the few hints I get from the pictures, I can make conjectures on the construction. 1) The supporting metalwork that is fastened to the rock face was first put into place. 2) The two longitudinal I beams were set on the supporting metalwork. 3) There are bent round bars, shown in at least two pictures. They may have been placed over the lower flanges of the I beams before they were moved into position. These were placed in intermediate positions where the span between two supporting structures was too great. 4) On top of the supporting structures and round bars was placed some sort of thick wood cover – possibly plywood. 5) Concrete was then poured on top of the wood.
    6) There may have been some sort of re-bar used where the cement handrail towers were placed. I suspect the towers would have been cast earlier, with re-bar in place if it was used.

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