Desfiladero de los Gaitanes - Camino del Rey - El Chorro gorge (Spain)
The Camino del Rey is a vertiginous and very dangerous trail attached to a vertical cliff in a canyon near El Chorro, in southern Spain.
Photos of the Caminito del Rey, a vertiginous and very dangerous trail in a very steep canyon called Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (or El Chorro Gorge), in southern Spain.
Those photos were taken before the restoration of the trail.
At the time, this ws a "No Trespassing" zone, officially closed to the public, but many climbers and hikers walked this trail every day despite its very poor condition and several fatal accidents in recent years.
The pathway was equipped with a safety cable (via ferrata), so it was recommended to do it with a harness and safety ropes.
The trail is made of slabs of concrete attached to a vertical cliff, about 100m (300ft) above the bottom of the canyon. There was no guard-rail and the concrete slabs were completely rotten, with gaping holes and entire sections missing.
The trail follows an old aqueduct (now disused), and it is possible to walk back through the old aqueduct tunnel if you have a flashlight and boots (the aqueduct is pretty muddy per place).
At the time, the easiest access to the southern part of the trail was from the wider part of the valley, which can be accessed from the south by walking along a railroad, Northbound, through several tunnels (also a No-Trespassing area - don't walk on the train bridges, they are too narrow with no safe space between train and bridge - instead, use the trails along the mountain to go from tunnel to tunnel). then after the last tunnel you need to go down a very steep embankment and cross the river, then go up toward the aqueduct. There is an old structure that can be seen, like a little house, near the aqueduct.
The direct access to the southern part of the trail, from south of the narrow gorge, used to require some climbing gear and climbing experience. Most of the trail was equipped with a safety cable, and it could be done without climbing equipment, but a harness and safety line was strongly recommended.
The North part of the trail, that reaches the dam north of the gorge, was in very poor conditions and was not equipped with a safety cable when i was there. Entire sections of the trail had collapsed, and you needed to have rope and be an experience climber to do this part.
For more information about the Caminito del Rey near El Chorro (Spain), read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caminito_del_Rey .