Journey Through Copper Canyon

  • 1 Week
  • October 26-November 4, 2012

  • Unlike what its name implies, Copper Canyon is not just one canyon. It’s actually six wholly distinct and separate canyons.

Remarkably few travelers know about Copper Canyon, one of the most unique and dramatic natural formations on Earth. Found in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, Copper Canyon, unlike what its name implies, is not just one canyon but six, with portions deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This impossibly rugged region, revealing unparalleled natural beauty, feels caught decades ago in time.

  • Take a dramatic, first-class train ride on the Chihuahua-Pacifico Railroad.

  • Explore desert ecosystems that WWF considers a priority place for protection.
  • Meet Tarahumara Indians who live in caves below the canyon rim and have retained many of their culture’s traditions for centuries.
  • Spent two nights at a posada where guest rooms have private balconies overlooking the canyon.


Please note that the dates below do not include travel time to and from the destination. We suggest consulting our tour operator, Natural Habitat Adventures, to discuss the best flight options for your travels.

Saturday, October 27: Los Mochis, Mexico
Arrive in Los Mochis in the heart of the Sinaloa Valley, one of Mexico’s richest agricultural areas. Transfer to your hotel and gather this evening for a welcome dinner. Hotel Santa Anita (D)

Sunday, October 28: Topolobampo / El Fuerte
At Topolobampo on the Sea of Cortez, take a boat ride to Isla de los Pajaros, cruising close to dolphins in the bay. After lunch at the famous El Farallon seafood restaurant, continue to El Fuerte, a 16th-century colonial town with cobbled streets. Spend the night at a Spanish colonial mansion set among lush gardens. Hotel Posada del Hidalgo (B,L,D)

Monday, October 29: Copper Canyon by Train
Superlatives simply fail to capture the scenic drama of today’s journey. Board the Chihuahua-Pacifico Railroad, inaugurated in 1961 after decades of construction and heralded as one of the world’s most extraordinary engineering wonders. Winding from sea level to nearly 8,000 feet through the Sierra Madre Mountains, the railway traverses 37 bridges and 86 tunnels in its journey over the Continental Divide. The route penetrates 25,000 square miles of canyons, the eight largest of which are known collectively as Copper Canyon – more than four times the size of the Grand Canyon. 

At the highest point on the rim, disembark to check in at the hotel, perched like an eagle’s nest on the edge of the chasm. Visit the nearby dwellings of the local Raramuri people, known commonly as the Tarahumara, who have made their unlikely homes along a ledge of the canyon walls. After a sunset dinner, retire to your guest room, which offers a stupendous view over the abyss. Hotel Posada Mirador (B,L,D)

Tuesday, November 30: Copper Canyon / Divisadero
Hike through pine and oak forests this morning to the most spectacular overlook into three different branches of the Copper Canyon. The deepest canyon, carved by the upper reaches of the Urique River, is more than 6,100 feet below, and you feel very small as you gaze into its shadowy depths. Hotel Posada Mirador (B,L,D)

Wednesday, November 1: Creel / Cusarare
Drive to Creel, eastern gateway to the Copper Canyon. En route, stop at the 18th-century San Ignacio Mission and Arareko Lake, ringed by granite boulders and pine-studded outcroppings. Rustic Creel feels like a 19th-century logging town. After lunch in town, continue to a haven of simplicity and beauty. While your lodge has no electricity, kerosene lamps lend an atmospheric glow, and wood stoves take the chill off cool mountain evenings. From here, hike to Cusarare Falls, a 100-foot cascade that plummets over a rock ledge into a series of pools. Sierra Lodge (B,L,D)

Thursday, November 2: Cusarare / Cerocahui
After a tranquil morning of birding and hiking, we return to Creel to board the train for Bahuichivo. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. This small village sits in a valley of apple orchards on the edge of Urique Canyon, the deepest in the system. Its 900 residents are part of an ejido, a government-established community cooperative dedicated to forestry. Visit a Tarahumara girls’ boarding school, followed by a tour of the hotel’s own vineyard and wine-tasting. Mision Hotel (B,L,D)

Friday, November 3: Cerocahui / Los Mochis
A gentle, scenic horseback ride in the valley surrounding Cerocahui takes you through a forest and alongside a river, highlighting the beauty of the landscape around us. After lunch, head once more to the train station for a final trip aboard “El Chepe,” back down the spectacular line to El Fuerte. Enjoy a farewell dinner here before transferring to Los Mochis for a late-evening arrival at the hotel. Hotel Santa Anita (B,L,D)

Saturday, November 4: Los Mochis / Home
Transfer to the airport this morning for flights home.

Call (888) 993 – 8687 to book your spot on this tour. Questions? Email us at [email protected].

More Upcoming Tours