The Copper Canyon region is the most spectacular in September when the vegetation including the wildflowers come to life, the streams and waterfalls begin to flow after the summer rains, and the termperatures are more moderate at the rim as well as in the canyons.

Getting off the train at Bauhuichivo station and staying outside the village of Cerocahui at Paraiso del Oso gives you access to Cerro Gallegos (the view at the rim of the Urique Canyon), the opportunity to travel down into the Urique Canyon, and a chance to take a 5 mile hike to the Cascada Huicochi to view many beautiful wildflowers as well as other scenic hikes. 

Urique Canyon is where the Ultramarathons take place organized by Caballo Blanco (who unfortunately passed away recently).  Tarahumara runners compete with world reknown runners running up and down the canyons.  To learn more, read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. 

When exploring Cerocahui, there is an old church built in 1741 and dedicated to San Francisco Javier as a Jesuit mission.  And a short distance from the church is a Tarahumara Indian girls boarding school run by the Catholic order, Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ of the Poor.   For the young girls who live there, this is their only opportunity to obtain an education since their families live in such remote regions that it is not possible for them to attend school from their homes.

Traveling northeast you arrive at Divisadero where there now is the opportunity to take a thrilling zip line (actually 7 zip lines as well as walking across two suspension bridges and along two rocky trails) down into the canyon for 600 pesos (about $46 U.S.) or for those looking for some great views but not quite so adventuresome, there is also a tramway for 250  pesos  (about $19). 

South of Creel is another chance for a scenic 4 mile nature hike to the Cusárare waterfall and an optional hike to the bottom of the waterfall.  Depending on the amount of rain during the summer months, these falls can be dramatic with a wide curtain of water.  Stop in the village of Cusárare to visit the 18th century church.  Inside of the church is decorated with dramatic geometric Tarahumara paintings.   

If you choose to travel independently, you have the flexibility of riding the train to the stop of your choosing, staying for a few days in one area which gives you time to explore, and then catching the next train when you are ready to continue.  The four major train stops giving the best access to the canyons are Bahuichivo, Posada Barrancas, Divisadero, and Creel.  Each of these places provide suitable accommodations and offer tours to explore the region.  If you prefer to travel with a tour group, one possible reputable tour company is Copper Canyon Wildflower Tours. 

Your trip to the Copper Canyon region will be filled with spectacular scenery, comfortable accommodations, restaurants with safe food and drinking water, knowledgeable guides, beautiful wildflowers in the fall, cultural and historical sights, and opportunities to interact with the Tarahumara Indian children.

-Linda Ford

http://www.coppercanyonwildflowers.com/