The last stretch of the path is 2.1 km long and it is downwards. This area, called Avenue Caminito del Rey, embraces:
- El Chorrro Hydroelectric Power Station
- Albercones Viaduct
- El Chorro Old Town
- Hard hat deposit point
- El Chorro Train Station and the tunnels.
Natural Phenomenon of the Spurt (El Chorro) Exit Path to El Chorro (2.1 km downwards)
The exit path (2.1 km) runs upwards some steps and then downwards up to a landing or a flat surface which is a meeting point. There is an information board regarding geological features of the place and a pipe that goes from the aqueduct bridge to the hydroelectric power station. You will see a downwards slope that goes round Majada de la Cebolleta Hill, where an iron cross stands. The hikers that climb towards the viewpoint use to put a stone at this point. Follow the path on a slope to an old eucalyptus tree, in which trunk you will see a piece of the pipe that belonged to the old El Chorro Hydroelectric Power Station. There is a station's water tank up on the left.
This is where the way to the cross and the viewpoint goes from. It offers dramatic views of the gorge's entrance walls, the reservoir, Mesas de Villaverde and El Chorro village. The name El Chorro comes from a spectacular natural phenomenon created by heavy rain from the inland of the province at the place where the three rivers merge. This unique and powerful river course ran through the canyons to the surface, where it appeared with great strength in spurts.
While you keep walking down the slope, you will see a bit hidden three-floor building on the right. It has stone facade, rectangular doorway, a ridged roof with glaze green tiles, covered in simple but accomplished architectural details. The Engineer's House or chief engineer Rafael Benjumea's home was built at the end of 1920s, and used for managing works on the hydroelectric power station.
More downwards, at a sharp bend, you should look up at the Albercones Viaduct, which is also called Josefona or La Fuente [the Fountain or Spring] Bridge. This magnificent building was made of stone and concrete in 1926, and took place of the 'Large Old Iron Bridge' from 1865. The viaduct spans the valley floor between two rocks by a big arch that supports other smaller arches, which help to hold up the entire structure.
The Engineer's House (Casa / Chalet de Ingeniero), as some old photos show, was much higher above the old El Choro Station, and, therefore, offered the incredible views of the reservoir, the pipes that used to stretch from the reservoir to the large casket and El Chorro village. Today, after the old station and the bridge of La Encantada Reservoir had been demolished, the house got to the level of the village.
El Chorro Old Town
Walking down to the level of the reservoir, you will reach a service way with pavement, surrounded by trees, which goes past the school-chapel or Medalla de la Milagrosa Country Chapel. The 'Butter Stairs', called this way due to their wavy shape, lead to the information boards about the plant and animal life, and to a square with two large stone benches, where you can rest in the shade and read the commemorative plaque or admire a mosaic dedicated to the Virgin. There is a slope at the information boards which leads to the area above the chapel, where a viewpoint with palm trees and benches, which look over La Encantada Cliff, are. The school-chapel was built by Rafael Benjumea, as well as some other buildings in the nearby village, so experts', workers' and Power Station operators' children could study there. Its function was of great importance for their education. Some old buildings' ground can still be noticed on this second level, as well as some cave houses on the following one.
Building of the dam and the hydroelectric power station meant more work for El Chorro village, which developed and received more inhabitants. Many of these buildings which were built by Rafael Benjumea unified aesthetics and functionality and were adapted to the surroundings. Some of them also had gardens. Besides the chapel, the habitants of the village also obtained a school with a library, Medalla Milagrosa School, and even some tennis and basketball courts. The employees at the power plant did not have to pay electricity bills.
Hard Hat Deposit Point (the end of the route)
The booth where you need to leave your hard hats is the end of the route El Caminito del Rey and it is placed at the car park and service points, near the camp site and lodging. There is also a Tourist Office, provided by the Álora Town Council, where you can obtain booklets and additional information about the routes and the surrounding area (monuments, archaeological sites, viewpoints, paths, etc.), as well as about the timetable, bars, restaurants and accommodation.
When you give back the hard hat, your visit to El Caminito del Rey Path is finished. This way you will complete this environmental and historic route which started at the dam of the Count of Guadalhorce Reservoir in Ardales. Remember that this is where the water from the rivers is stored and ends at El Chorro Power Station in Álora, where the turbine engines create power thanks to the 8km-long downwards slope.
El Chorro Train Station and the Tunnels
El Chorro Train Station is next to the shuttle stop, on a big podium, with a ridged roof, a classical clock and handrails to lean over the railway. Old water tanks, signs and tunnel entries make a kind of emblematic traditional postcard. This train station, which forms part of the Málaga – Córdoba railway line, was of great importance for El Chorro village, which had been isolated before this line was built. The railway between these two cities, which is 192 km long, was finished in 1865 after only five-year-long works on a difficult terrain, as it includes 17 tunnels, 8 viaducts and 19 bridges. The return trip between El Chorro and Málaga was provided in the morning and in the afternoon. The journey from Álora to Málaga took 59 minutes, which was not long, as trains were forbidden to go faster than 30 km per hour along bendy parts of the way, or 40 km per hour along the straight railway sections.
The infrastructure for the high-speed train AVE that goes along 155 km from Córdoba to Málaga needed 19 viaducts (more than 11 km long) and 8 tunnels between Málaga and Antequera. The tunnels at Abdalajís, which are the longest in Andalucía (7300 m), and go in parallel across the Abdalajajís Valley Mountains and the Huma Mountains, were built in 2006 in a month with 'La Alcazaba', a 110 m-long tunnel boring machine. The viaduct at Las Piedras [Stones] Stream is the highest (93.4 m) and one of the longest (1208 m) in the area.
On the right of the train station El Chorro-Caminito del Rey, as this train stop is called today, you can see large very steep rocky walls, like the Pedrera de los Castillones. This area has been world-famous by climbers due to its difficulty since 2014. At least one of the Spanish climbing championships is celebrated here.