Location: Middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains of the state of Chihuahua, Mexico
Attraction Type: Canyon
Significance: World famous canyon system
Best Time To Visit: The best time to experience the canyon is between October and March when the temperatures are cooler
How To Reach: Mexico City International Airport, then Los Mochis Airport or Chihuahua Airport
Nearest Airport: Los Mochis Federal Airport
The land of the reclusive Tarahumara Indians, the Sierra Madre is rich in history and legend, haunted by the restless shadows of fallen warriors, martyred Jesuits, and Pancho Villa’s army. The Sierra Tarahumara Occidental region has some twenty-three different species of pine and two hundred different species of Oak trees. The majestic Copper Canyon nature park in the state of Chihuahua spans more than 600 km in length and 250 km in width.
The Copper Canyon area comprises of a series of twenty canyons, formed over the years by six rivers. It is nestled in the Sierra Madre Range with several large canyons boasting grandeur seven times larger than the Grand Canyon of the United States. Although different in nature, the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua is deeper and more verdant. It provides some of the best sceneries in all of Mexico. The world-famous canyon system is one of Mexico’s natural, cultural and historic wonders.
The walls of the canyon are copper or green color and that is how the name came up. The six major canyons in the system are Urique Canyon, Sinforosa Canyon, Copper Canyon, Batopilas Canyon, Tararecua Canyon, Oteros Canyon.
There are many ways to explore Copper Canyon such as biking, hiking, driving or horseback riding. The most popular way is by train, the Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railroad. The train passes from the Pacific Ocean up into the heart of the canyon’s scenic splendor. Built over a 90 year period, this world-famous railroad is an outstanding engineering achievement. It has been called the most thrilling train ride in the western hemisphere.
Places to See in the Region of Copper CanyonCusarare Falls:
Cusarare Falls is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to the Sierra Tarahumara. It is situated 22 km south of Creel along the Creel to Guachochi road and drops 100 feet to join the Urique River in the Copper Canyon, Chihuahua. This area is surrounded by a pine forest. Here you will explore an entirely different world that is rich with dramatic waterfalls, cave dwellings, and ancient ruins. It is a perfect spot for the hikers and adventure lovers, for camping and spending a great day amidst the beauty of nature.
Recowata Hot Springs:
Just 22 km from Creel you can hike up to Cusarare falls then continuing to Recohuata hot springs. These popular hot springs is situated at the bottom of a small canyon called Tararecua and can be reached by car, bicycle, horseback or even on foot.
Located in the central part of the Canyon and 14 km from Creel, the Lake Arareko is a gorgeous alpine lake nestled amongst historical Missions, gigantic rock formations and Raramuri cave dwellings still in use. This lake area lies in a forest with pines, oaks, and madrones.
Peí±a del Gigante (Balancing Rock):
It is the highest vertical rock face in the country, dropping a straight which has the highest vertical wall of Mexico at 2,290 feet.
Valley of the Frogs, Monks, Mushrooms: The Valley of Frogs, Monks and Mushrooms are located in the town of Creel. The rock formations of these three valleys were sculpted by erosion of the volcanic and sedimentary rock layers, producing some interesting balanced rocks.
Escultura de Cristo Rey:
A white stone statue standing on top of a hill is 8 meters tall. To reach the statue you will have to ascend the 500-meter hillside and a stairway. From the top of the hill, you will get a panoramic view of the city. This is a great place to take photographs.
San Miguel de Satevó Mision:
The Jesuit mission of San Miguel de Satevó is just outside the town of Creel in Copper Canyon Mexico, near the edge of the Batopilas River. Also known as the “Lost Mission” it is believed to have been constructed in the 1760s. It is one of the canyon’s best-preserved Missions.
Mision Jesuita Santo Cinco Seí±ores de Cusarare:
This is one of the region’s oldest missions and an important site where many Tarahumara celebrations take place. Located in the central zone of the Parque Natural Barrancas del Cobre, 22 km from Creel, the original architecture of the church has been kept intact and the interior is adorned with Raramuri paintings.
Casa y Museo de Artesanias de Creel:
Located in front of Creel’s main plaza, on Tarahumara Street, this museum has an elaborate collection of Tarahumara art and crafts, helping you to learn about their customs and traditions. There is also a showroom with an exhibit of prize-winning Raramuri crafts. The museum remains open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Conjunto Mogollon – Serpiente Caves:
Located in the northern part of Copper Canyon, 46 km west of Ciudad Madera, near the bottom of Huapoca Canyon. You will see the Cueva del Nido and Serpiente caves. This cave is actually a very large overhang open on both sides. There are 14 adobe rooms and a hallway that goes from one side of the overhang to the other.
Huapoca Suspension Bridge:
Built-in 1950, the suspension bridge over the Huapoca River is the main road used by loggers to transport their log-laden trucks to Madera, Chihuahua, Mexico. Adventurous travelers will find this an exciting extension to a trip to the archaeological sites.
Accommodation and Hotels in Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon offers a wide choice of unique hotels. Some of the hotels are situated in the mountains overlooking the canyon whereas others offer amazing luxurious amenities like spas and restaurants. Some of the hotels in the Copper Canyon area of Chihuahua Mexico include Creel, El Fuerte, and Los Mochis. The hotels in the surrounding areas can be named like Margarita’s Plaza Mexicana in Creel, Hotel la Choza in El Fuerte, Hotel Mansion Tarahumara in Urique, Hotel Mary in Batopilas, Cascada Inn in Creel, Hotel Nuevo in Creel, Parador de la Montana in Creel, Posada Barrancas Mirador, Sierra Bonita, Motel Real Del Bosque and many more.