A Walk Worthy of Kings: Caminito Del Rey

Caminito Del Rey and Río Guadalhorce

I’m a lover of the outdoors and avid environmentalist. I’ve seen the Arches and Zion, seen canyons and volcanos, but nothing has ever taken my breath away like Caminito del Rey. 

Watching the sun rise over the Guadalquivir valley, I took the 4 hour long train ride from Seville to Álora. When the Caminito suddenly flashed passed the train windows, audible gasps echoed throughout the cabin. I could have sat there and stared all day, hardly imagining actually walking it! Being out in the countryside, surrounded only by trees and rivers after living in a city for over a month was like a comforting hug.

El Chorro Canyon

Caminito Del Rey is a series of walkways built into the steep walls of El Chorro in Málaga, Spain. Originally constructed in 1905, the path was built as a means for workers at the hydroelectric power plants nearby to cross between Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls. The hike received its name when King Alfonso XIII of Spain walked it in 1921, but it didn’t open as a tourist attraction until 2015.

The path along the mountainside

The 5 km hike is led by rangers with extensive historical and ecological knowledge. Aside from the landscape the flora and fauna also make up a very interesting and unique ecosystem. You are sure to see the infamous vultures circling above or even a few mountain ibex. Helmets are mandatory for fear of falling rocks and low stone ceilings. The walkway is well constructed and safe with extensive railings.

Helmet stays on during photos

The path clings to the side of the mountains over gorges and ravines hugging an emerald green river. The landscape changes from soft hills to intense mountains and canyons in a matter of meters. The path way takes many ups and downs, some 100s of m in the air, others only a few.

The final stretch of Caminito

The end is not for the faint of heart as a metal drawstring bridge connects two sides of the mountain about 120 m in the air. The thrill being that high in the air outweighed my fear. The 2 hour long hike was hardly to soak it all up and I lagged behind quite a lot. 

My Personal Impression

Taking in the views

The impossible beauty of the views made me blink continually for fear that my eyes betrayed me. Gazing across the expanse of untouched landscape full of luscious green, I was overtaken by spirituality. I thanked the stars for leading me here, for letting me see something like this with my own eyes. All the steps that lead me here, everything was worth it. Call me crazy, but I feel like humans need to feel a connection like this to nature. The Earth is our one home and we need to protect it. National Parks and nature preserves are a good way to awaken that feeling in our souls. So if you ever get the chance, I urge you to visit Caminito Del Rey.

Tessa Fiore is a student at University of Nebraska Lincoln and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying with ISA in Seville, Spain.

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