Copper Canyon is Mexico’s answer to the Grand Canyon, and in some ways rivals its more famous American cousin. Carved out by six rivers, it is actually longer and in some places deeper. The canyon gets its name from the coppery hue of its walls. The Copper Canyon is famous for its ecosystem, which ranges from temperate cold to subtropical areas, and which boasts a dizzying array of wildlife.
Tarahumara tribes inhabited the area of the Copper Canyon before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. The town of Batopilas was established in 1632 at the bottom of the canyon to take advantage of the silver deposits there. The Chihuahua al Pacific Railroad, constructed in stages over decades, brought many tourists to the canyon (allowing a long stop for passengers to get out and enjoy the view). Copper Canyon is now the target of concerted efforts to preserve the local culture, ecosystem and tourism.
Copper Canyon is both a geological and ecological marvel. Carved over millions of years, it spraws over a huge area. The higher elevation areas are home to pines and hardwoods, while palm trees can be found in the lower, wetter areas. A large number of indigenous people still live in the area. Unfortunately, developed towns, mining and foresting in and around Copper Canyon have left it ecologically vulnerable.
Copper Canyon, while located in a fairly remote corner of the Mexican wilderness, is a very popular tourist destination thanks to the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad. The railroad not only brings visitors to and from the canyon, but it travels along the rim and cliffs, offering spectacular views. Other popular ways to take in the canyon are on foot or by horseback. Web: www.visitmexico.com/en/copper-canyon (official website).