What is the best way to get to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Copper Canyon in northern Mexico?
Getting to Copper Canyon by train:
The Chihuahua al Pacífico Railroad, known as El Chepe, is a rail line that runs from the Pacific coast at Los Mochis to the city of Chihuahua, passing through the canyonlands. While the train ride is lauded as one of the most spectacular in the world, the reality is that the really scenic parts of the journey are between El Fuerte and Creel, especially between El Fuerte and Bahucivo where the train rapidly ascends many thousands of feet. The route from Los Mochis headed eastwards is more scenic because the westward train often passes through the most scenic areas after nightfall. This is really only an issue in the winter when days are short or if the 2nd class train is running way behind schedule. Regardless, neither direction offers direct views of the canyon itself. First and second class are available in separate trains, with the first class train leaving earlier. First class is mostly for foreign tourists and costs twice the rate of 2nd class, but allows you to hop on and off, whereas 2nd class tickets must be entirely used up in one day. 1st class tickets should be purchased in advance through a travel agency to avoid disappointment, while 2nd class tickets can be purchased on the train from the conductor.
In addition as of late February 2009, a first class train leaves from Chihuahua AND Los Mochis every morning, whereas the second class train only leaves from each station 3 times a week(aka it will depart from Los Mochis one night and Chihuahua the next, and take 1 day off per week).
Getting to Copper Canyon by bus:
Copper Canyon is well served by bus service. Buses run from El Paso-Juarez to Chihuahua ($25USD) and from Ojinaga-Presidio to Chihuahua ($12USD) regularly. From Chihuahua you can continue on by bus to Creel ($20USD) or transfer to the train.
Getting to Copper Canyon by car:
If you have your own private vehicle driving on the Mexican toll roads is very easy, and corruption appears to be a minor issue in Chihuahua outside of the Juarez area.
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