Copper Canyon’s Better Than the Grand Canyon: Here’s Why
Copper Canyon in Mexico (Barrancas del cobre o Cañón del cobre) is a beautiful massive expanse of natural wonder, similar to the widely known Grand Canyon in the U.S. In this post, we explore a bit of both destinations as we cover 10 reasons why Copper Canyon might just be the superior experience!
Read along as I offer you 10 reasons why paying a visit to this wonderful Latin American canyon will make your next adventure even more memorable.
The Copper Canyon and the Grand Canyon
Before we start comparing these two natural spectacles, let’s find out a bit more about both.
Location of Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon gets its name from the copper mines that exist in the region.
Copper Canyon is in the southwest of the state of Chihuahua—Mexico’s largest state—in the Tarahumara mountain chain (La Sierra Tarahumara). The entire Copper Canyon region occupies an area of 25,000 sq mi (approximately 65,000 sq km), which is almost one third of the whole state of Chihuahua.
The Canyon is 958 miles (1542 km) from Mexico City and 302 miles away (486 km) from El Paso, Texas. Here’s how to get to Copper Canyon Mexico from El Paso Texas.
Location of Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is in northwestern Arizona, 542 miles (872 km) from El Paso, Texas.
Weather of Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon has 2 types of weather. The summit of the mountain chain can get intensely cold in the winter reaching -10 ⁰F (-23 ⁰C). In the summer, the average temperature is 68 ⁰F (20⁰C). The weather at the bottom of the canyon is hotter. In the winter, the average temperature is 63 ⁰F (17 ⁰C), and in the summer it can reach 95 ⁰F (35 ⁰C).
Weather of Grand Canyon
The weather in the Grand Canyon is also different in the North Rim than in the South Rim. The winter in the South Rim has an average temperature of 32⁰F (0 ⁰C), while the summer sees an average temperature of 67 ⁰F (19 ⁰C). In the North Rim, the average temperature in the winter is 28 ⁰F (-2 ⁰C), and in the summer it’s 59 ⁰F (15 ⁰C).
PRO TIP! The best time to visit Copper Canyon in Mexico depends on your preferences. As you can see, the weather varies greatly. From scorching heat in the summer, to snow in the winter.
Here are the 10 Reasons why Copper Canyon, Mexico is better than the Grand Canyon!
1. Copper Canyon Is Bigger
This first one is a fact. The 25,000 sq. mi. of the Copper Canyon System is greater than the area of 1,902 sq. mi. (4,926 sq km) corresponding to the Grand Canyon.
The fact that Copper Canyon is much larger than the Grand Canyon implies that there are much more exciting things to see and to do, including more canyons to explore. Copper Canyon is a canyon system comprising 7 major canyons, although some sources quote that there are in fact 20.
- Copper Canyon (La barranca del cobre)
- Septentrión Canyon (La barranca de Septentrión)
- Urique Canyon (La barranca de Urique)
- Batopilas Canyon (La barranca de Batopilas)
- Peguis Canyon (La barranca de Pegüis)
- Sinforosa Canyon (La barranca de Sinforosa)
- Candameña Canyon (La barranca de Candameña)
The Grand Canyon has different parts as well, but it is pretty much divided into the North and South rims as we already mentioned.
The Grand Canyon also has a difference in altitude of around 4,900 ft (1,500 m). Copper Canyon has a difference in altitude of 5,900 ft (1,800 m), which means you can have more changes in weather in Copper Canyon than in the Grand Canyon.
2. Copper Canyon Has Fewer Visitors
In a time where everyone must wear a mask and respect social distance because of the COVID pandemic, at least one upside is that less people equals better adventures. Hotels and tourist attractions tend to be more accessible, and it is easier to get a reservation.
The Grand Canyon receives around 4.5 million visitors a year. In order to get a hotel nearby you usually need to make a reservation months in advance.
In contrast, in 2019, personnel and Mexican Authorities were hoping to receive 130 thousand visitors, hotels around Copper Canyon don’t tend to be that full.
3. There Are Cooler Spots at Copper Canyon
The Grand Canyon does offer impressive views and has astonishing landscapes, but that doesn’t mean that Copper Canyon doesn’t. What Copper Canyon does have and the Grand Canyon doesn’t, however, is a large and varied vegetation that gives the Mexican canyon a beautiful tone to shuffle with the seasons. This allows you to find diverse sceneries throughout the year.
When travelling in spring you’ll be able to see vastly different species of trees and bushes—around 800 different types. The weather, since not too hot or too cold, allows for gorgeous occasional showers over the canyon.
In autumn, Copper Canyon’s flora makes for all sorts of beautiful tones since some trees don’t lose their leaves. The mildly cold temperatures (depending on where you are) and relatively long days of the autumn season make visiting Copper Canyon marvelous, besides its great attractions such as vineyards.
In the winter, with some luck, you’ll see snow blankets covering the beautiful and charming towns near Copper Canyon. Especially those close to the summit of the mountains, such as Creel, Chihuahua. Spending Christmas or New Year’s at Copper Canyon doesn’t sound like a bad idea, does it?
4. You Can Ride a Train at Copper Canyon
The Grand Canyon has a train service to explore the American Canyon that takes you from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon National Park in about three hours. It offers six different classes, with the cheapest one being 67 USD per round trip and the most expensive ones 226 USD per round trip.
Copper Canyon offers El Chepe, the only passenger train in Mexico. El Chepe offers many different options, amongst which: Chihuahua to Creel, Chihuahua to Divisadero and Divisadero to Creel (Creel and Divisadero are towns close to Copper Canyon) are the three most popular.
El Chepe covers five stations and trips among them:
- Los Mochis, Sinaloa
- El Fuerte, Sinaloa
- Bahuichivo, Chihuahua
- Divisadero, Chihuahua
- Creel, Chihuahua
The most popular and most exclusive trail—Chihuahua to Creel round trip or vice versa—costs 216 USD (4,350 Mexican Pesos), the least exclusive version costs 115 USD (2,320 Mexican Pesos). This is a six-hour train ride. The cheapest and shortest trail—Creel to Divisadero, one way—costs 32 USD (650 Mexican Pesos).
FUN FACT! Chepe is a sort of nickname in Spanish for the name José.
5. Visit Creel in Chihuahua
Creel in Mexico is the “gateway” to Copper Canyon. This is one of several Mexicans “magical towns” (pueblos mágicos). If you thought it didn’t snow in Mexico, think again, because this beautiful town receives snow sometimes during the winter. The houses and the overall town are quaint and charming. From there you can ride an ATV and check out many beautiful and natural things, such as:
- The Arareco Lake (El lago de Arareko)
- The Monks’ Valley (El valle de los monjes)
- The Mushrooms’ Valley (El valle de los hongos)
Additionally, you can find the local indigenous tribes, known as the Rarámuri, from whom you can buy many different handcrafts to take home as beautiful and unique souvenirs.
The Grand Canyon National Park doesn’t have many towns in or around it. Williams, Freedonia, and Flagstaff are some cool towns but they’re on the way to it.
FUN FACT! Creel has an English pronunciation.
6. See 3 Canyons at Once
Divisadero is yet another amazing town that makes part of Copper Canyon. Divisadero in Spanish means something like “the place to see.” This place has earned its name fairly. From here you can watch 3 of the 20 canyons that make up the Copper Canyon system:
- Copper Canyon
- Urique Canyon
- Tararecua Canyon
Here you’ll be able to see forests, rivers, and caves, and when visiting you’ll be able to eat authentic Mexican burritos! And if you get closer to Tararecua Canyon you can try some natural hot springs as well!
7. Ride a Cableway at Copper Canyon
The Grand Canyon has a skywalk. Copper Canyon in Mexico has a cableway. But not just any cableway, the third-largest cableway in the world! This cableway is 2 miles (3 km) long!
The Cableway is in El Divisadero too and it takes you to Bacajipare Meson in a cabin for 60 people, with glass floors and lots of windows to enjoy the view of the three canyons. The round trip takes around 45 minutes. However, when you get to the meson you must get off the cabin for 20 minutes where you’ll be able to wander off and explore if you’d like. If you miss your cart you don’t need to worry, because a new one comes every 30 minutes.
Here you’ll be able to hike or get a tour from a Rarámuri person, see an archeological site at the walls of the canyon and visit a community at the bottom of the canyon. If you take the first cabin, which leaves at 9 am, you’ll have 7 hours to roam and freely explore El Divisadero. The last cableway goes back at 4:30 pm. The general fee is 12.45 USD (250 Mexican Pesos).
8. Visit an Adventure Park at Copper Canyon
“Barrancas del Cobre Adventure Park, where fun, nature and culture converge” reads in the Adventure’s park website. This park opened its doors in 2010. Besides being able to ride the cableway that I previously mentioned you’ve got four more options to try out (and even 3 more if you’re travelling with kids).
- Ziprider (50 USD or 1,000 Mexican Pesos)
- Seven-Zipline Circuit (50 USD or 1,000 Mexican Pesos)
- Aerial Forest (15 USD or 300 Mexican Pesos)
- Ferrata Way (30 USD or 600 Mexican Pesos)
- Rockadrome (for kids) (2.50 USD or 50 Mexican Pesos)
- Euro Bongi (for kids) (2.50 USD or 50 Mexican Pesos)
- Mini golf (for kids) (2.50 USD or 50 Mexican Pesos)
From all these activities the Ziprider and the Seven-Zipline Circuit are the coolest! The Ziprider is the longest in the world! This is an 8,326-foot-long (2,538-meter) ride in which you’ll reach speeds between 50 mph (80kmh) and 83mph (135kmh)! The most thrilling and beautiful two-minute ride ever! Then you can ride the cable car back up. Overall this activity takes one hour.
If you feel like spending more time but the same amount of money, try the Seven-Zipline circuit. This activity takes two hours and in it you’ll ride and walk 4.6 mi (7.5 km).
9. Explore an Archeological Park at Copper Canyon
Paquimé Archeological Park is one of the many different things you can find at Copper Canyon. This is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, because it is 8 centuries old!
You can visit this museum for 3.75 USD (75 Mexican Pesos) from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and see many artifacts recuperated from the cultures that once inhabited Northern Mexico and Southern U.S. that have the name of La Gran Chichimeca.
The archeological site is especially impressive because you can see structures from the 13th century that the natives built with adobe mudbrick that are still standing today, with more than what used to be 2,000 habitable spaces.
10. Visit the Amazing Waterfalls at Copper Canyon
The Grand Canyon has 8 cool and well-known waterfalls. However, none of them are the tallest waterfall in the country.
Piedra Volada (La cascada de Piedra Volada) holds the record for Mexico’s highest waterfall, with an impressive height of 1,486 ft (453 m)! Besides that, the waterfall is of astonishing beauty.
Basaseachi waterfall (La cascada Basaseachi) is another amazing waterfall at Copper Canyon, Mexico’s third-highest waterfall at 800 ft (243 m)!
Cusárare waterfall (La cascada de Cusárare) is our last beautiful cascade at Copper Canyon. This one isn’t as tall as the other 2, it’s only 100 ft (30 m) tall, nonetheless, beautiful.
FUN FACT! Mexico’s second largest waterfall is Tulimán waterfall (La cascada de Tulimán) in Puebla. It measures 1,148 ft (350 m).
I hope you enjoyed learning about these two outstanding natural sites. It is an incontestable fact that both the Copper Canyon region in Mexico and the Grand Canyon in the neighboring United States make for remarkable travel destinations.
Learn Some Spanish Before Visiting Copper Canyon
Hopefully the Copper Canyon has not only earned your respect but your curiosity to visit! Prepare accordingly for your trip to Mexico by speaking Spanish with a certified, native Spanish-speaking instructor.
Knowing the Spanish language will not only broaden your perspective about life in more than one continent but it will also empower you to talk to more people. In the United States alone, there are approximately 53 million people who speak Spanish. The US is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. According to CNN, there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US who speak Spanish in their homes.
Sign up for a free class with one of our friendly Guatemalan teachers today!
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