VENTURING THROUGH MEXICO’S COPPER CANYONS
When it comes to spectacular canyons, we mostly think of the Grand Canyon which spans 277 miles (446 kilometers) long, 18 miles (29 kilometers) wide, and up to 6,093 feet (1,857 meters) deep – the worlds largest canyon. However, not many know of Mexico’s Copper Canyons, a system of six canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara spanning 25,000 square miles (64,750 square kilometers).
The depth of this canyon system is comparable to that of Grand Canyon with the difference that these canyons are substantially above the sea level, its highest point being 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above the sea level. Today venturing across the Copper Canyons is done in style and luxury with the Chepe train. The journey can start or conclude in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, or Chihuahua City, Chihuahua with over 400 miles (650 kilometers) of train tracks, crossing 37 bridges, and 86 tunnels, and stops at some of the most charming rustics inns.
Crossing the Copper Canyons has been one of the trips I had wanted to do for years but had never gotten around to it – this was finally the year. We started our holiday at El Fuerte and concluded it in the city of Chihuahua spanning over five days – it has been one of the most breathtaking journeys I have ever done. Boarding the train at sea level and slowly making the climb along the cliffsides up the mountain range, there are so many hidden treasures along the way.
From artisanal vineyards in the village of Cerocahui founded by Jesuits in 1694, nestled in the Urique canyon; the mission has been converted into a charming hotel with beautiful gardens – Hotel Mision Cerocahui. And do not get me started on their wine and food, its deliciousness is comparable to any wine district in Mexico. Along the way is Parque de Aventuras de Barrancas del Cobre which is home to the longest zipline in the world, the zip-rider 8,300 feet (2,530 meters) long soaring at approximately 1,148 feet (350 meters) in the air at up to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) – it is riveting.
Being the adrenaline seeker that I am, I made the circuit with seven zip-lines and two cross canyon, hanging bridges – the views of the canyon system were unparalleled. Overlooking this part of the Copper Canyons perched on the cliff-side is Posada Barrancas de Cobre with sweeping panoramic views. There is something surreal about waking up to expansive views of the canyons with the clouds hanging below covering the valleys; this was one of my favorite sight of the journey. From here we started making our way to Creel a Tarahumara town surrounded by pristine forests, lakes, waterfalls, and the Valley of the Monks. The stone pinnacles of the valley stand somber and out of this world, a landmark is known very little by those foreign to the region.
For anyone curious to explore the lesser know regions of Mexico, this route is well worth the while. Travel logistics are simple through travel agencies. I made all the arrangements through Viajar LH who made traveling easy, carefree, and offered the most knowledgeable guides. So embrace your intrepid explorer and soar over the Copper Canyon on one of the world’s longest ziplines.
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