El Chorro is one of those places that comes up in hushed tales of adventure; a legendary town on the edge of a gorge that swallows the souls of any brave enough to traverse its deadly confines and a trophy for those that survive.
Most will focus on the gorge itself and the attractive dangers of the Caminito del Rey (the King’s path) but to do so is to ignore the other great sights that lie hidden between the rocks and rises of its mountainous terrain.
Amongst those hidden gems at El Chorro is the abandoned hydro station which sits high up in the rocks above the dammed Rio Guadalhorce which used to feed its channels and traps; the water pressure piped in from the gorge providing pressure which powered the gates, flooding the half dozen or so chambers and generating electricity for the local area.
Now the abandoned hydro station sits in ruin; a relic of an era long since superseded by improved technology and greater need of power. A solitary gate, open wide and rusted, is the only thing to ward trespassers away; a job at which it completely fails.
Likewise the rusted fence slowly decays year by year as the walls of the power station gather moss and cracks in equal measure. You can still sense the hustle and noise that once churned the waters to give the locals their electricity.
The site was completed in 1949 and, as mentioned before, is now nothing more than a reminder of man’s achievements in that era, something now completely obsolete in comparison to the almighty dam and hydro station that dominates the end of the river and high peaks above.
The local authorities are doing their best to keep adventurers out of the gorge and the Caminito del Rey, and it would appear they’re working towards doing the same with the abandoned hydro station. It is a shame on both fronts because the revenue that both would generate in tourism would be a massive boon to the town which has suffered since the ajuntament destroyed the first 20 metres of the King’s Path due to so many fatalities within the gorge.
You can find the abandoned hydro station just below an ornate wrought iron cross on one of the two walks that start by the excellent ‘Camping El Chorro‘ (read about that here).
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