Explore the Copper Canyon of Mexico

The Copper Canyon (Sierra Tarahumara) provides one of the Western Hemisphere’s great scenic and cultural journeys. Fast becoming Mexico’s most popular soft-adventure attraction, it appeals to bird-watchers, historians and naturalists. The journey through the Copper Canyon showcases not only one of the world’s great railroad engineering feats, but also some of the world’s most awesome scenery, and the most primitive aboriginal culture left in North America.

Along the way, you’ll marvel as you traverse the many bridges-. The region’s geological splendor is equally remarkable. The Sierra Tarahumara is in fact a maze of 200 gorges, which combine to form a series of six massive, interconnected canyons. This canyon system is four times larger than the Grand Canyon in the United States. Four of its six canyons are deeper than the Grand Canyon, some by more than 1,000 feet. 

An incredible variety of ecosystems further distinguish the region. Highlands are home to snow-covered mountain peaks, sparkling lakes, and enormous stands of old-growth Ponderosa pine and oak. The area’s plunging gorges sprout wild rivers, towering waterfalls, and sub-tropical forests. Semi-arid coastal plains to the west support large sugar cane and rich vegetable farms, while valleys to the eastern (Chihuahua) region are home to peach and apple orchards and vast grasslands. 

Wildlife is equally varied. Many species of migratory and indigenous birds, several large mammal species (bear, deer, large cats) and numerous reptiles inhabit the area.  Complementing the area’s awesome natural attractions is the equally interesting Tarahumara (Raramuri, as they called themselves) Indian culture. These semi-nomadic people are predominately cliff and cave dwellers eking out a meager substance from simple farming, ranching, and selling their handicrafts.

At the highest point of the canyon sits the La Posada Barrancas Mirador Hotel. Enjoy amazing views of the canyon below from a private terrace.  

This tour begins and ends in Tucson, Ariz. Pass through the mining town of Bisbee, before crossing the border at Douglas/Aqua Prieta, visiting the ancient ruins at Paquime in Casa Grandes. This area is considered the most important archeological zone in northern Mexico. Along the way, travelers may visit a local pottery studio, cross the Chihuahuan Desert and view the historical sights of Chihuahua.

Returning to Tucson from Mexico’s Copper Canyon, stop in the colonial town of El Fuerte and the vast agricultural area of the region at Sinaloa and Sonora and then travel to the resort of San Carlos, located on the Sea of Cortes.

A trip through Mexico’s Copper Canyon will showcase outstanding natural beauty and interesting cultures.

Before You Go

Stop by your nearest AAA service office for maps, reservations, TripTiks and TourBook guides. View a list of offices.

Order free information through the Reader Service Card online. Click on Reader Resources.

Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part unless expressly authorized in writing by AAA Traveler Magazines.