Creel Mexico, in the state of Chihuahua, is considered one of Mexico’s gateways to the Copper Canyon. The small so-called ‘Pueblo Magico’ (the term ‘Magic Town’ refers to a group of towns across the country that have made a conscious effort to preserve their cultural identity) is perfectly located for exploring the region, and the town remains a popular tourist destination throughout the year. There are plenty of things to do in Creel in every season, meaning you won’t be stuck for activities, regardless of the weather.
Creel is one of the top places to visit in Mexico for access to canyons, in particular the series of six canyons stretching across the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains that make up Copper Canyon. It’s a hiker’s paradise and the Copper Canyon hiking trails can be accessed via a range of Copper Canyon tours on offer, all of which include specialized, local guides who guide you through changing scenery and climates. Even in the coldest weather, hiking through the bottom of the canyons should be warm; you just need to come prepared with layers for the higher elevations, as you may encounter snow.
Some of the highlights not to miss in the area include the El Chepe train – which is best enjoyed in the fall, when the crowds are low but temperatures warm – and the old mining village Batopilas. Take a Batopilas tour to discover Lake Arareko, San Ignacio Mission and the unique rock formations in the Valley of Mushrooms, Frogs and Monks.
To experience Copper Canyon at its best, pay attention to the trends in the weather before booking. Each season provides a different experience: springtime is mild in temperature, but the landscape may be brown due to the dry season. Summertime brings warm weather but also the highest crowds of the year.
Fall is the ideal season for hiking if you aren’t accustomed to colder snaps, plus visiting after the rainy season is your greatest chance of viewing waterfalls and lush greenery. Wintertime is perfect for anybody happy to explore the upper elevations in colder weather, as you will have far less tourists to compete with. It will, of course, still be warm in the lower canyons such as Urique and Batopilas.
Basaseachi National Park is home to one of the highest waterfalls in the country, and thanks to the various trails and picturesque views, it’s one of Mexico’s greatest natural wonders. You can take a guided hiking, climbing or biking tour through the Candameña Canyon system to access the waterfall. Basaseachi is also an ideal place for wildlife spotting, as lynx, jaguars, pumas and other animals live within the depths of the forest. This activity is suited to the rainy season, when you are most likely to see the waterfall actually flowing.
Recohuata Hot Springs
Warm yourself up in the colder months with an hour-long hike down to these hot springs, set within the Tararecua Canyon. You can also hire a guide to drive you to the springs if you want to avoid the hike. Enjoy a soak whilst you take in the stunning natural surroundings, but be sure to avoid visiting on a rainy day, as parts of the canyon can flood.