Chepe – All Aboard the Chihuahua Pacifico Train to Copper Canyon

Mexico surprises. After each and every visit I return home wanting more.  My recent trip to the Mexican border state of Chihuahua proved no different. The seven nights in the state will always be remembered for the warmth of its people, the taste of its cuisine and the beauty of its landscapes. It was an absolute adventure. And if there was highlight, it might select Chihuahua Pacifico Train through Copper Canyon, el Chepe.

maravillas de mexico sign regarding the Chepe train through Copper Canyon

it is officially classified as a marvel too

I love train travel, so this was an easy sell for me. Whether the Amtrak to Washington DC or South Africa’s luxurious Blue Train, train travel always seems to be a great adventure. And the Chepe train through the Copper Canyon takes you through some of the most scenic landscapes on earth. It is a Mexican marvel, it is a “Mexican must.”

The railroad passage offers eighty-six tunnels and thirty-seven bridges. The journey transitions through multiple terrains, eco-systems and altitudes (reaching over 8,000 feet above sea level). Plus, countless markers of historical or scenic significance line the tracks. Each are  marked and labeled in available guide books. So you can spend your time wisely watching from your seat and attempting to capture pictures from standing in the vestibules. Although having a guide from Authentic Copper Canyon proved even better.

On my journey, I probably spent more time in the vestibules snapping images, here are some of my favorites.

Chihuahua City to Creel

At 6am the train leaves Chihuahua City each day and heads to the coast through the canyons. We boarded and spent our first day riding to Creel.

the Chepe train in the morning sun just outside Chihuahua City

the train makes a turn

the landscape of Chihuahua viewed from the Chepe Train

the landscape started out flat

the high plain farms of Chihuahua viewed from the Copper Canyon Train, Chepe

we passed many farms and learned many are run by Mennonites

Creel to Divisadero

After an overnight in Creel, we boarded the train and continued along and worked our way to the main canyons, known as “barrancas.” When all the canyons were added together, they actually become four times (yes, four times) the size of the Grand Canyon in the Untied States.

Chepe Copper Canyon Train Locomotive

arriving to Creel

the tracks from the caboose of the Chepe train

a look out the back from the Caboose










the Chepe train through the Copper Canyon

still climbing

the track was perpendicular beneath us, a big turn was about to begin

the copper canyon view from Divisadero

the train stops for 15 minutes at Divisadero so you can see you the canyon

Divisadero to Temoris

After the stop, we continued further to Temoris. The next part of the journey would provide some of the most scenic passage on my partial journey. It included countless tunnels and numerous bridges.

all aboard the Chepe, the conductor watches who boards

el conductor in the sun

the tarahumaras or Raramuri indigenous often can be found at the stops selling arts and crafts

stops had Tarahumaras selling crafts, I purchased.


meeting the other train, and switching crew on the chepe in the copper canyon

another stop, this time to switch crew with the passing train heading to Chihuahua City

a bridge on the copper canyon train, chepe

looking down over a bridge

just crossed over a bridge on the Chepe Train through Copper Canyon

just crossed over a bridge


entering a tunnel on the Chepe train through Copper Canyon

one of the many tunnels

the scenery just before Temoris on the Chepe train

seeing the Barrancas, or the Canyons on the train

the tracks of the copper canyon train in chihuahua

the track ahead... after Temoris

I unfortunately did not take the entire journey, but the scenic journey certainly left its impression. It provides just another reason to return to Mexico and the state of Chihuahua, actually it is just one of many reasons to return to Chihuahua. So, yes, I’ll be back. Ah! Chihuahua!

stay adventurous, Craig

I’d like to thank Dave from Authentic Copper Canyon, TravelLand and the Mexican Tourism Board (my friends in the New York Office) for making this journey and one of my dream trips inside Mexico a reality. Ah! Chihuahua! 


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  • Matthew Karsten

    Great photos Craig! The Chepe train was a beautiful & relaxing way to travel through the Copper Canyon.

    • craig zabransky

      Gracias, that means a lot coming from such a professional or should I say expert… It was good to see you south of the border again… vaya con dios amigo. stay adventurous, Craig

  • Copper Canyon Guy

    And thank you Craig for being a part of this journey. Chihuahua is one of the great untraveled parts of Mexico now…and all of us on the trip felt and WERE perfectly safe.

    • craig zabransky

      Dave, I agree, so SAFE. Strange when I put this post together I didn’t even think it warranted mention… but I guess it does since it is Chihuahua. I felt safe the entire trip.
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • SibylW

    I’ve never seen that part of the country, it’s awesome. What a fantastic train ride.

    • craig zabransky

      Mexico offers many surprises…stay adventurous, Craig

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  • Maria

    Gorgeous country and isn’t there just something darn fun about riding a train

    • craig zabransky

      I so agree… it is an adventure. It truly reminds us, that is it the journey and not the destination… stay adventurous, Craig

  • Nancy Dardarian


    What a wonderful post! This is on my must do list for the next year, especially as I just finished reading Born to Run about the barefoot runners of the Tarahumara Indians in this area. I know there is a serious drought going on there, what is your opinion about visiting in October? I was thinking of going in April or May.

    Love your pictures as always!

    • craig zabransky

      I loved October. Early might be better for the waterfalls, but this year October still had some water on my trip. April or May – not sure.

      Also, I spent some time with the runners themselves. Dave (the link above in the post) of Authentic Copper Canyon has established a relationship and is working on a Tarahumara Running Project… definitely check out his site for options on how to spend time with them… The Born to Run story is so fascinating, it was pleasure to meet them too. Stay adventurous, Craig

  • Raul

    I have heard about the Copper Canyon before and it is a place I want to see. After seeing these pix, I definitely have to do this sooner rather than later!!

    • craig zabransky

      Raul it is probably the most scenic train ride in the world… I definitely recommend it. stay adventurous, Craig

  • Jetting Around

    Wow… Absolutely incredible!! I love train travel and have always wanted to ride surrounded by this kind of landscape. Great post, Craig, and what an adventure…

    • craig zabransky

      Thanks Pola, it was truly an adventure and I agree – Love Train Travel. Stay riding the rails, Craig

  • Emjay Carlos

    Fabulous pics, as usual. Now you REALLY made me want to take this trip!

    • craig zabransky

      GO. Definitely an adventure, and wonderful if you like scenic train journeys. stay adventurous, Craig

  • Ana Silva O’Reilly

    I have never seen this Mexico. I need to reconsider for sure!! Would love the train journey!!

    • craig zabransky

      You must give Mexico another chance… just ask me where to go before you make any plans 😉 stay adventurous, Craig

  • Francesca

    Amazing! Everything about this, from the number of tunnels to the size of the canyons. Your photos, once again, are stunning. Even the shots of the “flat” terrain are gorgeous. Love this, Craig.

    • craig zabransky

      Gracias Francesca… I never tire of reading and responding to comments about my photography… glad you enjoyed the images. stay adventurous, Craig

  • Zipolita

    What does it cost to take the train?

    • craig zabransky

      Full passage from Chihuahua City to Los Moriches costs about $250 USDs and I believe you are entitled to 3 hop-on / hop-offs. You will definitely want to spend a few nights in the Canyons exploring the sites.
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • John

    This train trip is on my Dad’s bucket list and I intend to take it with him sometime in the next 5 or so years….your post has me looking forward to it!

  • Traveling Ted

    Very cool. I have actually met Dave at the Adventure Travel show in Chicago. Very nice and interesting guy. He is very passionate about Copper Canyon, and I can see why.

    • craig zabransky

      Dave is so passionate about Mexico… he is a true ambassador, I am glad I had the opportunity to travel with him.. stay adventurous, Craig

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  • Liliana Velasquez

    Wow, amazing! I have to make sure i go to Chihuahua and take that train one day! your stories always make me one to be “there”… :)

    • craig zabransky

      Gracias Liliana, it was an incredible journey… stay adventurous, Craig

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