Figuring out how to get to Copper Canyon, Mexico, can be a hassle. Many prefer to take an official tour through an agent or tour company. And getting around takes a lot of coordination and various modes of transportation.
Thus, this post will help you figure out how to get to Copper Canyon, Mexico, including everything you need to consider when planning your trip. I rode the El Chepe Express here and planned my entire trip as a solo traveler. But these tips can help you decide if you want to make this a solo or group trip!
Where is Copper Canyon?
Copper Canyon, also known as Barrancas del Cobre in Spanish, is located in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. There are six canyons, and the Tarahumara people inhabit the land. Copper Canyon is four times the size of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA and spans 25,000 square miles.
Where do you fly into Copper Canyon?
Chihuahua City is the largest airport in the region if you want to take the train from Creel. Yet, you can also fly into Los Mochis and take the El Chepe Express to Copper Canyon the opposite direction. Some tours start and end in either city or in El Fuerte. Another alternative is to fly into Mexico City, explore there for a few days, then fly to Los Mochis.
Is it safe to visit Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico?
Safety is always a big concern when tourists think about visiting Mexico. However, Copper Canyon is a safe place to stay. I did my trip solo and had a safe and relaxing time in the area. The guides and hotel staff are friendly, helpful, and accommodating. And before you think it, no, I did not interact with or see any cartels.
When is the best time to visit Copper Canyon?
The best time to visit Copper Canyon depends on what experience you want to have here. If you are a traveler who loves to see snow-capped mountains, January and February are ideal times to visit. However, for travelers who want a milder experience with minimal rain, March to April is the time for you.
However, September and October are hailed as the best time to visit Copper Canyon as that is the end of the rainy season. May to August can be hot and rainy, but ideal for travelers who want to experience the heat of the canyon. If you do choose the summer, pack bug spray and shorts!
Copper Canyon facts
Visiting Copper Canyon isn’t a place many tourists outside the U.S. know about. But it’s gorgeous and full of rich history, adventure, and culture. So now that you know how to get to Copper Canyon, Mexico, here are some fun facts about Copper Canyon.
- Copper Canyon is 4x the size of the Grand Canyon
- Though it does have an adventure park, Copper Canyon is not a national park
- Copper Canyon is home to the Tarahumara (or Raramuri) people, who are the fastest long-distance runners in the world
- The El Chepe Express for tourists that runs through Copper Canyon was created in 2018
- The zip rider in the Copper Canyon Adventure Park is the longest in Mexico and one of the longest in the world
How to visit Copper Canyon by train
The most popular way to visit Copper Canyon is by taking the El Chepe Express. You can take three different train classes from Los Mochis to Creel or Creel to Los Mochis. After that, you would need to stop in Divisadero to visit the adventure park. However, if you book a full Copper Canyon tour, you may stop in Bahuichivo first and then take a tour bus or shuttle to stay in Divisadero. For more on the El Chepe Express experience, read this post next.
Things to do in Copper Canyon
Get an adrenaline rush on the zip rider
Most of the activities you physically do are at the Copper Canyon Adventure Park. The zipline is the most famous and popular thing to do in Copper Canyon. It is the longest zip line in Mexico and only takes three minutes to go from the beginning to the end.
At the Copper Canyon Adventure Park, you ride the longest zip line (over 8,300 ft) and take the cable car back for $1000 MXN, roughly $54 USD for one hour. You can also do all seven ziplines, the suspension bridges, and the cable car for the same price for two and a half hours.
Test your limits on the via ferrata
The most extreme adventure at Copper Canyon Adventure Park is the Via Ferrata. The activity includes a “Tarzan Jump,” crossing five suspension bridges, and entering caves. The entire experience is two hours minimum. It costs $600 MXN, which is roughly $33 USD.
Take in the views
Copper Canyon has some of the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets I’ve ever seen. The canyon goes on and on for miles. If you travel after the rainy season, it will be lush and green, which goes perfectly with the pink and orange skies.
You can also enjoy the views from a few hotels in the area. As part of the Hotel Balderamma Collection, Hotel El Mirador is where you get one of the most stunning views of Copper Canyon. However, book Hotel Divisadero for a slightly cheaper stay with similarly breathtaking views. An entire hotel breakdown is below.
Ride the cable car
If hopping on the Ziprider is not for you, take the Cable Car (the Teleférico). You get the same views without the life-threatening adventure. The ride is smooth and takes under 20 minutes roundtrip. There are panoramic windows, and as you go up and down. You can also see (and hear) the zip riders as they fly by! This is an excellent alternative for those not feeling the danger and adrenaline of ziplining.
Hike various trails
After figuring out how to get to Copper Canyon, Mexico, and riding the zip rider, you should take a hike. Many hotels offer hikes with local guides, including the Raramuri people. Therefore, some are more difficult than others, and remember that there are lots of loose rocks, so be careful. Wearing sturdy shoes is necessary.
Make your way through the aerial forest
Another activity in the Copper Canyon Adventure Park is the aerial forest. It includes ten suspension bridges through the woods and trees and small-scale ziplining and canopy activities. To get through the entire activity takes just under two hours and costs $300 MXN, which is $17 USD.
Do wine tastings at the Balderramma Hotels
The Balderramma Hotels is a collection of luxury hotels in and around Copper Canyon. Their hotel with the vineyard is located in a neighboring town near Bahuichivo called Cerocahui at their Hotel Misión. However, they offer wine tastings at their Hotel El Mirador in Divisadero if you don’t want to travel to Bahuichivo.
Hotel recommendations for Copper Canyon in Divisadero
There are multiple options to choose from for your hotels in Copper Canyon. The three outlined below are more of fancier and more comfortable experiences. Of the three outlined below, Hotel Divisadero Barrancas is the cheapest, and Hotel El Mirador is the most expensive. Regardless, they are all viable options for your Copper Canyon/El Chepe Express experience.
Hotel Divisadero Barrancas for easy access
Hotel Divisadero Barrancas is a perfect choice for your stay in Copper Canyon after taking the El Chepe Express. It is located across the street from the El Chepe Divisadero train stop and the Copper Canyon Adventure Park entrance. They offer guides to take you over and hiking opportunities around the hotel. Travelers can also add meals to their stays for $350 MXN per person, roughly $20 USD per meal (drinks not included).
I spent my first and last nights in Divisadero here to take the train. You can also buy handmade goods outside the hotel from the Raramuri people selling their crafts. Although, when you exit the train, there is a little store to buy snacks, and locals sell street food cheaper than hotel food. Depending on the room, they range from $150-$180+ USD per night with breakfast included.
Hotel El Mirador for a luxury experience
As mentioned above, Hotel El Mirador has the best canyon view. It is a salmon-pink luxury hotel with rooms that include a balcony to sit, relax, and enjoy the fresh air and views of the canyon. They also offer activities such as horseback riding, wine tasting, hiking, visiting the adventure park, and more.
You need at least three people for some of the activities, so it may be difficult for solo travelers to do everything. Meals are $495 MXN per person, which is $27 USD. Breakfast is a buffet, and lunch and dinner are three-course meals. Drinks are not included in the price, and a double room with a balcony is $243 USD per night with breakfast included.
Hotel Barrancas del Cobre for a cozy stay
If you want the views of Hotel El Mirador but need help affording it – Hotel Barrancas del Cobre is for you. Just up the street from El Mirador, Hotel Barrancas is the sister hotel in the Hotel Balderamma Collection. When you book this hotel, the rooms are similar to El Mirador, without the view. You also take the shuttle to El Mirador for all your meals if you purchase them during your stay. Hotel Barrancas del Cobre is $163 USD per night, including breakfast.
Transportation around Copper Canyon/Divisadero
Coordinating transportation is necessary when figuring out how to get to Copper Canyon, Mexico. Though I will note that I did not drive at all. Unless you are comfortable driving in other countries, I suggest you not go on a tour to hop around or arrange other transportation. You are still in a canyon, and the roads can get narrow and curvy. Additionally, traveling to and from different hotels will cost between $5-$8 USD since there aren’t any daily buses.
What to pack for your Copper Canyon itinerary
Packing for a few days to a week in northern Mexico means you probably won’t be wearing flip-flops and shorts by a beach. Instead, it is a place where layering is key as the mornings are cold, midday warms up, and it goes back to the cold later in the day. Though in the summer, with the open air and sun, it can get hot. However, whether cold or hot, rain or shine, here are the ten essential things you must pack for your trip to Copper Canyon.
- Light rain jacket
- Sweater or fleece
- Hiking shoes or tennis shoes
- Bug spray
- Book (just in case you get rained out)
- Long sleeve shirts (layering is vital)
Copper Canyon travel guide: final tips
Visiting Copper Canyon is an excellent addition to your Mexico bucket list. The train, adventure park, and many towns you can stay in between make it an extraordinary adventure. Plus, Chihuahua is an area visited by few tourists, making it a unique place to stay in Mexico. So, if you have been contemplating whether or not to make it work, this is your sign to plan it yourself or book a Copper Canyon Tour today!
Are you still deciding whether to add a trip to Mexico City to your itinerary? Read this post for inspiration.