El Fuerte“Gateway to the Copper Canyon”
One of the most beautiful colonial towns in Sinaloa’s northwestern region.
For centuries it was a major trading post for gold and silver miners. Some lovely colonial mansions line the cobblestone streets leading to a central Plaza de Armas, that comes alive in the evenings.
El Fuerte was founded in 1564 by Spanish conquistador Don Francisco de Ibarra, the first explorer of the treasures of the Western Sierra Madre mountains. In 1610 a fort was built to ward off the fierce Zuaque and Tehueco Indians, who constantly harassed the Spaniards. El Fuerte became a major trading post for silver miners and gold seekers from the Urique, Batopilas, and Rain of gold mines in the nearby Sierra Madre.
In 1824, El Fuerte became the capital of what is now the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, and a part of Arizona. It remained for several years. There is much rich history in and around El Fuerte. You can be sure that a historical walk around this picturesque colonial city of about 30,000 people is a very rewarding experience. El Fuerte is also famous for being the legendary birthplace of Senor Diego de la Vega, also known as El Zorro.
Posada Barrancas / Divisadero.About 4km southwest of Divisadero, Posada Barrancas train station is next to Areponapuchi, the only village on the train line right by the rim of the canyon, it is where it all comes together for the first time, with spectacular views of the canyon.
The mega new attraction nearby is the Parque de Aventura Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon Adventure Park), where activities include the formidable Tram Ride and Zip-Lines that whoosh you over precipitous 1500m-plus canyon drops.
An easy path with several good viewpoints runs along the canyon rim to the left (north) of Posada Barrancas, and several lookouts (as well as the adventure park) lie short distances off the road between here and Divisadero
Creel The Heart of the Sierra Tarahumara. Also known as Creel Station because it was a major railroad stop – is in the heart of the Western Sierra Madre. Until the 1960s the train that we now know as the Chihuahua-Pacific ended its route at this Magical Town, the only one in Chihuahua. In addition to being a picturesque town evocative of the far west and bygone eras, Creel is also an excellent jumping-off point for visiting the Sierra Tarahumara, traveling in El Chepe, and adventuring about Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre).
Tarahumaras. The Copper Canyon is the homeland of four distinct indigenous groups. By far the largest group, estimated at about 50 000, is the Tarahumara, or Rarámuri, as they prefer to call themselves. They live in the canyons preserving a way of life that has changed little over time. Many Rarámuris reside in the cooler, mountainous regions during the hot summer months and migrate deeper into the canyons in the cooler winter months, where the climate is more temperate. Some dwell in natural shelters such as caves or rock overhangs, or small wood or stone cabins.
They are well known for their long-distance running capabilities, in fact, their name for themselves, Rarámuri means “those who run fast”. Some Tarahumara sell handmade baskets and other items to tourists at stops along the railway route to help support their families.