El Caminito del Rey – the path of the king. So named due to King Alfonso’s visit in the 1920’s, when the monarch ceremonially walked the precariously constructed pedestrian causeway that had been built to ferry workers between two hydroelectric dams at the turn of the century. Looking at the crumbling remains of the original Caminito, you can’t help but think that Alfonso was demonstrating the type of bravery often attributed to great kings of old when he made his crossing.
The old path is scarcely two feet wide in places, hugging tightly to a sheer cliff face that extends an unbroken 100 metres down to a rushing river, and another 200 metres above to the sky. If there were ever safety rails installed, none remain.
Today’s Caminito is somewhat more compliant with modern health and safety requirements. Completed in 2015, the modern tourist route is in places built directly on the bones of the original road. In other places it floats above its predecessor, allowing hikers to make themselves sick thinking about the walk that dam workers so routinely made. It’s no surprise that the original structure was closed off to the public in 2000 due to five deaths of those trying to span it. Safety measures aside, the modern trail is still incredible.
This video attempts to recreate the journey from start to finish, compressing our two hour hike into just two minutes of chronological footage. As you’ll see, there are still jaw dropping sheer drops and incredible views the whole way along. Couldn’t recommend the hike more highly.
– words by Andy