Copper Canyon

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Photo by Dana Johnson www.openleafexcursions.com

In The Heart Of Copper Canyon

Photo by Renee Thompson.

The Copper Canyon is actually seven major interlocking canyons, each one deeper than the Grand Canyon, with cool pine-forested highlands in between. The Copper Canyon is a giant caldera, a massive volcanized area 80 miles in diameter that collapsed into itself during an ancient eruption. The remnant is a jumbled mass of canyons and rivers with countless hot springs to remind us of its volcanic origin.

Until recently, this roadless, unexplored wilderness was known only to the reclusive Tarahumara Indians, missionaries and footsore miners. Pancho Villa retreated to the canyon labrynths when he needed a respite from the revolution. His encounters with the miners in Batopilas are the stuff of legend. It is said that Mexico’s great revolution of the last century was born in these wild hills.

Today, the still largely unexplored Copper Canyon area thrives on primitive lumbering and small mining operations, and due to its fortunate location far from urban crime centers, a bustling tourist trade.

Photo by Ted McGrath.
Batopilas…
The Town That Time Forgot

Photo by Amigo Trails.

And hidden on the canyon floor… a subtropical gem… the town of Batopilas.

6000 feet below the rim on a steep, narrow switchback road. Here along the river in the Copper Canyon depths is antique Batopilas, the 1880’s site of the worlds richest silver mine. Says the National Geographic, “Imagine Tahiti, Treasure Island hidden away in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”

You will be noticed in Batopilas. Catalina, Maria Lourdes, Ofelia and Te-te.

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Tourist or Traveler?

Copper canyon something for everyone.

The Copper canyon has two distinct areas. The busy North Creel/Divisadero tourist area and the quiet south side Batopilas area favored by more experienced travelers.

For those who enjoy zip lines, cable cars, wonderful colored light shows on the cliff faces, the Creel/Divisadero area along the railway line is for you. Highly recommended is the MANSION TARAHUMARA HOTEL right on the edge of the canyon.

If you are looking for peace and tranquility, a chance to explore, immerse yourself in the world’s most soul-stirring scenery, the Batopilas area, by the river in the lush canyon itself, is for you. Here, the two Copper Canyon hacienda lodges offer genuine small town hospitality. Explore the trails and canyons by day. Arrive weary and footsore to enjoy the luxury of a cool drink, long bath and luxury bed.

 
 

Getting There

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On the Soaring Eagle Highway, Copper Canyon

The Copper Canyon Soaring Eagle Highway

“In the top 10 world’s most spectacular highways.”

Descend the Canyon cliff face on the Path of the Eagle Highway. The 40 mile engineering and scenic marvel crosses piney highlands, pauses at the rim of the canyon, then drops over the edge like a stone. It descends the 5236 feet in 243 switchbacks and curves, to the river in the subtropical canyon depths. And like the eagle it takes its inspiration from, glides downriver 5 miles to the terminus in Batopilas. Because of the remote location of Batopilas, a minimum of two nights are highly recommended.

“The drive alone was worth the trip.”

 

 

 

 

A small segment of the road to Batopilas.
Small segment of the Soaring Eagle Highway.
 
 
Descending the Eagle's Path Highway. Ivan Fernandez Photos
Descending the Soaring Eagle Highway. Ivan Fernandez photo.

It is said that a certain Cusaka (eagle) was to be seen each morning soaring over the pines toward the big canyon. Once passing the rim, it would fold its wings close to its body and drop at marvelous speed. Nearing the river below, it would unfurl its wings and lean back, holding air just above the rocks. Then it would proceed lazily hovering downriver until it was seen each day above Batopilas. No one knew why the eagle made this trip each day. He was never seen fishing or hunting on its daily circuit. People say he just did it because he enjoyed it. The route has always been known as the Eagle’s Path.

Flights

There are flights to Chihuahua City from Dallas, Denver, and Houston.

From Chihuahua Airport

You can drive your car or rent a car at the airport for the seven hour drive that takes you from desert to pine forests, cactus forests to the verdant canyon floor… seven eco-zones in seven hours! The road is entirely paved except for the detours for landslides.

From the Creel Train Station

We can arrange a car for you from Creel to Batopilas. $390 per room, round trip.

Seasons and Weather

Fall- October through December

Cool in the highlands, wonderful sun filled days in the 70’s and 80’s in Batopilas. This is post rainy season so the plant life thrives as do the birds.

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Tabachin blooms along the trails.”

Winter- January through February

The Copper Canyon around Batopilas BLOOMS! The torote trees’ red pipe blossoms attract swarms of hummingbirds, the acacia blooms on the hillsides, the irresistible smell of the vainoro prieto fills the air, the orange and yellow tabachin bushes surprise us along the trails, and the big floppy white flowers of the palo blanco are everywhere on the hillsides. Snow in the highlands. Batopilas is warm with cool nights. Best birding season is February.

Spring- March through April

Melting snow in the highlands, lovely in Batopilas.

Early Summer- May and June

This is the hot season in Batopilas, often way over a hundred degrees.

Late Summer- July and August

The summer rains cool down temperature to the 90’s. It rains most afternoons and the hills come alive with subtropical blooms.

End of Summer- September

The end of the rains and the heat… the greening is complete and magnificent!