Day 41: Copper Canyon

Day: 41 - 4OCT13
Creel to Batopilas, MX - 86 Miles


Holy shit.. What a day this would be!

The months prior to the start of the this trip I have been reading/researching places that I wanted to see on the way South and Copper Canyon, Mexico was one of the places that was consistently recommended. I had some notion in my head that it would be a good ride but I was completely blown away by this place! Awesome twisty pavement to start off and then one helluva dirt road along the mountainside down into the canyon, all with amazing views along the way.

Before leaving Creel this morning, we headed into town to grab breakfast, load up on more pesos and John wanted to find a Creel sticker for his pannier. We ended up driving around the town for nearly an hour, so we got a bit of a later start than normal.

South from Creel the road is paved for nearly 100km before the dirt starts. It’s another great Mexican road in the Sierra Madre with lots of twisties and fantastic views as you work your way to the canyon lands.

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The road to Batopilas is actually closed from the North and supposedly the only way there is from the South via a road from Guachochi. This is a significant (1-2 day ride) detour and misses much of the awesome mountain roads that Copper Canyon is famed for. We had asked around in Creel for info on the road but received widely varied answers.. we decided to go find out for ourselves if the road was actually open.

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“To Batopilas, Road Closed”
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The section under major repair. Doesn’t look too bad..
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..except a large rock slide with excavator working in the middle of the road
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That ‘road’ in the top right of the photo is where we wanted to get to.. over a mile down into the canyon

We stood around at the top where the road officially closed wondering what we should do.. Go back the way we came and detour to Guachochi to try the South road into Batopilas? Skip Copper Canyon all together? Nope, we decided to ride down the closed road and ask if we could go ahead anyways. One of the replies we received in Creel was that the road was only closed from 6am to 6pm and that it would be open at night. It was only 1pm but we figured we try anyways since it was a Friday and maybe the workers might get off early. So off we road down the mountain. We stopped at the construction site office and asked the El Jefe if we could ride past the construction site and on down the road. To our surprise he said “yes, right now!” Ok then! So off we went down to the rockslide area. Since the boss said we could continue, we figured the rockslide area had been cleared.. Once we got there we saw otherwise..

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From the construction site office, looking back up where we came from
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Minor issue..

So we get down to the rockslide area and ask the road crew (who aren’t actually working, just hanging out in the shade of a dump truck) if the road is going to be back open at 6pm or maybe earlier. I think they said “yes, 6pm” but we somehow managed to convince them to make a small path for us through the rockslide area so we can get by now. Sweet! We decided it was best to unload the panniers and ride/walk the bikes through the rocky section. All the while there’s a bunch of jackhammering going on right above us and there are rocks coming down the mountainside above us.. let’s get this show on the road and the hell outta here before we end up in a rockslide ourselves.

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These guys are gnarly tough
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Path cleared!
Success!
Success! All 3 bikes past with no drama
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Where we could now ride to.. what other surprises are around the corner?

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We get a few kilometers down the road and come across another construction site with the road temporarily closed. No problem, it’ll be back open in a few minutes after they clear some more rockslide areas..

Mex_04Oct13_023This section of road was just bulldozed and it’s really soft and rocky. I ended up taking a dirt nap after losing my line..

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Road closed again as a bulldozer above plows rocks down below

With the last of the of the construction sites bypassed, we have relatively smooth ride down into the canyon for another 30 kilometers to Batoplias.

Awesome road! Lots of pics:

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Shortly after the tiny town (if you could call 3-4 houses a town) of La Bufa, there is a random section of recently paved road in the middle of this canyon. I assume they are working towards paving everything to this area but why start in the middle of the canyon?

 

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La Bufa
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Amazing views
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“Caution: Dangerous Curve”…. yepp, I’d say so..

Back on the the dirt for the last ~10km to Batopilas.

Steep hills!

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Steep downhill descent with a sharp curve and 1000ft drop over the edge.. yep, that’ll pucker ya up.

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Mex_04Oct13_038Batopilas is a narrow town at the bottom of the canyon along a river with about 1200 people living here.

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We arrive into Batopilas around 5pm and are completely exhausted from the days riding. We find Hotel Juanitas which I have heard good things about.

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Me: “Do you have secure parking for our motos?”

Juanita: “Yes, just ride them through the living room and into the courtyard..”

Me: 😕 …. well.. okay then!Mex_04Oct13_042Mex_04Oct13_043After getting the bikes settled, we shower and hangout drinking some beer before going out into town in search of dinner. We walk around the town looking for an open restaurant before finally asking a local lady for someplace good to eat. She brings us to her friends restaurant/house where we are served a legit home cooked Mexican dinner. 😛

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Homemade guac and still sizzling hot chips. So damn good!

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All together, this has probably been the most amazing motorcycling and travel day to date. Gonna be hard to top this one..

 

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