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Gorge of Gaitanes

Diputación de Málaga

Gorge of Gaitanes

Surface - 2.016 ha.
Rules - Ley 4/1989 de 27 de marzo (Estatal). Ley 2/1989 de 18 de julio (Autonómica).
Natural Area > Site of Natural Heritage

The Gaitanes Gorge is a canyon carved by the river Guadalhorce in the territory of Alora, with access from the north by the Guadalhorce reservoirs and from the south by El Chorro, which at some points is only 10 meters wide and reaches 700 meters.
The construction of a water channel from reservoirs in the north to El Chorro to get here the slope in a hydropower station, carried with it a path of maintaining that channel, known as Caminito del Rey because work was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII. This path about 3 kilometers long has some giddy, steel bar and concrete driven into the vertical wall and a bridge over the gorge on the same waterway. Today its use is banned since 2000 because it is quite damage and many people has died in it. The Malaga Provincial Council has approved a rehabilitation project of it.

Until the arrival of the High Speed Train (AVE), the gorge was the only rail access to Málaga from the interior of Andalusia, with a long tunnel in the east wall of the gorge. There is now another tunnel located one kilometer east, under the Human Peña, to access high-speed rail.


At the centre of Malaga province. Main access roads: N-342, C-341.


This is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Malaga mountain range, with steep slopes and lofty peaks among which the River Guadalhorce flows after passing through the Chorro, Guadalhorce, Guadalteba and Gaitanejo reservoirs.

The dimensions of this three-kilometre-long narrow canyon are quite striking. In fact, in some sections the distance between one side and the other is barley ten metres, making it even more impressive, particularly when we take into account the fact that the gorge is 700 metres high at certain points. The sheer verticality of these huge masses of limestone is a sight to see.

In the lower reaches, the river has eroded the rock in its quest for more space. Geologists believe that the canyon consists essentially of limestone and dolomite from the Jurassic and Miocene periods. The walls of the gorge are home to numerous cavities, some of which lie far above the course of the River Guadalhorce.

Plant Life

Aleppo pines, stone pines and eucalyptuses make up the tree population, accompanied by scrub, notably junipers, Sabine junipers, Mediterranean fan palms, brooms and rockroses. Vegetation on the riverbank comprises rushes, reeds, canes, oleanders and tamarisks, as well as some poplars and willows.

Animal Life

Notable among the fauna are mountain birds such as the Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture golden eagle and honey buzzard, to name but a few. Several species of amphibians and numerous reptiles (the eyed lizard and the ladder, Montpellier and viperine snakes) are to be found here.

The mountain goat inhabits the upper reaches, along with foxes, rabbits, dormice, badgers and genets.


Cereal crops and olive and almond trees are important here. Sporting activities such as free flight are carried out, though these are detrimental to the nesting of the birds.

How to get there

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Discover more about the province of Malaga

Discover more about the province of Malaga