Copper Canyon is located in the Sierra Madre Mountains In the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The six main canyons in Copper Canyon National Park (Parque Nacional Barranca del Cobre) were formed by six rivers that merge into the Rio Fuerte and empty into the famous Sea of Cortez. The canyons, named for their greenish-copper color, rival the United States' Grand Canyon in size. The area's caves are home to the Tarahumara Indians who, according to Copper Canyon Tour guides, are the world's utmost long-distance runners.
The Famous Railway Adventure
The Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railroad, called El Chepe, takes you through a landscape of rich color and history as it makes its way over 405 miles of track in about 15 hours. The route traverses more than 30 bridges and more than 80 tunnels and, at one point, rises to nearly 8,000 feet above sea level near the Continental Divide. Though construction began in the late 19th century, the railroad was not completed until 1961. Besides tourists, the locals also use the railroad for transportation between towns.
Tours on the Rim or to the Bottom
Several tours are offered by companies such as The California Native International Adventures and Caravan Tours. Seven- to 14-day tours to the bottom of the canyons are available with guides or without, and four- to eight-day tours along the rim also are available. Most tours offer bilingual American guides, native guides or a combination of both, and all meals are included when booking through one of these tour companies. All tours involve hiking, and some of the longer trips may involve horseback riding. The climate varies greatly from the mountains surrounding the canyon rims to the canyon bottoms. At the canyon bottoms, although temperatures can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and the climate can be temperate and dry in the winter, the higher elevations of the surrounding mountains are mild in the summer but cold (as low as 7 degrees below zero) and dry in the winter.
Make Sure These are on Your Itinerary
Whether you are taking a guided tour (in which case many of these may be on the itinerary) or are independently touring the area, these are some sights you will not want to miss: Cusarare Falls, Basaseachic Falls, the town of Urique, the Mennonite Settlements, the Mayo Indian Village and the Lost Satevo Cathedral.