The massive defile of El Chorro's signature feature "The Gorge" is one of Andalucias most famous landmarks, made all the more siginicant by the Caminito del Rey, the King's walk (El Caminito del Rey). The walkway was built in the beginning of the 19th century to give access to the hydro-electric work in the gorge. The walkway was named after King Alonso XIII after his visit in 1921. Over the years the Caminito del Rey has fallen into disrepair and the starting and ending sections have been destroyed in order to stop the access after several accidents caused by walkers and hikers.
Despite this, or maybe because of it, for climbers the walkway is one of the great attractions of El Chorro since it offers the airy and atmospheric aproach to some of it oldest and most exciting sectors. Despite these attracions, the climbing focus in El Chorro hased moved away from the gorge in the past years to other areas.
There are plans to restore the catwalk, works will begin mid 2011 and finish in 2014.
On the right bank of Los Gaitanes Geroge where the jurassic limestone meets with the sandstone and conglomerat, a vertival wall of about 250m rises on the riverbed and the river flows at the base of the abyss. The diference in height from this point of Gaitanejo with respect to the outlet in el chorro is more than one hundert meters. At the begining of the 20th century an idea was conceived to use the difference between the inlet and the outlet heights of the canyons for hydroelectric purposes. In 1901 the works to build the canal started as well as the works to build the service bridge for the floodgate workers and guards. These spectacular works were completet in 1905 and the El Chorro Water Power Station started to produce electric power from his first station. However, besides its industrial and tecnological importance (as the works were completly avant garde for their time.) It was the bridge hanging over the impressive gorge that attracted the most attention.
Los Balconcillos was the original name given to this bridge hanging at one hundert meter above the ground. It was designed by Rafael Benjumea and his specialised team of workers. Many of these workers were sailors who were accustomed to climbing ropes and working only an abyss below them. Metallic wall brackets were used to support a brick and cement facing arch. A series of iron cross members and a simple rail were sufficient protection for the three kilometer long vertigo. The name changed to Caminito del Rey when Alfonso XIII walked across this bridge on his way back to the Pantano del Chorro. A plaque at the entrance conmemorates the monarchys excitment and the recognition to Benjumea. This spectacular construction attracted many people and became a tourist destination, but unfortunately had also started to deteoriate due to neglect by the hydroelectric companies. Today, this construction is one of the most important restoration projects.