El Caminito Del Rey, Spain
As well as being more than 100 years old it's also unbelievable dangerous. In places the walkway is less than one metre wide and it rises more than 350 feet (100 metres) above the riverbed below. And due to its age and the fact that very little maintenance work has ever been done it's in a terrible state. Most of the handrails have gone and there are entire sections where the concrete pathway has simply fallen away. There is a safety wire that climbers can clip onto as they make the journey, but not everybody uses this. In fact both entrances were officially closed in 2000 after there were two fatalities in the space of one year.
This hasn't stopped thrill seekers having a crack though. In fact people are now flocking to the area as a 9 million Euro restoration project has recently started and many climbers want to say that they conquered El Caminito Del Rey before it was repaired.
Huashan Cliffside Trail, China
|Huashan Cliffside Trail|
If you thought being 100 metres above a Spanish riverbed sounded scary, wait till you hear about the Huashan Cliffside Trail located near Huayin in China's Shaanxi Province. It runs along the side of Mount Hua and at its highest point is more than 1,600 metres above sea level. Put it this way, if you fall off you're going to have a long time to think about how much it's going to hurt when you hit the floor.
The Cliffside Trail isn't something the powers that be want tourists to attempt. It was built in the 3rd or 4th century as a way for local villages to cross the QinLing Mountain range without having to go down and round, a journey which took days. Until 1949 it was only the locals who knew the trail existed but as tourism has boomed in the area and the mountain has become more accessible its reputation has grown.
The trail is basically a combination of wooden planks and ridiculously steep steps carved into the mountainside. A few chains have been added to improve safety, but the authorities would much rather tourists trying to reach the South Peak Temple use the much newer, and much safer stone built path.
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