This summer I had the pleasure of doing this trail twice, once in June and again in September. What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon for anyone that wants to get off the couch and go for a beautiful walk through the stunning gorge at El Chorro north of Malaga.
One thing to note, is that booking ahead is a must. Tickets must be purchased online in advance to ensure entry most times in the year. http://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/#1 this is the website with the English language preference chosen. It is also available in French, German and Spanish.
I can’t put into words how enjoyable this walk is.. A guided tour is not necessary, and in fact more enjoyable doing it without the guide, you can move at your own pace.
Things of importance to note.
When you arrive at Ardales, the start of the trail, there is ample parking a restaurant and cafe/bar with facilities.
When you book your ticket, you book a start/entry time. It is important to note that it is 2.5 or 1.5 kilometer walk in to get to the start of the walk, so leave yourself enough time to ensure you get to the gate at your starting time. There are toilet facilities here as well and places to sit while awaiting your entry time. Be early.
There are 2 entrances at the start, the first one is located right next to the cafe and is the longer and slightly more challenging route from the one that is located about 100 meters from the cafe. If mobility is an issue, I highly recommend the route that is located 100 meters from the cafe. A small flash light is a good idea as you go thru a low tunnel to get through the rock for 20 meters or so, rocky floor so a flashlight is a good idea.
At the end of the walk, there is a bus that you can take back to the start where you parked. It’s under 3 euros. Another option is to drive to the El Chorro end of the trail, park your car, take the bus to the start and then walk back to your car. There are restaurants and facilities at both ends. Give yourself extra time if you are doing this method as the bus takes about 20 minutes to circumnavigate the gorge and get to the start.
Children under 8 are not permitted nor are any persons that require carrying. No hikers backpacks are permitted either as in place the trail is narrow. Small day packs are welcome, be sure to bring a snack and some water.
The trail in total is about 7.5 km depending on which entrance you use and takes about 3 hours at a leisurely pace.