Mexico’s Copper Canyon National Park (Parque Nacional Barranca del Cobre) is one the true unspoiled wilderness areas of our world which provides the seasoned hiker with an experience of a lifetime. In particular, a system of six magnificent canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara region of the State of Chihuahua provides some of the most awe-inspiring views in the world, none more so than those witnessed from the town of Divisadero which is perched high up on the rim of Urique Canyon.
The Copper Canyon National Park covers an enormous area with five of the inter-connected canyons and gorges being deeper than Arizona’s world-famous Grand Canyon. The landscape of this area is also truly breathtaking, which makes it a very attractive destination for the hiker. There are however very few established trails in the area and the extremely steep and rugged nature of the terrain means that the area is only suitable for the novice hiker if when traveling with an experienced guide.
Thousands of travelers visit the region every year and most will see the countryside from the famed Chihuahua-Pacífico Railway, referred to locally as ‘El Chepe’. Starting at Ojinaga, where the Rio Conchos meets the Rio Bravo del Norte, the rail line runs for nearly 600 miles and ends in the west coast port town of Topolobampa.
The journey along El Chepe is often described by travelers as the best train journey in the world, taking you from transitional tropical forest and climbing 8,000 feet up into the Sierra Madre where you skirt the Copper Canyon before descending in a series of knuckle gripping switchbacks to the coastal plains.
But it is the stop at Divisadero which travelers remember most vividly with views out across the Urique, Copper and Tararecua Canyons which are simply stunning.
One of perhaps the world’s finest hikes starts some 17 miles from Divisadero in the town of Cusárare. From here you climb and descend, sometimes as much as 4,000 feet in a single day, through some spectacular countryside on a six day hike which will eventually take you to the floor of the Urique Canyon. Then it is a final climb of some 6,000 feet up to the town of Divisadero which will be reward you with a view back along your route which is simply unforgettable.
If you have not visited this part of the world before then you simply have to add it to your list of ‘must do’ hikes and experience the magnificence of this part of the world with its unforgettable scenery. Oh, and do not forget to take your binoculars with you as this area also provides some of the finest bird watching anywhere in the world.