Hiking Mexico's Copper Canyon

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 4-10, 1996
Leavenworth: Washington's backyard Bavaria
The Midwest's best paddling trips
Hiking Mexico's Copper Canyon
Outdoor travel in Greece
North Carolina's Nantahala Outdoor Center
Utah's San Juan River

Hiking Mexico's Copper Canyon
Question: On March 15, 1997, I want to do a multiday hike to Mexico's Copper Canyon (Tarahumara land). Does you have, or know of, a good self-planning guide for a trip to that area? I've gotten most books and Internet information available. I was looking for more "personal hints" on where to go and stay and what to do. Any information--especially based on personal experience--would be appreciated.

Ray Osuna
Glendale, AZ
[email protected]

Luxe in the land of the Tarahumara: Copper Canyon Riverside Lodge
Adventure Adviser: I wish I could say I've been to Copper Canyon but, sadly, I haven't. Yet. That doesn't mean, though, that I don't have a few suggestions that might be of some help in planning your trip.

For starters, if you can tear yourself away from the backcountry, consider spending a night or two at the Riverside Lodge on the canyon floor. Surrounded by cliffs, mesas, and cactus-studded hillsides, this whitewashed hacienda is the centerpiece of the old silver-mining village of Batopilas. Everything about the place--from its heavy wooden doors, Moorish arches, and slew of interior patios--reeks of colonial Mexico.

Plush velvet couches and antique brass beds aside, there is some stellar hiking to be had right out the front door. An easy half-mile north across the Rio Batopilas are the bougainvillea-covered ruins of Hacienda San Miguel, an abandoned mining headquarters, and another 40 minutes upstream is a small dam and some of the river's best swimming holes. Downstream, a four-mile trail from the lodge leads to the 350-year-old triple-domed mission church of Satevo.

For a more personalized experience, ask at the lodge's front desk for local legend and guide Juan Cruz, who'll lead you on a rugged trek to the working 300-year-old Camuchin Mine. After a four-course dinner in the open-air dining room, cut the rug to the local sheriff's band in the salon or hang out on the town plaza, where miners still trade nuggets of silver for groceries and supplies.

The lodge's nightly rate of $125 per person includes all meals and guided hikes. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Chihuahua, where you can either rent a car or arrange for the lodge's van to pick you up for the ten-hour drive into the canyon. For reservations, call 800-776-3942. And be sure to check out "Copper Canyon Riverside Lodge" in the Destinations section of our January 1996 issue.

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