The Peoples Guide to Mexico:

Trip Reports
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Copper Canyon Itineraries

A Copper Canyon Itinerary
Via Columbus, New Mexico

Published Jan 14, 2001

There is a wonderful, virtually unknown route into the canyon country from Columbus, NM. It goes like this:

-- Columbus to Janos to Nuevo Casas Grandes (the ruins and museum at Paquime are great; closed Monday). If you're driving and are interested in fine pottery, visit the village of Mata Ortiz.

-- Nuevo Casas Grandes to Buenaventura; turn onto Mex 10, continue to Gomez Farias, and from there to Madera (the maps get a little vague, but locals can point the way. Good roads, beautiful country.)

-- Madera is a prosperous timber/ranch town that may one day become another tourism gateway into the canyons. I've yet to thoroughly explore this area, but what little I've seen and read really fires me up. There are many unvisited Indian cave dwellings in the region, hotsprings, rivers, etc. Just to the north, the cliff dwellings of Cuarenta Casas are very impressive (no camping). There is a campground just north of Madera, on the right side of the highway, by a small lake.

-- From Madera, continue south toward Ciudad Cuauhtemoc on Mex 16 via Temosachic... or maybe you cut over to Pena Blanca... I can't remember, but Lorena has our road log so when you're ready, just ask :)

The route above is almost entirely on good paved 2 lane through mixed grasslands and highland forest, with few people and virtually no traffic. The kind of country that makes you want to saddle up Trigger and ride west.
©1972-2001 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens