Curiously shaped canyons and cliffs hide immense natural beauty
In the heart of the Tarahumara mountains in the northeast corner of the state of Chihuahua lies a series of majestic canyons commonly known as Las Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyons). The walls of the canyons are copper green in color, hence the name.
Spanning a total length of 37,000 miles, these canyons are longer and deeper than the Grand Canyon in Colorado and seem keen on hiding surprises, legends, and traditions from the curious gaze of visitors.
The canyons are home to the Rarámuris, or Tarahumaras, an indigenous people who have lived here for centuries and whose lives are intertwined with the mountains. Their way of life has largely been preserved because they occupy remote areas and thus remain isolated and independent. They are famous for their endurance running. Because they live in the canyons, they must travel long vertical distances and often run nonstop for hours. Some of these communities accept government funding to build roads, restaurants, and lodging to attract tourism. Others do not, preferring to live in areas as far away as possible from city life.
The area is the prime attraction along the Copper Canyon train journey between Chihuahua, the state capital, and Los Mochis in the neighboring state of Sinaloa, passing through tunnels and crossing the mighty Sierra along its route. The Chihuahua al Pacifico (Chepe for short) took about 90 years to complete. Opened in 1961, the train is 390 miles long and crosses 39 bridges and 86 tunnels. The scenery is breathtaking, and the journey takes 14 hours.
The vast and contrasting biodiversity in this legendary part of the state of Chihuahua makes it ideal for nature lovers and ecotourism. One can hike in the woods, camp, bird-watch, or simply wonder at the contrasting changes in vegetation.The climate varies depending on the time of year, from arid and desert-like to lush and tropical. The endless range of mountains melts into the horizon and seems crafted out of various textures, hues, and shapes.
Located approximately five hours by road from the state capital Chihuahua, these canyons offer plenty of accommodation options, whether you’re looking to stay in a rural hotel with all the amenities or have a camping adventure.
The best way to see the area is by taking a Copper Canyon tour. Popular activities in the area include horseback rides through indigenous villages and visits to lakes and waterfalls. A prime attraction is Basaseachic Falls on the Basaseachic River, which is the second-highest waterfall in Mexico. It is 807 feet tall and flows year-round.
Visitors can also arrange for a tour of an indigenous village community to learn about their customs first-hand.
- Village Tours
- Museums and Cultural Centers
- Arts and Crafts
- Traditions and Festivities