Caminito Del Rey: Spain’s Most Dangerous Hike

Caminito del Rey Spain

El Chorro, Spain

Balancing precariously on a rusty steel beam, I slowly hike across the Caminito del Rey trying not to glance down at the treacherous river hundreds of feet below me.

I’d traveled to this remote corner of Andalucia in the South of Spain to hike the Caminito del Rey. This path is famous around the world with rock climbers and adrenaline junkies due to its shocking state of disrepair.

Just looking up at the hazardous path full of holes and missing sections sent a shiver of fear down my spine. Barely clinging to the vertical canyon walls it’s attached to — ready to crumble at any moment.

Known as Spain’s most dangerous path, or the most dangerous walkway in the world, the Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Pathway) is over 100 years old and 100 meters (350 feet) high.

The perilous concrete trail winds through steep limestone cliffs near the small village of El Chorro and into a hidden valley.

Would I really go through with this risky journey? By myself? I was starting to have second thoughts…

Caminito del Rey Walkway

Caminito del Rey Walkway Spain

Caminito del Rey Spain

Caminito del Rey Hike Spain

Caminito del Rey Hike Spain

Hiking The Caminito Del Rey

Walking the entire length of the 3 kilometer Caminito (sometimes called the Camino del Rey) has become an exclusive adventure sport for people crazy enough to attempt it. There are numerous sections where the concrete has collapsed, creating large open air gaps that are bridged by very narrow steel beams, themselves often rotting away.

A via ferrata cable runs the length of the path though, allowing hikers to clip in with a harness. You need to bring your own gear or rent one from a climbing shop. Or you can make your own Swiss Seat (like I did) with some webbing, climbing rope, and a few carabiners!

However the integrity of the safety cable running the length of the path is unknown, as it’s not officially maintained by anyone. So you must rely on it at your own risk.

Armed with my trusty Luna Sandals made for trail running, and a backpack loaded with gear, I spent 4 days hiking the walkway over 8 times. Filming video with my GoPro camera along the way.

Caminito del Rey Spain

Caminito del Ray Pathway
Caminito del Rey Spain

Caminito del Rey Spain

Dangerous & Beautiful

On the hike itself, wind whips through the narrow canyon, testing my nerves as I carefully place one foot in front of the other. Hoping my next step isn’t my last. I’m not the only one attempting to conquer my fears though, there are other adventurous hikers up here flirting with death.

Sometimes we must pass each other, which can be complicated on a 1 meter wide path full of holes. In many places the entire path has completely fallen away, leaving just a three inch wide steel beam to balance on. Other sections don’t even have beams — forcing you to cling to the face of the rock.

The Caminito del Rey is made up of two different sections. They each traverse a narrow area of the Gaitanes Gorge, with a stunning hidden valley located between them. “The Valley of the Orange” is completely surrounded by mountains, with orange trees growing near the Guadalhorce river as it flows through the middle. There’s even an old ruined house at the bottom.

Less hikers attempt (or know about) the second part of the walkway. Much of it has no safety line, save for a few very sketchy sections that require some rock climbing skills to pass. After about 3 hours I finished this wild adventure at the far end of the valley. Luckily in one piece.

Caminito del Rey Spain

Dangerous Walkway in Spain

Large Sections of the Path are Missing
Caminito del Rey Hydroelectric Dam

Caminito del Rey Spain

History Of The Path

The walkway was completed in 1905 after 4 years of construction so workers could move materials back and forth between the two hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls on either end of the canyon. A water canal also weaves its way through tunnels in the mountains.

The suspended catwalk allowed easy access to this canal for inspections and maintenance work, controlling the flow of water when necessary using a series of steel doors lowered into the canal with gears.

Spanish King Alfonso XIII inaugurated the pathway in 1921, which is why it’s now called “The King’s Little Pathway”. The King himself walked the length of it to marvel at the beautiful & scenic landscape.

Deaths On The Caminito

There have been at least 5 deaths on the Caminito del Rey, the most recent few occurring in 2000, and many more accidents over the years. The path hasn’t been maintained since the 1920’s — rust eats away at many of the metal support beams.

Large gaping holes in the concrete are common. Sometimes whole sections of the treacherous walkway are completely missing, after they’ve crashed down to the bottom of the canyon 100 meters (350 feet) below. If you’re afraid of heights, it’s the stuff of nightmares.

Caminito del Rey Deaths

Caminito del Rey Danger

Caminito del Rey Climbing
Valley of the Orange Spain

Caminito del Rey Spain

2015 Path Restoration

Work just finished on a €3.12 million restoration program that transformed the entire walkway into a much safer route, opening up the path to more people and regular tourism. The aging concrete was replaced with wooden slats and glass panels with a handrail.

While more people will now get to enjoy the views of this magnificent canyon, sadly the adventurous spirit of the Camino has changed now that it’s fixed up. I’m very lucky I was able to hike it when I did!

Hiking the Caminito del Rey ranks right up there with camping on an erupting volcano and cageless scuba diving with bull sharks as one of the craziest adventure travel experiences I’ve ever had. ★

Watch Video: The Caminito Del Rey in Spain

(Click to watch Caminito Del Rey – Dangerous Hike In Spain on YouTube)

More Information

Location: El Chorro, Spain
Useful Notes: There’s a train from Malaga to El Chorro once a day, or you can rent a car to drive here on your own. The area is a popular destination for rock climbing too. More info here:

READ NEXT: Best Travel Tips After 6 Years Traveling

How do you feel about the Caminito del Rey getting fixed?


  1. God! Just looking at this pictures makes my heart beat 1000x faster! I’d LOVE to do a hike like that, but it’d be so, so scared! I’d probably be freaking out all the time!

  2. HI Matt, Wonderful narration and awesome pictures. I thought I had posted once in this blog but can’t seem to find.

    Anyway, I went to El Caminito Del Rey. I read about the restoration before I left but still wanted to visit. They have turned the whole thing into a park. It ain’t fun no more. I understand it is generating more tourist traffic and helping local economy. But, it is not the same you did few years back.

  3. Wow – it is very impressive that you dare take this route. I is however also very beautiful. I would like to go there if there is a more safe route to take ;-)

  4. So stoked you got to this this before they build a whole new trail above the old one. I was really looking forward to hiking this trail but it somehow lost its allure now that the “danger factor” is gone. :-(

  5. I just did this last summer. The whole path has been restore and is now a walk in the park although some spots are still scary, but I am sure not as scary are when you did it.

  6. The train from Seville to Malaga passes this Camino. When we did today, the whole carriage let out a wow of amazement, at the view, followed by a spontaneous round of applause when we saw the hikers on the path! Congratulations to you for completing it, and thanks for the pictures. Though of course I think you must be insane!?

  7. I walked the completed trail the other day, the last day it was free. What an amazing experience, I loved it. Maybe not so challaging as before, but having said that, would still put the wind up you if your not keen on heights.
    The heighlight to my trip to Spain. My wife booked it, I knew nothing about it, never heard of it, so glad she did. Better than the Grand Canyon. With the walkway clinging to the cliff, you are part of it.
    The old hydro works is an engineering feat in itself, those old timers were tough old blokes to of done what they did and I dare say mostly by hand and no modern equipment.
    Just go, you will never forget it!

  8. Hi Matthew,

    I like the way you have written about your trip to Caminito Del Rey. I am actually planning on solo tour to this spot. I would like to know anything and everything that I must. Please guide me. Thanks in advance.

  9. Wow…awakens the daredevil in me! Amazing shots by the way.
    Was there some maintenance going on or crowd limit for a day?


  10. Cool photos! I walked along that path a couple of times a few years ago on my way to the rock climbs along the gorge. It’s a bit of a shame that the path has been restored. Not really adventurous any more…
    Just as a side note: your ‘harness’ doesn’t seem particularly safe. Usually you’d avoid clipping two carabiners into each other (plus one of them seems to be unlocked?) as it increases the risk of failure when shock loading them.
    Safe travels!

  11. Hi, I am traveling in the month of April to Malaga with my husband for our honeymoon and i really want to see The king’s little pathway, but on the website you cant book the tickets. So please let me know where to book the tickets from.

    1. Go down to start of walk with passport and you may be lucky if there are some cancelations. Best in middle of week

  12. Hi Mathew,

    I plan to do the Caminito in April, 2015, after they just fixed it up, on the official website it says you have to book tickets in advance to go, but seems like everything is completely booked for April and May, is there a way I can do this on my own, is it allowed if I didn’t book a visit in advance?

  13. I did this 20 years ago approx and it was a lot less delapidated, as indeed was I. Loved your film; brought back great memories. So, I’m glad its being refurbished coz it would become undoable at all.

  14. I was holding my breath, wowwwwwww really awesome, beautiful place and lovely photos, keep up the spirit me too would love to do something like this.

  15. Hello Matthew,
    I’m thinking to go on March or May on this trail.
    How much time it takes? I think to came for the weekend, it’s enough?

    Thank you,

    1. The hike itself is not long. When it was broken, it took a few hours. However in April 2015 the restoration project will be complete and it should be easy. The area is nice though, you could certainly stay over night in El Churro, or maybe go rock climbing with a guide.

  16. Does anyone know for sure if this is closed? Amazing adventure and great documentation of it too well done I hope to get to do this soon!

  17. i have a fear of height, by only look at your picture make me sweat and having palpitation, lol!I wish i could try this kind of activity, but i guess every body got their own weakness. Nice pic by the way, it’s really inspiring though i’m too chicken enough to try it by my self :)

  18. Hi Matthew,
    Stumbled across your site by accident :) So thrilled to see all the pics of cdr…was there many years ago and it was heart stopping, yet beautiful. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

  19. Wow, that video is absolutely incredible. Awesome filming, editing and photography! Did you do the trail once first without filming to plan out your shots, or did you just take them as you went? I’m terrified of heights, so I know I could never do something like that. Thanks for sharing your experience for those of us that didn’t or wouldn’t do that hike before the rebuild.

  20. Hi Mathew, I wonder if you would add my English language website about the Caminito to your more information part? I see that you link to the Official Spanish site but of course that restricts it to just Spanish speaking people. My site is updated on a regular basis with news and information about the area.
    The site is
    Thanks for your time

  21. My only thought to this blog/post/… is that the picture with the beaners and snail makes me… Nervous…

    I was always taught to keep the gate opening of the carabiner away from a surface that may rub the locking sleeve loose.

    In other words the threaded part of the beaner should be facing away from the ground, yes vertical ground too. Also the beaner should be in the down position, hence “down and out”.

    1. Yes, it’s not the safest technique, but the chances of me falling, AND having a carabiner pop open are so small I wasn’t worried. It’s not even necessary to have a locking carabiner — it would be a pain to lock them shut each time you need to transfer to another anchor point. Is there a risk? Sure, but a pretty damn small one compared to things like climbing free-solo without any gear at all.

      Some people hike this trail without any harness or ropes. To each his own.

  22. The pictures are really nice. It is great scenery and looks challenging to cross. I don’t think I could make it across but I salute those that try. Now that it is being fixed up it will be easier to cross. I love challenges and hiking across paths in the mountains, but I want to know that I have some solid footing under me. Thanks for sharing though. Again, I loved the pictures of the trek going across.

  23. Hi and what a fantastic article.
    In a way it is sad that the “adrenalin adventure” will be lost when the new look Camino del Rey opens. I have walked and climbed this path quite a few times over the years as I live close by. But that said, there is a lot of cooperation going on now between various climbing groups and the authorities to keep a lot of the famous difficult climbs open…

    My biggest concern about this new walk open to general public is that there is no protection from rockfall… I have been up there when sometimes it rains rocks and that’s the main reason the original path is so full of holes… I suppose that included in the entrance price will be the use of a hard hat :)

  24. Loved the high res pictures and the video. I have been planning to do this for a few years now and sad to hear that it is under repair (although surely needed). The challenge might be lost though….

    One thing I did notice in the video was that you dropped your carabiners on the hard ground. Probably not something I would suggest if they are ever going to be used for climbing.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I’m not that worried about dropping metal carabiners from 3 feet, they aren’t that fragile. I’ve also been known to J-walk occasionally — so maybe you could say I enjoy living on the edge. ;-)

    1. Hi Ruslan!
      The Caminito is officially closed, but some companies offer guided tours. They’re supposed to be authorized to hike the Caminito. We were there a couple of months ago, and all the locals said it was closed – even the local tour guide.
      So you can choose to take a gamble and pay those who still offer guided tours, and hope they doesn’t rip you off.
      We would advise you not to though! ;-)

      Hope it helps you a bit!

  25. Really nice, great images too. But the flip flops? Please don’t encourage people going hiking in that kind of “footwear”. I hear about accidents in mountains every week because of people who are not equipped properly

    1. These aren’t flip-flops!! :-)

      Lunas are trail running sandals, used by ultra marathoners for 50+ mile races on rough mountain trails. Based on the design used by Tarahumara Indians who live in extremely remote and treacherous canyons in Mexico.

  26. Whoa, how have I only just seen this?! I was freaked out enough seeing the pictures. I think I held my breath for the entire video – which was cool beyond words. I’m so pleased you got to complete the hike and film it before the restoration takes place. I do love a bit of adventure travel but this is one…in fact many (broken) steps to far!

  27. El Caminito is still open as of 18 May. I hiked it’s entirety yesterday with your guide Jony. There are no trespassing signs, but police saw us from the road and no one stopped us. They h ab e put in new ferrata cables and are starting to replace the trail so get in there and do it soon before it’s too boring and easy. I’d suggest going on a weekend though so you don’t have to deal with the workers.

  28. I never thought I had a fear of heights until I saw that beam you walked across. That was crazy, but what a great view from the top!

  29. Wow! I sure do admire your adventurous spirit! Loved the video – I’m not big on heights and this makes my mouth go dry just watching it :D Thanks for the video…

  30. Not for me…This is definitely one I’ll have to pass up…too dangerous…your photos are great! Kudos!

  31. Hey Matthew, I don’t live far from the caminito, if only I knew you were doing the walk I would have joined you – NOT. I’ve seen the path from the road and that’s as near as I would want to get, even from there it turned my stomach. Great post.

  32. I love the scenery more than I love the actual walkway, but wow what a way to get up high and be surrounded by such awesome cliffs. This is certainly on my list now of places to visit…perhaps when I walk the Camino in a year or two. Is there a wine bar at either end of the trail? :)

  33. It looks so beautiful out there, but just watching that video terrified me. I have such a huge fear of heights.

  34. Matt that looks like a blast! I will be in Spain early summer shortly after they start construction. I am hoping I can still access part of the trail. You mentioned your guide, Jonny, and that we could contact him. What means of contact do you have for him or how could I reach him? Thanks for the inspiration!

  35. I (Franca) am terrified of heights and I couldn’t possibly do something like this no matter how nice the landscape and views are, mu legs would give in. It’s a shame, this fear limits me a lot at times, but I simply couldn’t do it! :(

    1. Yup! The first time was the hardest, but it got easier over the next 7 times. By the end I was pretty confident the trail wouldn’t fall apart under me, despite what it looked like.

      1. 8 times…?! Wow. I get that it could feel easier, less terrifying, with familiarity but just watching makes me queasy – supports rusting & crumbling, knowing safety-wires have snapped in the past… But it’s great that others do it & post it for the rest of us! :)

  36. What the f*******??! I actually can’t believe this!! You’re so brave and in sandals! Glad you didn’t fall…there were a few moments there when my heart was in my mouth watching you cross the rusty beams! :O Amazing as always! :)

  37. Looks amazing, definitely a hike I would want to do. Just as crazy as the place in China, I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures and speaking of photos – great shots! The snail picture was pretty funny.

  38. This is awesomely insane. The sandals, the rotting iron, the fact that you hiked it more than once! I’ve done some challenging hiking/climbing/traversing, but there is no way in hell I would do that hike as it is. I certainly enjoyed your account from it though. Perhaps I’ll give it a try when it is spruced up a bit!

  39. I think I saw part of this walk when I was biking in Andalucia but didn’t appreciate what it was at the time. I’d do it and maybe in Tevas too. It looks like I’m not the only one who does major hikes in scandals. Did you bring your own rope and biners?

  40. Alberto and I have talked about walking the Caminito del Rey for ages, but we just never had the guts to do it! Kudos to you for your courage. Awesome shots and video there. ;)

  41. Wow, this trip looks insane! Cool video! I have only tried barefoot shoes/socks for running. Don’t think I would have chosen these barefoot Luna Sandals on a climbing trip like this. How is the sandal’s grip on these kind of mountain trips? Well, you didn’t fall down, so guess they worked ok :). You should come to Norway and do spectacular mountain trips and climbs!

    1. I’ve seen some amazing photos from hikes in Norway, would love to visit one day. The Luna’s are great for trail running and easy hikes. I also have hiking sneakers though for more difficult (steep & long) hikes.

  42. Your photos although spectacular have just removed the Caminito del Rey from my bucket list. No, only kidding look forward to testing my nerves along the caminito one day.

  43. Love the video of you hiking the trail! One bit of advise to you though. When clipping into a safety line with two non-locking carabiners, I’d recommend you do one forward and one reverse so that the gates are never facing the same way. Sometimes when falling, the gates can jump and open up and come off the line. With keeping the carabiners in opposite directions you mitigate the issue of both coming off. This is a minute chance, but something to keep in mind!

  44. I’ve seen pictures of the Caminito del Rey before and always thought it looked like total insanity…my fears have only been confirmed by your post here hahaha but the photos are amazing! I had no idea they were planning on fixing it up; while it’s somewhat sad to hear it will lose its Xtreme status it’s nice to hear more people will be able to experience the gorge.

  45. my type of adventure. but now another natural wonder of our history, “sanitised” for the sake of the tourist dollar. i hope the “new path” will have lots of photos , ie every 10 meters or so, embedded into the new walkway of exactly what it was like as they replace it.
    maybe, another reason why there are many places i have no desire to go back to from my travels, as it has all changed since the 70-80s.
    do they call this “progress”?

    1. The new 1 is built a few feet above, you can still see much of the original; quite a contrast! At least now it will be preserved, the old 1 was deteriorating rapidly. It was restored as the only way to prevent more people falling off it, I can see it’s lost appeal for dare-devils but still thrilling for most people, & thankfully there’s many vids of the old path on YouTube, captured ‘forever’ Just watching them makes me queasy..

  46. Matthew, I thought you were a relatively sane individual. THIS IS INSANE! I thought you were crazy to be wearing sandals until I read they’re designed for trail running. Nice!

    1. You are absolutely insane but i am glad there are people like you out there who give hope to the rest of us that it can be done. Not sure i am up for this one but something a little tamer would work. next they will have zip lines over the canyon. that i would do. keep trekking.

  47. Watching this was such a good, inspiring start to my day :) Hats off to you, sir! I’d like to think I might have done it when young, but no way now! Hats off to your courage, but also to your photography! Cannot imagine concentrating on getting such great shots at the same time as doing this! Looks as if it was so worth it at the end, though. Not just for the achievement, but looks stunning

  48. Very glad to hear restoration is planned. Hope that all goes well and without injury. Looks like a wonderful place for future climbers to enjoy. :0}

  49. you, sir, are fucking nuts, but in a good way.

    I love this post, I had only seen viral pics of this path in Spain, and it’s awesome to hear about it firsthand from someone. Great story great photos, glad you didn’t fall off. When are you coming down to New Zealand for a taste of the epic adventures here?

  50. Absolutely amazing pictures and video. I’ve long loved this place since I first saw a youtube video about it years ago. With the construction starting there in weeks, it looks like I’ll never see it in it’s old glory. :(

  51. Oh my gosh that looks crazy!!! I’m curious about your sandals, they look like the running sandals I keep hearing about. Did you make them?

  52. Photos are indeed spectacular! Not afraid of heights if I don’t look down :) this is hardcore, but I guess totally worth! So what’s the next height challenge?

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