Trekking/hitching to the Copper Canyon and Surrounds
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Aug 15, 2012 11:30 PM Last Post By: p0gue
Jul 20, 2012 1:37 PM
Trekking/hitching to the Copper Canyon and SurroundsHello all!
I would like to hitch, take the bus and eventually trek to the Copper Canyon area. I plan to head in from the West of Mexico so will have to pass Alamo and I think trek from Temoris to Cerocahui.
As there may be no track from Temoris to the road between Cerocahui and Urique I thought it could be possible to trek East until I came to the train line and follow this until I came to the track that leads to Cerocahui.
Understandably I have several questions which are:
1.) Has anyone done something similar before?
2.) Is this a stupid idea?
3.) What are the extremes in temperatures like?
4.) Would food/water be available to buy or steralise if I made it to the Cerocahui area?
5.) Are there dangers from wild animals or people involved in drug trafficing etc?
I'm open to any suggestions and comments so please give them. I want to see something different, save some money as the train is quite expensive and have some real adventure along the way.
Thanks for any advice - I just want to see the Copper Canyon area.
Jul 20, 2012 2:19 PM
1For interest, Google maps indicates a track between Temoris and Cerocahui, and a track to Urique; total distance 112 km, walking time (optimistic, in my opinion) 24 hrs; or 93 km and 20 hrs if you omit Cerocahui. I laughed at this warning Google provides: "Use caution-this route may be missing sidewalks..." Get an INEGI 1:50,000 topographic map of the area if you don't have it yet, and start packing. Remember to post a report after your trip.
Jul 20, 2012 2:58 PM
2Thanks for the info McLarjh, I didn't realise you could use Google maps like that.
Where could I buy the map you mention in Mexico? Would it be possible to find it in Guadlahara as I will be there soon?
I'm surprised that the distance is around 100km this will take maybe at least 3 or more like 4 days to trek? Do you think there will be water on the way?
Jul 20, 2012 3:21 PM
3Answer to questions:
1) Yes, most notably John Fayhee as documented in his book, Mexico's Copper Canyon Country; A Hiking and Backpacking Guide.
2) May be stupid nowadays as there is heavy narco activity throughout the sierra and a gabacho alone with a backpack could be an atractive target.
3) Canyon bottoms can reach 45 C or better in summer. Canyon rim can drop to -10 C or more in winter.
4) Supplies available at Cerocahui. Sketchy once you enter the outback. I would drink the water out of the Urique River if filtered first, but you might not like that idea.
5) Rattlesnakes, scorpions, chupacabras and yes, narco traficantes.
How's your Spanish? Get off track in the sierra and you'll need it. In fact I've met folks up there that only speak rudimentary Spanish even since Raramuri is their native idiom.
Also, hiking around the backcountry you'll encounter a maze of goat trails, no signs, and it's easy to get lost.
A few years ago I'd have backpacked freely around the sierra. I'm much more careful now. Although the narcos have always been there, the last five years has gotten insanely violent. I hope to descend the Sinfarosa this year or next. Once you pass the inhabited areas on top, the lower canyon is more populated by Rarumuri subistence farmers than cash-crazed narcos.
Jul 20, 2012 5:59 PM
4Thanks CascadeBob for your info.
I can speak a little Spanish - the basics such as finding the bus terminal in a town or making very 'light' conversation. I took a month of lessons in Guatemala and so have much more to learn!
About the traffickers, would they be much of a problem if they are just growing crops?
Also, at this time of year, the temperature will not be quite so bad I'm guessing as compared to May or June?
I'm not so worried about the wildlife or drinking the water - my main concern would be getting robbed, and of course, losing my way. Maybe this is the most difficult thing of all though I would intend to use a map and compass.
Jul 20, 2012 6:06 PM
Jul 20, 2012 6:45 PM
Jul 20, 2012 7:01 PM
7Sorry guys - just wanted to be sure of how bad the situation was. Obviously I don't want trouble.
Is it possible to take the train from Témoris and then get off at Bauichivo or do you have to take the train from the start at Los Mochis. The train is supposed to stop there according to the website http://www.chepe.com.mx/english/servi/econo.html
Thanks again for your comments - I wanted to know what was possible and what was foolish but did want to do something a little different too! I would like to stay in the Urique area and hope it is safer to do some day treks there.
Jul 20, 2012 7:10 PM
The train starts at Los Mochis, but you can also get on at El Fuerte, a nice colonial town on the El Fuerte River. Getting off a Bauchivo and taking avan to Urique is fine. Once in Urique you can swim in the river and explore around locally.
Jul 20, 2012 7:45 PM
9If you are going to leave from Alamos you'd be much better off to go thru Chinipas, then to temoris and then to Bahuichivo, then to Cerocahui where you can hike down the mountain to Urique with or without a guide. A guide would be better but that is expensive. I've worked in the canyon for 12 years and know of 5 tourists who have been killed there but all were killed in small plane accidents. Maybe four years ago two Urique cops were killed because they forgot they had been bought off. At least that is the story I got.
To get to Chinipas you have to cross a river which in late summer will most likely be to high to cross.
To get by train from El Fuerte to Bahuichivo is 31 dollars on the 2nd class. Fun ride but bring a bit of food. Water is available
100 k from Temoris to Cerocahui seems a bit long especially if going by trail rather than road.I do not know any trail other than a couple in the area of Urique and Cerocahiui. The trail in the Urique area are very nice. July and August and maybe part of September are oft times rainy
It is tough to get from Alamos to Temoris without first going to El Fuerte and Choix. How do you plan on doing that?
I've worked in some fairly remote areas and never had a problem but of course you never know.
If you do happen to get to Urique stay with Keith Ramsay. Neat guy. Been there since 1976. Keith will most likely appear on here pretty soon
Good luck. You only go round once but look before you leapnand remember he who hesitates is lost also a stitch in time saves nine and my least favorite which was put out by the marine corps " a coward dies a thousand times while a hero dies but once."
Jul 20, 2012 10:28 PM
10Hi Toto, and welcome to the forum.
The sierra has trails and, more recently, roads all over the place, and for sure there are ways to walk from Temoris to Cerocahui, including walking the track to Bahuichivo and then walking the road to Cerocahui, but I suggest you not do this. Here's what you should do: take public transportation to a place called Paraiso del Oso, which is about five km before you get to Cerocahui (here's a link: mexicohorse.com.) They are kind of spendy if you stay in their rooms, and their food and drink are priced for more affluent tourists, but they have a bunk house and if you want to camp they will find a place for you to do that, and it won't be very expensive. If you tell them you want to hike to Urique through Naranjo, they will point out where you start the trail. If you hike right along you can make it to Urique that same day, and if not you can camp in Naranjo (ask around and you will find people willing to let you camp on their place). From Naranjo you can either continue to Urique (there is a road from Naranjo onwards, but if you ask people, they can point out the old trail, which is in good condition because it is part of the Caballo Blanco Ultra-Marathon course, and gets lots of maintenance at least once a year, or you can take a left and proceed to the river via El Salitre (ask people in Naranjo to point out the trail head for you), which will take you to the river just upriver from Guadelupe Coronado.
If you decide to go to Urique from Naranjo, there are lots of hikes you can take from there, but if you want to more in the bush and arrive at the river at Guadelupe, from there you can take off on trails across the river and up that go on forever. It is spectacularly beautiful and the people are friendly.
Now, let me deal with some of the things CascadeBob mentions above. First the scary stuff: notice he mentions cupacabras. this should give you a hint that he is pulling out all the stops here. if you hike in the canyons or the sierra and get anywhere off the beaten track you are likely to come across clandestine agriculture. I tend to think of these people a growers, not traffickers, and in our area my experience is these people are friendly and helpful and not in the least interested in making problems and drawing attention to themselves (one of the reasons I suggest you not start your hike from Temoris is that I'm not sure that is the case up there).
The not so scary stuff: trails are not marked, and sometimes the trail you want may not be the one that looks the most travelled at the moment, but those trails all lead somewhere, and sooner or later you will come to a rancho or at least meet someone on the trail who can tell you where you are and how to get where you want to go. Resist the temptation to bushwhack--the thorn forest will rip you to shreds.
Water: you can buy bottled water in towns, and I think the water in arroyos is virtually always good, but if you are doing serious hiking and camping I suggest you buy a filter.
John Fayhee's book tells you a lot about Fayhee's personality, and you might enjoy reading it, but it is essentially worthless for what you have in mind.
It's always good to be able to speak the local language, but I've known a bunch of people who did what you have in mind with very poor Spanish skills and had a good time, even lifechangingly good times.
This is world-class beautiful country, and the people in our area are friendly and helpful, although some (I'm thinking here of some of the Tarahumaras) may be painfully shy.
Bugs and snakes: the bugs that bother me the most in the canyon are chiggers. they are active during the rainy season (say July, August, early September). We have scorpions at the lower altitudes, and lots of them, but they aren't the least bit interested in you, and if you sit on one or grab one inadvertently and it stings you, you won't like it, but they are not life threatening. Similarly, snakes are not interested in us (we don't fit). There are no rattlesnakes at the lower elevations and not many anywhere. There are coral snakes at the lower elevations, but they are extremely shy and I've never heard of anyone ever being bitten by one.
As CascadeBob says, it can get hot at the bottom (elevation about 1,800 feet above sea level at Urique), and cold up on top (8,000 absl just above Urique). Hottest months are May and June. Hiking during the rainy season can be difficult for obvious reasons even though the canyons are at their most beautiful during those months (July, August, maybe part of September), but from October through mid-March or even early April the weather in the canyon bottoms is just about perfect for camping and hiking.
Jul 20, 2012 10:48 PM
11I had a hell of a time making that last post (at that point it would have been post #4) and ended up saving the text a couple hours ago when my web connection wouldn't let me post it. Then we watched a movie, and just now I got back on and was able to copy it in, which I did before reading what had gotten posted meantime. Now, when I check those posts, I notice Fred the dentist (1969) has recommended our place, so I'm thinking it is ok for me to give you a link: amongamigos.com.
Those guys trying to talk you out of hiking are just chicken, but if you are hesitant, day hikes from Urique are a very nice option, and we are right in the middle of it there, and there is no place I know in the canyons that is more beautiful than the area around Urique.
Jul 20, 2012 11:06 PM
12keithr, not chicken, just talking some sense into a kid that is obviously unprepared for hiking the backcountry of the barrancas.
Personnal I've spent time with the Raramuri at Pino Gordo and other remote locations, drank tesquino by torchlight all night long, imbibed peyote with Raramuri permission, and hiked around and outside of Urique. I don't discourage prepared folks from doing the same - hell life without risk isn't worth living. But, it is redkless to encourage the obviously unprepared onward.
Jul 21, 2012 8:08 AM
Jul 21, 2012 2:43 PM
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