Copper Canyon, church near Creel © Judith Duk
The rustic logging town of Creel is a popular tourist centre for visitors to the region and is the gateway to the Copper Canyon, popular as a starting point for exploring the canyons and Tarahumara Indian country. There are several tours offered, or it is possible to hire mountain bikes and hiking equipment to explore the natural attractions nearby, such as the canyons themselves, the Basaseachic Falls, hot springs, Tarahumara villages and cave dwellings. The Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico (ChePe) train runs along the main canyon between Chihuahua and Los Mochis; the train trip takes about 15 hours, passing through dramatic scenery and several villages and is a popular way to explore the region. Another wonderful overnight excursion is a trip to the fascinating 18th-century silver mining town at the bottom of the Copper Canyon. Creel is the largest town in the canyon and offers accommodation, restaurants, Tarahumara craft shops, tours and guides. Situated high in a valley, the cool mountain air at 7,677 feet (2,340m) makes a pleasant escape from the humidity on the coast. Travellers should note, however, that there have been incidents of cartel-related violence in the vicinity of the Copper Canyon, and should take all possible safety precautions.