Take the Chepe train route and visit incredible places in the states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua
It is one of the most beautiful rail routes in the world, as well as the only one really worth it in the country. The service on board is impeccable and each of the five destinations in which it stops offers a great variety of landscapes and activities.
If one of your purposes in 2022 is to travel aboard the Chepe Express train, we tell you what are some of the places you can visit on this journey that goes from Sinaloa to Chihuahua. Among them, we find Pueblos Mágicos, viewpoints at more than 2,000 meters high, cobbled valleys, extreme routes in Barrancas del Cobre, and more activities.
The journey aboard the Chepe Express is unlike any other. The means of transport makes it unique, in Mexico, there is no other passenger train that offers such a long journey —350 kilometers — and from which you can get on and off so that the itinerary is to your liking. The landscapes also make it special as they go from the dense pine forests in Creel, Chihuahua, to the Sinaloan port of Los Mochis, on the Sea of Cortez.
El Chepe is extraordinary not only for its service, but also for having three comfortable categories, so that you can travel as a backpacker or let yourself be pampered, either in the restaurant car or in the bar, located in a wagon with an observation terrace.
This passenger train passes through 5 stations, in a route that lasts for almost 10 hours:
Los Mochis, Sinaloa.
El Fuerte, Sinaloa (2 hours drive from Los Mochis).
Bahuichivo (4 hours from El Fuerte).
Divisadero (hour and a half walk from Bahuichivo).
Creel (2 hours from Divisadero).
It is possible to get off at the stations you prefer and stay there for a couple of days before boarding again (with the same price as your ticket).
1. The Sierra Tarahumara and its biodiversity
In the state of Chihuahua, at 2,270 meters above sea level, lies the Sierra Tarahumara, which is part of the Sierra Madre Occidental, the largest mountain range in Mexico and one of the most biodiverse areas in the country. This region is the home of the Rrámuri ethnic group.
The landscape of the Sierra Tarahumara, in addition to having deep ravines and canyons, is dotted with spiky pine and oak forests with abundant foliage. According to the government of Chihuahua, in the Sierra Tarahumara there are around 3,271 species of plants and endemic birds also inhabit such as the mountain parrot, the golden eagle and the peregrine falcon.
And what better way to get to know this region, its forests, bodies of water and diversity aboard the legendary Chepe, which crosses 37 bridges and 86 tunnels throughout the year throughout the mountain range. During winter, the forests are covered with snow, resulting in a landscape that is not only spectacular but quite unusual in Mexico.
2. El Fuerte, Magical Town in Sinaloa
A town of colonial origin, with about 500 years of history and archaeological remains of the Yoreme people dating from before the arrival of the Spanish.
You can spend a day visiting the archaeological zone of Cerro de la Máscara, the most abundant in petroglyphs in the state of Sinaloa, or the Fuerte-Mirador Museum, a replica of the 17th-century fortress that, it is said, gave the town its name. There are also handicrafts made of ixtle, such as rugs and hammocks, as well as wool blankets and pieces of clay.
Don’t leave without trying the typical gastronomy, which includes dishes such as machaca, pineapple tamales, sea bass fillets and prawns (cauques).
3. A glass viewpoint on the Cerro del Gallego
An hour and 14 minutes from the Bahuichivo train station is an old mining site; embraced by the mountains, delineated by streams and waterfalls: this is the town of Urique.
At the top of the Urique Canyon, almost 2,000 meters high, is the Cerro del Gallego and, right at the top, a glass viewpoint that allows you to contemplate the imposing Copper Canyon and its surroundings. Here vertigo is forgotten because the beautiful view is worth it. The souvenir photo is a must at this point.
4. Copper Canyon Adventure Park
Nine minutes from the Divisadero train station is the Barrancas del Cobre Adventure Park, a place to experience extreme emotions and spend a day in contact with nature. Visitors’ favorite activities are jumping around the seven zip-lines circuit, taking the cable car, and enjoying a restaurant with a glass lookout.
Doing the via ferrata represents a challenge where you have to go over suspension bridges, rappel down 48 meters and walk along the edge of an abyss (subject with harnesses, of course). The Ziprider is the most famous attraction: a zip line in which you sit for two minutes and travel 2,583 meters at full speed.
5. The Magical Town of Creel
Among its must-sees is the Tarahumara Museum of Popular Art and the Monument to Christ the King. On the main avenue of the town, you can find rarámuri handicrafts such as palm vessels, metal accessories, drums, belts and shawls.
From Creel it is possible to hire tours to see the Basaseachi waterfall, the second-highest in Mexico; Its powerful jet of waterfalls to a height of 265 meters and is lost in the Candameña canyon, one of the Copper Canyon. Three kilometers from Basaseachi is its rival, the Piedra Volada waterfall; It is the highest in the country, at 456 meters. It is just a “trickle” of water trapped in the canyon, and it only forms in the rainy season (July to October).
It is a walk for a whole day, as these natural wonders are 2 and a half hours from Creel.
6. Valley of the Monks
Just 7 kilometers from the Magic Town of Creel are some of the wildest rock formations that you will surely ever see. In the Valley of the Monks, nature has made its way outlining giant rocks and giving them silhouettes that, according to locals and visitors, look like monks, but if you are more imaginative you can find other ways. Some can be up to 30 meters tall.
The silhouettes are the result of erosion in the area, over millions of years. However, legend has it that a group of monks used to make prayers and reflections in that place, but their concentration was so great that one day, without realizing it, they turned to stone.
7. Lake Arareko
Very close to the town of Creel, in the municipality of San Ignacio Arareko, is the Lake of Arareko. Here it is possible to go horseback riding, camping, cycling, boating, and fishing. This blue lake has a peculiar horseshoe shape and a length of 2.5 kilometers.