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  • Information About the Sierra Madre Mountains

    The name Sierra Madre refers to a number of mountain ranges. There are five Sierra Madre ranges in Mexico, one of which extends into Central America, as well as the Sierra Madre Mountains in California. In Spanish, Sierra Madre means "mother mountain range." (Pictured below: Copper Canyon, Sierra Madre Occidental, Chihuahua, Mexico)
    Information About the Sierra Madre Mountains

    The five Sierra Madre ranges in Mexico are the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Sierra Madre Oaxaca, the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Sierra Madre de Chiapas.

    The Sierra Madre Occidental

    The Sierra Madre Occidental is located in northwestern and western Mexico and the Gulf of California. This range extends from the northern Mexican state of Sonora, near the U.S. and Mexico border in Arizona, and runs southeast to Guanajuato where it meets the Sierra Madre del Sur.

    The highest point of the Sierra Madre Occidental range is Cerro Mohinora, an extinct volcano reaching 10,863 feet into the sky. The Sierra Madre Occidental is a part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountains that run almost continuously from North America and into Central America, South America and Antartica. 

    The Sierra Madre Oriental

    The Sierra Madre Oriental in northeastern Mexico is a 620 mile long mountain chain that runs from the Rio Grande on the Mexico and Texas border southwest into the Mexican state of Puebla. The highest peak in the chain is the Cerro San Rafael, reaching 12,100 feet in elevation. Like the Sierra Madre Occidental, Sierra Madre Oriental is considered to be a part of the American Cordillera. 

    The Sierra Madre Oaxaca

    Located in southern Mexico, the majority of the Sierra Madre Oaxaca can be found in the state of Oaxaca. The range is 190 miles long and the tallest peaks in the Sierra Madre Oaxaca reach over 9,000 feet. The pine forests of this mountain range contain a number of endangered species and a high number of amphibians and reptiles. 

    The Sierra Madre del Sur

    The Sierra Madre del Sur is a mountain range in the South Pacific region of southern Mexico, primarily in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca. The highest peak in this range is just over 12,000 feet.

    This range of mountains is famous for its oak-pine and cloud forests. The Sierra Madre del Sur are also well known for the biodiversity of plants and animals that live in the mountains. The range is home to 595 plant species, 161 species of butterfly, 160 species of bird and 54 species of mammals. 

    The Sierra Madre de Chiapas

    This mountain range begins in Mexico and dips down into South America, crossing Guatemala and running into El Salvador and Honduras. The highest peak in this range is the Volcan Tajumulco. Standing 13,850 feet tall, Volcan Tajumulco is the highest peak in Central America. As its name suggests, it is a volcano. Most of the volcanos in Guatemala are a part of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain range. 

    California's Sierra Madre

    There is also a mountain range in California called Sierra Madre. This range is located primarily in Santa Barbara County and is 25 miles long. California's Sierra Madre are a part of the California Coastal Ranges. The highest peak in this range is called Peak Mountain, which reaches a height of 5,850 feet. The range is an important habitat for the endangered California condor. 

    Tips and Resources

    There is also a mountain range in the Philippines called Sierra Madre


    Article Written By Kim Dinan

    Kim Dinan is a writer covering the outdoors and travel. Her adventures have taken her around the world, including camping and hiking in nearly every US state. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. She is also a published author.

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