Ardales, Spain

El Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Pathway)

Spanning the El Chorro gorge, this pathway in serious disrepair draws visitors hoping to cross it illegally.


In 1901, a pathway was built across the El Chorro gorge to provide easier access to the hydroelectric plants at the nearby falls. It took four years to finish. Today, that pathway, considered one of the most dangerous in the world, regularly draws visitors hoping to cross it.

Twenty years after the pathway was completed, King Alfonso XIII crossed the pathway for the inauguration of a new dam. This led to the pathway's modern name, "The King's Little Pathway," or "El Caminito Del Rey." After the King's crossing. However, the bridge began to fall into disrepair.

The path itself runs 100 meters above the river below and is only 1 meter wide. It has no handrails and some of the concrete path has fallen down the gorge, leaving only a steel beam left in place.

While it is not recommended to attempt a crossing (in fact it is currently illegal), there is a cable running the length of the path one can clip onto. However, the integrity of this cable is unknown. Between 1999 and 2000, four deaths occurred due to the instability of the path. As a result of these deaths, the government has closed both entrances, but not the gift shop.

In June 2011, the regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Málaga agreed to share costs of restoration (including car parking and a museum) of €9 million. The project will take approximately three years to complete. Many of the original features will remain in place and the new materials that are used will be in keeping with the old design.

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    Ardales, Spain
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The pathway is located about 100 miles east of Cordoba.