Copper Canyon, Chihuahua


Nov 16, 2010
Outside Magazine
Copper Canyon vista

Copper Canyon vista    Photo: Ethan Welty/Aurora

The Copper Canyon Railway

The Copper Canyon Railway

When exploring land as rugged, remote, and, yes, lawless as Copper Canyon, which is deeper and about seven times larger than the Grand Canyon, you need a good guide. That's where Santiago Barnaby comes in. The Bozeman, Montana–based adventurer has been navigating the canyon and befriending its inhabitants, the Tarahumara, for more than 30 years. He knows which areas to avoid—such as Batopilas, often occupied by narcotraffickers—and offers one of the best trekking trips in Mexico, a 10-to-14 day, burro-assisted hike to Nararachi, a remote Tarahumara village. The journey starts with a train ride on the famous Copper Canyon Express to the town of Creel, where guests begin their trek, winding down through psychedelic, volcanic-ash-formed columns to the banks of the Rio Conchos. From there, the route follows the shoreline to Nararachi, a one-church outpost dating back to the 19th-century days of Apache-Tarahumara feuding. The trip covers six to eight miles per day, but guests still gorge on fresh huevos for breakfast, thanks to three porters. $2,200;

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