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Vamonos to Mexico » Magical Towns » Creel Chihuahua: A Magical Town in the Sierra Tarahumara

Creel Chihuahua: A Magical Town in the Sierra Tarahumara

  • Joel CZ 
  • 7 min read
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Creel Chihuahua (commonly known as the Creel Station) is a Magical tourist Town nestled high in the Sierra Madre Occidental, in the municipality of Bocoyna; located about 175 km from Chihuahua city.

The territory of Creel, like many others in the Chihuahua canyons, has been inhabited since immemorial times by the Tarahumara people.

The present-day mestizo town of Creel Chihuahua was founded in 1907 as a railroad station on a Rarámuri ranchería.

Creel was for a long time the endpoint in Mexico of the old railroad that departed from Kansas City and has retained its old name of Estación Creel.

It was named in honor of the politician and businessman Enrique Creel Guilty, a figure from Chihuahua during the Porfiriato period.

Creel is a starting point for touring the attractions of the Sierra Tarahumara. The Chihuahua to the Pacific train station is in front of the town’s central square; here, you can get lodging services, food, hiking, and sports practices, such as cycling or hiking.

Main attractions in Creel Chihuahua

creel chihuahua
El Chepe train in the copper canyon – Source: wayak / shutterstock.com

Copper Canyon

This vast territory is perhaps one of the most famous, also known as Cañón del Cobre. Their most important canyons are Batopilas, Candameña, Chínipas, Oteros, Sinforosa, and Urique, although there are more.

One of the most common ways to see these canyons is through the Chihuahua to the Pacific train route, known as El Chepe; they are also accessible from Chihuahua by car through rural roads.

San Ignacio Mission

creel chihuahua
Source: eskystudio / Shutterstock.com

This 18th century Jesuit mission is located in the ejido San Ignacio de Arareko. The village that houses it is typical Tarahumara scattered in 20,000 hectares of forest, and it’s around the mission that the community gathers.

Next to it, there is a museum that exhibits 45 paintings of sacred art. It’s in the middle of impressive landscapes of rock formations such as the Valley of the Mushrooms, the Valley of the Frogs, and the Valley of the Monks. Nearby is Lake Arareko.

Basaseachi Waterfall

Its name in Rarámuri means “place of waterfalls and coyotes.” With a drop of 246 meters, it is the fifth largest waterfall in America.

This waterfall is located in a beautiful place, ideal for hiking, plus you can stop at an intermediate viewpoint called La Ventana or go down to the bottom.

With lots of flora and fauna, it is also a good place for camping or mountain biking. In summer, the landscape becomes much greener.

Candameña Canyon

Although at 1750 meters it’s not the deepest canyon, it is considered one of the most beautiful because from there you can admire the Piedra Volada and Basaseachi waterfalls.

If you like adventure, it is also a good destination since you can find the Peña del Gigante: a wall of 884 meters high that is a great challenge to climb with its classification between 5.12 and 5.13.

Arareko Lake in Creel Chihuahua

creel chihuahua
Source: Svetlana Bykova / shutterstock.com

Next to the Tarahumara ejido San Ignacio de Arareko, you will find this lake of crystalline waters. Surrounded by coniferous forests, the scenery is spectacular, making it a must-see tourist destination.

An ideal place to enjoy nature, you can rent cabins, camp, hike in the woods, and much more, with all the essential services available. In winter, temperatures drop to -20º, so try to go in summer.

Recowata hot springs

Twenty kilometers from Creel in the municipality of Urique, you will find these hot springs that maintain a pleasant temperature of 35º throughout the year, making it an ideal destination even during the region’s cold winter.

To get there, you have to walk along a road that descends the Barranca de Tararecua, where you can admire the beautiful scenery.

It can be a one-day visit, although there are also camping facilities if you prefer to stay the night.

Valley of the Monks

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Valley of the Monks – Source: stacyarturogi / shutterstock.com

This valley, also known as the Valley of the Gods, is named after the imposing vertical rocks that reach 50 meters high.

Upon arrival, you can take a guided tour to show you the different natural formations. With a spectacular view, the place makes anyone an excellent photographer, so be sure to bring your camera to capture stunning images.

Museum House of Handicrafts

With a wide variety of crafts in the region ranging from basketry, pottery, textiles, wood, leather, and much more, this museum shows elements of pre-Hispanic culture related to ethnography and folk art in its four permanent rooms.

You can also enjoy its building, a former train station built in 1956. And, of course, it has a store where you can buy local handicrafts.

Cusárare Waterfall

creel chihuahua
Source: wayak / shutterstock.com

This waterfall is considered one of the most beautiful in the Sierra Tarahumara in the middle of a pine forest.

It is also from this place that you will find one of the most impressive viewpoints of the Copper Canyon.

Whether you want to spend a day in the countryside, camp, or take your mountain bike, it is an ideal place to do so, especially in summer when it is not so cold, and the waterfall has its greatest flow.

Piedra Volada Waterfall

With a height of 453 meters, it is the largest in the country and is in eleventh place worldwide, although it dries up when it is below the level of the stream.

There is a great variety of fauna around the area, such as pumas, deer, lynx, wild boars, foxes, and others.

The place is rather cold, with an average annual temperature of 13º C, so if you go to the viewpoints, camping, hiking, horseback riding, or anything else, bring something warm.

How to get to Creel Chihuahua

The road trip from Chihuahua city to Creel is about 260 Km. and takes about 3 and a half hours, heading west to the city of Cuauhtémoc and then to the town of La Junta, which is 110 Km. from the Magical Town.

From Ciudad Juarez, the most populated city in Chihuahua, the trip is about 600 km southbound on Chihuahua 27. 

Mexico City is more than 1,700 km distance from Creel, a long stretch of about 20 hours by road, so it is best to mix plane with a car.

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