Barrancas del Cobre

Useful Information

Location: Chihuahua.
(27.528056, -107.756111)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1961 Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico or ChePe railroad completed.


The Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon) is a canyon system larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Actually it is a group of six distinct canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental in the southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua in northwestern Mexico. All six rivers merge into the Rio Fuerte and empty into the Gulf of California. The canyon was named because its walls have a copper-green color. This is the vegetation at the slopes, not copper, the canyon has different climate zones at different heights, an effect which was first discovered and described by Alexander von Humbold on the equatorial volcanoes Chimborazo (6,263 m) and Cotopaxi (5,897 m).

There are numerous ways to travel the canyon, but the best is obviously with the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico or ChePe. This train runs along the main canyon called Canyon Urique, between Chihuahua and Los Mochis, on the Gulf of California. The construction of this railroad was started in the late 19th century, but it was finally completed in 1961. The rugged terrain, lack of funding, but also a revolution are obvious reasons for the delay. The result are 652 km of rails with 39 bridges and 86 tunnels.

There are several outlooks and even a cable car, via ferratas and rope gardens. But most of the area is completely undeveloped and inaccessible. The easiest way to see the canyon is an organized day trip with a tour operator.