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Dates of visit:
May 25, 2005 -
June 3, 2005

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Copper Canyon
 Batopilas Canyon
 Creel
 Mining Towns
 Missions & Museums
 Chihuahua City
 Sea of Crtez
 San Catlos
 Bahia Kino
 Tarahumara Indians
 Land of "Stupid"
 

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Ciudad Chihuahua & Creel,
Cusarare Falls,
Copper & Batopilas Canyons,
Ciudad Batopilas & Guachochi
Go to second page - Cusarare Mission & Museum, El Divisadero, Valley of Frogs,
                                   Ciudad Obregon, Guaymas, San Carlos and Bahia Kino,
                                   Tarahumara (Raramuri) Indians
        Map of Mexico
        Area visited in Mexico
        Ciudad (City of) Chihuahua
        Location of Ciudad Chihuahua
        Reference Map of Greater Copper Canyon Zone
        Ciudad (City of) Creel & Cusarare Falls
        Location of Ciudad Creel & Copper Canyon
        Copper Canyon and Batopilas Canyons
        Ciudad Batopilas
        Ciudad Guachochi
Ciudad Chihuahua

ChihuahuaThe state's capital and second largest city (1.7 million), Chihuahua unfortunately doesn't get much attention from North American vacationers. Most visitors are either in transit overnight on their way south to Mexico's interior, or heading westward into the Sierra Tarahumara mountains on a Copper Canyon excursion.

Founded in 1707, the city is very comfortable and prosperous. It showcases some interesting museums, colonial era vestiges, and turn-of-the-century architecture. It is worthy of at least a few days of exploring, and makes an excellent base for sightseeing around Chihuahua state.

Only six hours from the El Paso, Texas, the city is a historical gem. Some of Mexico's most famous citizens, such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Benito Juarez, and Pancho Villa, have been a part of Chihuahua's past.

Ciudad Chihuahua
Chihuahua Chihuahua Chihuahua

Ciudad Creel

Creel (creh-EHL) is known as the "Gateway to the Copper Canyon". And it is a popular starting point for exploring the canyons. The town has the feeling of a late 19th century logging town and is set high (2,340 meters (7,669 feet)) in the mountains in a valley surrounded by pine forest. As the canyon's largest town (pop. 6,500), many visitors will stock up on supplies and information here before their trek through these magnificent canyons.

The town is located 250 kilometers (150 miles) from Chihuahua City and takes about 3-4 hours driving time.

In Creel, it's worthwhile to visit the local Casa del Artesano Indigena (House of Indigenous Handicrafts) run by the state, and the Artesanías Misíon (Mission Store) with all proceeds going to a local indigenous hospital. Both places offer fine Tarahumara crafts, and you can also find them in local shops along Ave. Lopez Mateos, Creel's main street.

Creel has a great number of natural attractions nearby and is an eco-tourist's dream location.


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Road to Ciudad Creel
Road to Creel Road to Creel Road to Creel
Ciudad Creel
** Location of Creel **
Creel Creel Creel
Creel Creel Creel
Creel Creel Creel
Cusarare Falls (near Creel)
** Location of Cusarare Falls **
Cusarare Falls Cusarare Falls Cusarare Falls
Cusarare Falls Cusarare Falls Cusarare Falls

Copper Canyon & Batopilas Canyon

Copper CanyonThe Copper Canyon is truly one of the Western Hemisphere's great scenic and cultural journeys. The Sierra Tarahumara (Copper Canyon) belongs on the wish list of most every traveler. It is fast becoming Mexico's most popular "soft-adventure" attraction while also catering to hardcore backpackers, day hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, historians, and naturalists.

On a map the trek looks like a simple train trip between the Chihuahua, capital city of the state by the same name and the small city of Los Mochis in Sinaloa near the Sea of Cortez. In fact this journey showcases not only one of the world's great engineering feats, but also some of the world's most awesome scenery and the most primitive aboriginal culture left in North America.

Batopilas CanyonThe name, "Copper Canyon" is used as a general reference to the Canyons. A more proper name might be "Sierra Tarahumara", since the Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre in Spanish) is but one of six massive gorges in the area covering 64,000 sq. kms (25,000 sq. miles). Also of note is the fact that copper was never mined in great quantities here. The term refers to the copper/green colored lichen that clings to the canyon walls. Furthermore, a main draw to the region is the rich indigenous Tarahumara culture.

This canyon system is four times larger than the Grand Canyon in the United States. Four of its six canyons are deeper than the Grand - some by over 1,000 feet.

An incredible variety of ecosystems further distinguish the region. Highlands are home to snow-covered mountain peaks, sparkling lakes, and enormous stands of old-growth Poderosa pine and oak. The area's plunging gorges sprout wild rives, towering waterfalls and sub-tropical forests. Semi-arid coastal plains to the west support large sugar cane and rich vegetable farms, while valleys to the eastern (Chihuahua) region are home to peach and apple orchards and vast grasslands.

Complimenting the area's awesome natural attractions is the equally interested Tarahumara (Raramuri, as they called themselves) indian culture. These semi-nomadic people number around 50,000, many are predominately cliff and cave dwellers eking out a meager substance from simple farming, ranching, and handicrafts. Men are noted for their remarkable running ability, competing in grueling races that stretch non-stop for over 100 miles at times.


HINT: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

HINT: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Copper Canyon & Batopilas Canyon
( going down )

** Location of Copper Canyon **
Copper Canyon Copper Canyon Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon
Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon
Batopilas Canyon ( going up )
** Location of Batopilas Canyon **
Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon
Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon Batopilas Canyon

Ciudad Batopilas

BatopilasAlthough there were various mining centers that were formed at the bottom of some canyons, none can compare with the mineral richness of the Batopilas Canyon. The veins of La Bufa and those of the town of Batopilas itself reached renown of a world level. Its mining towns and mines characterize and identify this canyon.

In spite of the fact that the climate is extreme in the high regions of the canyon range, in the winter it is possible to admire a curious phenomenon - while the surrounding peaks are covered with snow the depths of the canyon are a subtropical or tropical climate year around. Due to this, towns like Batopilas have flora and fauna with many different characteristics than in the Sierras above. Oranges, papaya, mango, avocado are regular staples of the habitants.

A Brief Bit of History ... Batopilas is considered the "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" because of it's historic past and present beauty. Founded in 1709 as San Pedro de Batopilas when the Batopilas mines were discovered, the small pueblo slowly, but steadily flourished due to this mining activity.

The silver mines of Batopilas were some of the richest in Mexico. In the 18th and 19th century both Spaniards and Mexicans gained great wealth out of the area. American John Robinson purchased an old claim in 1861 which turned out to have a large, hidden vein. He decided to sell the claim to fellow American Alexander Shepherd for $600,000 US in 1880.

Alexander Shepherd was the last mayor of Washington, D.C. and had been ousted under unproven corruption charges. Once Shepherd moved his family to Batopilas, he filed over 350 mining claims and formed the Batopilas Mining Company. His mines became some of the wealthiest in the world at their peak.

Hacienda San MiguelNoting the difficulty and time (over eight days) of transporting the silver ore to Chihuahua, Shepherd opened his own facilities and foundry along the river at his Hacienda San Miguel (left, ruins). Over 20 million ounces of silver were extracted from the mines, and this great wealth allowed Shepherd to bring cultural events and technological advances to this once sleepy town. Batopilas was the second city in Mexico to have electricty. His hydroelectric works provide the towns power still and he also built an aqueduct which is still in use today. So famous for it's wealth were Shepherd's mines that Pancho Villa once robbed a mule shipment of $40,000 US in silver bars.

Alexander Shepherd died in 1902, leaving the mines to his sons who ceased operation in 1920, although other miners would later try unsuccessfully to restart the old mines. Today, the town of Batopilas is a community of 800 inhabitants, but in it's greatest mining period at the end of the 19th century, it had up to 7,000 inhabitants. It has preserved, to a great extent, it's architectural heritage from the richness of those times.


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Ciudad Batopilas
** Location of Ciudad Batopilas **
Batopilas Batopilas Batopilas
Batopilas Batopilas Batopilas
Batopilas Batopilas Batopilas
Batopilas Batopilas Batopilas
Batopilas Batopilas Batopilas

Ciudad Guachochi

GuachochiGuachochi is one of the largest communities of the Sierra Tarahumara, with approximately 30,000 inhabitants.

The principal attractions of this region are its natural scenary; outstanding is the opposing Sinforosa Canyon, one of the deepest at 1,830 meters (6,040 feet).




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Ciudad Guachochi
** Location of Ciudad Guachochi **
Guachochi Guachochi Guachochi

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