I recently spent two weeks in the Copper Canyon area in northern Mexico. Relatively few travellers make it up there (most stay in the south), but if you do go there you will be rewarded with charming desert towns and epic mountain landscapes.
Pacific railway through Chihuahua state
The Copper Canyon is by some measures a bigger canyon system than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. A great way to see it is to take a day-long train from Los Mochis to Chihuaua (or the other way around).
Starting in Los Mochis before sunrise the train passes through flat desert landscape, but soon this changes into dramatic mountain scenery with deep canyons and large lakes.
PRO TIP: I played the soundtrack of Red Dead Redemption (Western themed video game) for part of the journey and the effect was incredible.
The Copper Canyon
You can get off the train for a while at Divisadero station and after a brief walk get an expansive and overwhelming vista. You can also do this as a daytrip from a nearby town such as Creel. Standing on the edge of the cliffs is definitely a little nerve-wracking.
On my way back I got a little lost in the nearby woods for a while but fortunately this friendly dog showed up who in 20 minutes led me straight to where my bus to Creel departed. I rewarded him with some biscuits.
Creel and Valley of the Monks
The mountain town of Creel is a great base for trekking and mountain biking. The nearby valleys have some amazing rock formations to see. It’s totally quiet in the valleys except for the sounds of hawks and … wolves? I thought I heard a wolf anyway, though quickly dismissed it as probably being just a dog. A little later on I saw a sign that confirmed wolves do roam the area. (Holy crap, I heard a wolf…!)
I visited in autumn which meant there were some beautiful yellow trees dotted around the landscape.
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