The viral image of the structure damaged by falling stones on the Caminito del Rey, the authorship is unknown

Caminito del Rey reopens with a route that avoids the damaged section

The popular gorge walk was closed to visitors when up to 50 metres of the suspended walkway collapsed earlier this week, but the tourist attraction's operator has said it will reopen the path by changing the route

SUR MALAGA.

There was no risk to the public when up to 50 metres of the famous Caminito del Rey walkway was badly damaged in a rockfall earlier this week, managers and owners have stressed.

The attraction in inland Malaga province near Álora was closed from Tuesday after a rock face in a narrower part of the gorge that the suspended path runs through collapsed on Monday night, following recent heavy rain.

The part affected was the first section of the route. While there is safety netting above it to protect from any landslide like this week’s, it was the opposite rockface at the narrowest point that unexpectedly gave way.

A photograph shared widely on social media and independently verified, showed dramatic damage to the path’s supporting steel framework and wooden slats.

While staff at the beauty spot - which is owned by the Diputación de Málaga provincial authority and operated by an outside consortium - hoped it would take just a few days to repair, later this week it became clear that a more detailed structural survey would be needed first. Expert rock climbers and safety experts have been analysing the structure and rock opposite.

In the meantime, arrangements have been made for visitors to enter instead at the southern end of the path, which is normally the exit, and walk up and down the route as far as the damage before returning again. The revised visit will take in a less-used parallel tunnel as well and mean that 5.5km of the normally 6km route will be passable.

Visits with a guide

Managers are planning to reopen today (Friday 16), with some 500 people said to have already pre-booked tickets. Unlike on normal days, all visits will take place in groups with a guide.

The Caminito del Rey walk in a natural gorge follows a path opened 100 years ago as part of a hydroelectric system. Completely rebuilt recently, it has been turned into a major visitor attraction that has won prizes and is credited with boosting tourist numbers to inland Malaga province.

The president of the provincial authority, Francisco Salado, stressed on Thursday that the route has a high degree of safety equipment and is closed in especially inclement weather.