Fifteen years after several hikers fell to their deaths, Spain’s El Caminito del Rey footpath is scheduled to reopen this month. The pathway, dubbed one of the world’s scariest and most dangerous hikes, has been refurbished with safety features like handrails, wood-paneled paths and a skywalk.
The infamous trail, located in the village of El Chorro near Málaga in southern Spain, rises more than 330 feet above the Guadalhorce river gorge. In some sections, the trail is no more than a yard wide and juts out perpendicularly from the vertical rock face.
El Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Pathway) was built between 1901 and 1905 to allow workers access between two hydroelectric power plants. It was named for King Alfonso XIII, who crossed the trail 20 years after it was completed. Much of the concrete path had fallen into disrepair.
Several hikers were killed on the path in 1999 and 2000, which led the Spanish government to close it. Although it’s illegal to hike, El Caminito del Rey has been a destination for adrenaline junkies and daredevils ever since videos appeared on YouTube in recent years showing walkers traversing the footpath with little safety equipment.
In 2011, local governments agreed to invest 2.2 million euros ($2.3 million) into repairing the footpath, although construction costs went over budget and were estimated at more than 5 million euros ($5.3 million). Crews added 500 tons of material to 2.5 miles of the footpath, including the once-treacherous cliffside section, according to the Guardian. The renovated El Caminito del Rey is expected to open March 28 and will be free to walk for the first three months, after which there will be a small charge.