Beyond Creel, the Chihuahua al Pacífico train passes its highest point, Los Ojitos and, soon after, the Lazo loop, in which the track does a 360° turn. At Divisadero there is an all-too-brief 15-minute stop to view the quite spectacular Barranca del Cobre, grab a burrito and buy souvenirs from the Rarámuri women. If you're not taking the train, you can still admire the views by catching a local bus from Creel and exiting here. There is a luxury hotel, Divisadero Barrancas, overlooking the canyon, but a lack of local amenities make this an inconvenient place to stay.

Around Divisadero

The Balancing Rock is at the edge of the canyon and it wobbles in a stomach-churning way as you stand on it. Catch a camioneta from the Divisadero Barrancas hotel, or walk 1-2 km from Divisadero (away from Creel) and on the left you will see the wooden entrance gate. From there it is 45 minutes to the rock with stops at canyon viewing points. You can also reach the canyon's floor from Divisadero or Posada Barrancas . From the former it is 6-km walk (or hitch) along the dirt road that runs beside the railway to the house of Florencio Manzinas (at the first group of houses you come to). From there it's a day's hike along narrow, slippery, often steep and sometimes overgrown trails into the canyon, descending from cool pine forest into subtropical vegetation as you approach the river. Take plenty of water for the hike as, after descending the first section following a stream, you have to go over another hill before getting down to the river, which means several hours without access to water.

Posada Barrancas

Five minutes and 5 km further on from Divisadero, the train comes to Posada Barrancas, where the stunning Hotel Posada Barrancas claims yet more sensational views of the canyon. There is a small village, Areponápuchi, home to a handful of budget lodgings. Generally, however, there is a shortage of amenities.

Posada Barrancas to Bahuichivo

Twenty-five minutes beyond the Hotel Posada Barrancas the Chihuahua al Pacífico reaches San Rafael, where there is a 10-minute stop, and then passes the La Laja bridge and tunnel. It is a further 20 minutes to Cuiteco. Next on the line comes Bahuichivo; if you don't want to go all the way to Los Mochis you can return from here. From Bahuichivo to Los Mochis it is five hours on the train. Bahuichivo offers access to the villages of Cerocahui and Urique, but is a rather rough-and-ready mountain town that has little attraction in itself.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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