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Emmet on the edge of the Canyon near Bauichivo


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An adventurous expedition riding into the hidden and secret chasms of the Sierra Madre, one of the most wild and spectacular areas of Mexico.

The Spanish arrived in the Copper Canyon in the 17th Century and quickly established themselves in the Tarahumara tribal lands after discovering rich deposits of gold and silver, forcing the Indians to move from the humid depths to the higher tropical elevations of the canyon. These indigenous people still inhabit the area and hold fast to their ancient customs as well as adopting Christianity into their traditional rites. Riders have the rare privilege to encounter a tribe still far removed from the rest of Mexican culture and society and the March itinerary may also allow riders to witness their great celebrations during Holy Week of Semana Santa.

Your adventure will begin in Chihuahua before travelling on to Creel. From there we head to Cusarare where we mount our horses and head deeper away from civilization into the dizzying canyons del Cobre. The ride takes us through the deepest canyons of this remote area: Urique (1870m), Batopilas and Sinforosa (1800m) on sure footed and well cared for horses, riding for up to 8 hours per day and camping under the stars. 

This is an exceptional horse riding holiday into a landscape of ethereal splendour; a trip where everyone takes their part and reaps the great personal rewards of having witnessed and ridden through one of the most mysterious landscapes on earth. 


Trip length13 nights / 14 days / 9 days riding
Ride price detailed prices
price promise
2016 : double pp 6-8 pax £2,015/€2,265/$2,415/SEK21,825
2017: double pp 6-8 pax £2,109/€2,375/$2,529/SEK22,859
Departure dates

2016: 1 March (confirmed); 24 September; 24 October (FULL)
2017: 21 Feb
Other dates on request

Approximate riding time per day5 - 7.5 hours
Riding ability required Click for detailsMust be fit and confident and unafraid of heights
Group size2-8
Meeting point (getting there)Chihuahua Airport, Mexico (CUU)
TransferIncluded from meeting point
Flight guideLondon Heathrow to Mexico City - £600-£900
Single supplement detailed pricesNo single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share.


Day 1: Arrive Chihuahua
Transfer to your overnight hotel. No lunch or dinner is included today.

Day 2: Visit Chihuahua - Creel
This morning from Chihuahua we will take a road transfer to Creel (around a 4 hour drive) - a town in the far west of Mexico. Here you will meet your riding guide and settle into his guesthouse. Welcome dinner with typical Mexican food, and chat about the riding plan. Overnight

Day 3: Creel - Cusarare - El Tejaban 
Transportation of horses and riders to Cusarare (30 minutes) to start our ride adventure riding on the high sierra(from 2000 to 2400 metres of elevation) and its alpine forest to El Tejaban, located at the ridge of the Copper Canyon where impressive views of the Canyon and its steepness can be seen. Camp overnight. 6 hours of riding.

Day 4: El Tejaban - Barranca Del Cobre - Guaycavo
Our first canyon descent by the Camino Real (Colonial trail which connected Batoplias with Chihuahua city) to the ruins of Barranca del Cobre and its river Urique (3 hours). Visit the abandoned mines from where the canyon took its name and swim in the nearby river. Ascent to Guacayvo, a peaceful village nestled in a very narrow canyon. The diversity of flora and fauna of the high sierra and the bottom of the canyon is evident. Camp overnight. 5 hours of riding.

Day 5: Guaycavo - El Cebollin - La Renga 
We continue our ascent to El Cebollin (sawmill) where we´ll have our first Canyon´s crossing completed. At this point we will be able to see our first camp site, not far at all on a straight line, but with a canyon of 1100 meters deep below our horses hooves. Then ride by the sierra to La Renga, a strategically located valley lined with apple trees where vehicle support can meet us. Camp overnight . 5 hours of riding.

Day 6: La Renga - Cieneguita De Morales
Ride by the high sierra by a long range enjoying great views of Hondo, and Urique Canyon on our right handside, and Batopilas on our left all the way to Cieneguita de Morales. Camp overnight. 6 hours of riding.

Day 7: Cieneguita – Munerachi
After riding south for four days we now take a southeastern course, mostly by high Sierra and a short descent at the end of the day to Munerachi. Today we´ll be able to admire the magnificence of Batopilas Canyon and perhaps (on the Easter itinerary) witness the celebration of Semana Santa by the Tarahumara Indians, some 50,000 indians still inhabit these canyons. Please note that it is unusual for the isolated Tarahumara people to welcome tourists, we might be welcome to stay and watch, and we might not! Camp overnight. 6 hours of riding.

Day 8: Munerachi - Batopilas
If we were welcome to stay and watch Semana Santa celebration we can also enjoy the festivities of the morning. The celebration usually ends in the morning, so there is usually time to ride down hill to Cerra Colorado (an old mining town) then arrive to Batopilas (460m above sea level) late in the afternoon. Accomodation overnight. 7.5 hours of riding.

Day 9: Batopilas
Today will be a "day off" for the horses, who still have three more days to go. We will visit Hacienda de San Miguel, built by Alexander Shepherd, "the Silver Magnet" at the end of the XIX century. By car visit the "Lost Mission" of Satevo, a Jesuit Mission built in XVII century. Accomodation overnight.

Day 10: Batopilas - Santa Rita
We leave Batopilas Canyon and ride to Santa Rita, where we can enjoy breath-taking scenery; the ravines of Batopilas and Munerachi. Here begins a new historical Silver Trail in the Sierra Madre. During three centuries of mining, silver was extracted and sent to Chihuahua city to be sold. Transportation of this mineral was a real challenge, not only due to the distance (385km), but also the rugged terrain to be traversed. We will ride on paths once trodden by countless brave mules. 5 hours riding.

Day 11: Santa Rita - Teboreachi
A second day of riding on the Silver Trail. Our horses will take us onto to edge of the Sierra Alta, where we will view a spectacular trail which offers views of the two valleys on either side. We arrive at the Raramuri community of Teboreachi (2000m) and visit the remains of the old mining station. These shelters were built with sandstone bricks and were distributed at regular intervals along the road to allow mules to rest and eat. 5 hours riding.

Day 12: Teboreachi - Creel
Last day on horseback. We cross a thick forest and the road takes us to the community of Samachique, where our equestrian adventure ends. We will enjoy a delicious picnic and refreshing beer. A vehicle and truck will be waiting for us and our horses and we will be transported to Creel. Farewell dinner and Margaritas. 4 hours riding.

Day 13: Creel - Chihuahua
Today we take a train from Creel to Chihuahua city but a private vehicle can be arranged if you prefer (additional cost).

Day 14Chihuahua – Mexico City
Transfer to Chihuahua airport in time for a flight back to Mexico that connects to your international departure.

Please follow this link for a map of the start point of this itinerary: Copper Canyon Trail

Please note: This itinerary is given for your guidance only and it may be altered in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.


Your Guide:

Norberto Padilla Rodriguez

As a child Norberto grew up on his family's ranch, dedicating his time and interests to his growing herd of horses, breeding, gentling them and riding them for pleasure. At age eighteen, Norberto enrolled in the Northern Regional University in Chihuahua to pursue a graduate degree in tourism.

At the same time, however, Norberto continued to participate in his favorite sport, rodeo bull-riding. Thanks to rodeo, he had the opportunity to visit many beautiful places in Mexico. (As a professional-status bull-rider, he also earned some of his college expenses as well as some handsome belt buckles.) Norberto also took time out from his studies to travel in the United States, first as a cowboy in Nebraska and Wyoming; later joining a construction company in Atlanta, Georgia. While in the southeastern U.S., he took advantage of opportunities to ride in rodeos in Alabama and South Carolina. Two years later, Norberto returned to Mexico with a head full of dreams, but felt that somehow, his adventures were now behind him.

So, Norberto completed his studies in 1996, and left the rodeo to dedicate himself to a career. It was while managing a hotel in Creel he began to explore the many beautiful and extraordinary places surrounding this gateway town to Copper Canyon. The lovely Tarahumara people so impressed Norberto with their kindness and quiet lifestyle that, as much as he admired them and their environment, he wanted to share his experiences with other appreciative people. But Norberto also knew that to do so, he needed to create an opportunity for others to experience this part of Mexico with minimal impact on the Tarahumara and their environment....

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

As we are specialists in our field we have extensive knowledge of all our products from details of accommodation and meals to number/size/type of horses to pace of riding ... and much more.
Should you wish to receive further details of this ride please click here.

All accommodation on a full board basis starting from breakfast on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 13, airport transfers, train from Bahuichivo to El Fuerte on Day 13, all tours and entrance fees (except those mentioned below), all riding and equipment. Staff comprising: 1 riding guide, 1 English speaking guide when not riding, 1 driver, 2 gauchos. Luggage carried on 3 mules or pack horses.
For price details click here

International flights to Mexico and internal flights to Chihuahua, tips, entry to the Museum of the Revolution in Chihuahua (around $25), drinks, meals on Day 1 and lunch on Day 13 (around £5-£15 per person per meal) and items of a personal nature.

Riders who booked this ride also considered:

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Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.


Sons of the Shaking Earth - Eric Wolf. A wonderfully readable introduction to Mexican history.
The Maya (Ancient Peoples and Places) - Michael D Coe
Aztecs: An Interpretation - Inga Clendinnen. A fascinating, thought-provoking and vividly dramatic look into the heart of Aztec society.
Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans - Alan Riding, is an excellent guide to understanding modern Mexico and its love-hate relationship with the United States.
So Far So God: A Journey to Central America - Patrick Marnham. A vivid account of a trip from California, through Mexico to the badlands of Central America. The title comes from the saying 'Poor Mexico! So far from God, so close to the United States.' 
Like Water For Chocolate - Laura Esquivel. This book created a huge interest in things Mexican when it was published in 1989. Set in rural Mexico at the time of the revolution, the novel manages to combine fantasy with recipes. 
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy. A poetic tale of three young latter-day cowboys riding south of the border.
European novelists have long been attracted by Mexico. Graham Greene's 1930s travelogue The Lawless Roads and his great novel The Power and the Glory; Aldous Huxley's Beyond the Mexique Bay and DH Lawrence's burdensome The Plumed Serpent, which is intent on asking all the big questions about Mexican life.
The Mango Orchard: The extraordinary true story of a family lost and found   A young Englishman who travelled in Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico, in part to trace the fascinating story of his great grandfather's adventures in Central America a century ago. There is a great twist at the end, which we won't spoil.
Of course a mandatory copy of Lonely Plant Guide is invaluable.


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