Caminito del Rey, Spain
The pathway once known as one of the world’s scariest hikes reopens after extensive safety improvements, and while thrill-seekers may miss the element of risk, the stunning views and dizzying heights more than compensate. The total length of the route is 7.7 km, divided into 4.8 km long access ways and 2.9 km long boardwalks.As for the boardwalks, the most famous part of the trail, 2.9 km of their length between the entrance to them and the exit point, comprises 1.5 km long boardwalks, and 1.4 km long paths or forest walkways. Estimated time for the full length of the route (this is the way that comprises the two boardwalks, and the paths and the forest walkways that serve as the entrance to the area or its exit) is between three and four hours. Visitors should mind the long distance and the steep slopes that are to be covered in order to access the boardwalks.
For safety’s sake, visitors must consider daylight hours when estimating the necessary time for crossing the trail. It approximately takes 4 hours to cover the route of El Caminito del Rey path. At first, from its opening at the end of March 2015 to 30th September 2015, this path could be walked along in two directions. From 1st October 2015 to the end of March 2016, it can be crossed in only one direction, from Ardales in the north to Álora in the south. This way is downhill, so it is easier to follow it and the route can be finished in shorter time. Estimated time for the sections of the route is the following:
There are two paths if you come from Ardales, from the surroundings of the Conde de Guadalhorce’s (the Count of Guadalhorce’s) Reservoir. The first one is shorter and it takes 20 minutes. It goes through the tunnel with the recently installed lights, which is before El Kiosko restaurant, to the control cabins at the Gaitanejo Hydroelectric Power Station. The second path is longer, and it starts at the Chair of Alfonso XIII (this is a signposted path). These 2.7 km can be covered in 50 minutes. It is 10 minutes distance from the control point to the access to the boardwalks. Total length of the inland route, in the controlled area: boardwalk – Hoyo Valley – boardwalk, takes 150 minutes to be crossed. From the boardwalk exit at El Chorro (Álora) to the control cabin: 15 minutes. From the control cabin (Álora) to the train station: 15 minutes (the distance from point 4 to 5 is 2.1 kms).
The path El Caminito del Rey is linear not circular. This is why you need to make sure to come back to the start on your own. Nevertheless, there are coaches between the northern access (Ardales) and the southern one (El Chorro), which go in both directions. The tickets are available at a very reasonable price of € 0.94 or 1.5, depending on whether you have a transport card for the area of Málaga. Thanks to the coaches, visitors who come to El Caminito del Rey Path will be able to go back to the start point along the MA-444 road.
Gibraltar – Top of the World Arctic Circle © Monika Newbound