Creel has a whopping population of 5,000, and happens to be the big tourism hub of the Copper Canyon’s main tourist region. It also marks the highest point of the El Chepe train journey at just under 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).
Beginning its life as a logging town, these days Creel is full of colorful Mexican culture, loads of craft shops, small family-owned restaurants, local cowboys, and Tarahumara Indians earning their living.
In actuality, Creel is no more than a low-key highland town strung out along the railway line. It’s a very likable place, surrounded by interesting rock formations and it boasts several good hotels and restaurants. Local people, usually donned in multi-hued dress, are commonly seen about town, and there’s a consistent tourist presence here, mainly in the form of tour groups.
The area around Creel is also rich in natural wonders. Contemporary Creel tours often showcase some of the finest waterfalls in Mexico, exquisite hot springs, the surreal rock formations, and expansive parklands, all perfect for a day’s hike – essentially serving as your introduction to some of the best hikes in Mexico.
Copper Canyon’s deep ravine was cut out of the mountainous region over the course of millions of years by the force of rushing water from six separate rivers. The rivers converge to form the larger Rio Fuerte River before eventually ending in the Sea of Cortez.
As a naturally protected area, the Copper Canyon is host to a diverse variety of trees. There are nearly two dozen species of pine trees and more than 200 varieties of oak trees lining the canyon’s peaks. Near the bottom of the canyon, fig and palm trees thrive, as rain runoff provides the water necessary to sustain these tropical plants.