Fairly well unknown compared to its more famous American
counterpart, the Copper Canyon is actually four times larger than
the Grand Canyon, boasting canyons up to 1000ft deeper, and over
200 gorges totalling almost 1000 miles in length. Not bad for
something most people have never even heard of - perhaps testament
to the American art of self-promotion. Still, if it means the
Copper Canyon is something of a hidden gem, so much the better.
A ride on the Chihuahua al Pacifico railway is one of the
highlights of the area. Starting in the town of Los Mochis on the
Sea of Cortez, the Chepe, as it's known locally, winds its way up
through the Sierra Madre Mountains to Chihuahua and beyond to El
Paso in Texas. Fortunately, you don't have to spend days doing the
whole thing, but a day spent travelling between El Fuerte and
Posadas Barrancas is a day well spent.
There are a staggering 87 tunnels to pass through and some 37
bridges to cross on the six hour journey, which is undoubtedly one
of the finest train rides in the Western Hemisphere, if not the
world. Turn after turn the scenery becomes more and more impressive
as you delve further into the country.
After a couple of nights at Posadas Barrancas on the rim of the
Canyon - where you're unlikely to ever wake up to such a
spectacular view as the one from the rooms at the Hotel Mirador -
head down to the sleepy town of Batopilas for a taste of true
Mexican cowboy country. There wasn't even a road down to the town
20 years ago, so it's safe to say this place is still very much off
the beaten track.
And if that isn't intrepid enough, Original Travel can arrange
hikes through the extensive valley system and expeditions on
horseback lasting from a day to a week.
Copper Canyon tours combine perfectly with a stay at one of the
luxurious hotels on the Baja Peninsula, just a short hop across the
Sea of Cortez.