Silver Trail

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Silver Trail
Mexico

The Silver Trail is a route in Mexico, once used to take supplies to and from the silver mining village of Batopilas.

This area is also known as The Copper Canyon, and is made up of six deep canyons cut out by glaciers.

At 103 kilometres long, running from Carichic to Batopilas, this stunning hike presents a challenge to hikers who want to complete the length over multi-day hikes.

This stunning landscape is great if you enjoy hiking and climbing. While you won’t need climbing gear for this trek, you may occasionally need to scramble over rocks.

Highlights
  • Canyon trekking
  • Forests
  • Pools
  • Caves
  • Mexican wilderness
  • Small villages
About the route

In the 18th century, the Spanish created this route to from Carichic to Batopilas canyon where silver mines were located. Along the route, several ‘way-stations’ were constructed to allow travellers and workers to rest on their journey.

Mule trains would carry silver from the mines and along the trail, where it could be banked in the city of Chihuahua. Carichic is an old stagecoach post along the old route, and now marks one trailhead.

To this day, information about The Silver Trail is sparse. In 2004 the re-finding and mapping of the lost trail was an effort made by Chihuahua State Board of Tourism and several Mexican and US guides.

In modern times, this is a fairly remote area. Other than the odd hikers, the only people you may see are local Tarahumara Indian farmers, also called Rarámuri.

  • Travel

Chihuahua is the nearest major town to the trailhead at Carichic. Public transport is available to Carichic as well as other places in The Copper Canyon.

The nearest international airport is at Chihuaha. There is a smaller airport with domestic flights at Los Mochis. From there public transport options are buses and taxis.

You can also get a bus from Creel to Batopilas, which takes around five hours.

The El Chepe train runs through The Copper Canyon. It has first class and second class options. The second class train makes more stops.

  • Length

The Silver Trail is 103 kilometres, from Carichic to Batopilas. The original route that continued to Chihuahua would have been longer.

  • Grade and difficulty of the walk

The Silver Trail is graded at 4, and can be challenging at times.

The temperatures can get very hot. The paths are not always firm underfoot, there are some areas of loose scree.

If you are with a guide, you won’t need navigational skills. However, it is always best to be as skilled as you can be when trekking in remote areas.

  • Experience

This trail is remote, Mexican back-country. As such, having plenty of hiking experience is advisable. There is one part that require three days of hiking before being able to reach any supplies.

This trail has only had little use over the last hundred years, so much of it is rough and unclear.

You will need to be fit enough to climb up and down the sides of the canyon, carrying a backpack. Some tour services may use donkeys to help carry supplies.

  • Permits

You do not need a permit to hike The Silver Trail.

  • Guided or Self-Guided

It is recommended that you take a guided hike in this region.

The route is not clearly marked, and the area is known for drug cartels. If you lose your way in this area, you could wander into unfriendly territory.

best time to walk

The weather in this part of Mexico can be very hot in summer, so it is best to avoid the canyon trail during this season.

Spring, autumn and winter are better, with the best temperatures for hiking being in the spring and autumn.

Spring is February to May. While the temperatures have yet to soar, it can be quite windy.

Summer is from June to August. The temperatures rise, and it can get extremely hot as the sunshine radiates off the rocks. It is also rainy season. This creates very humid conditions for hiking.

Autumn is from September to October. The temperatures are still warm, but not as extreme as the summer.

Winter is from November to January. Temperatures are much cooler, and there may be ice and snow.

  • A typical itinerary

There is no typical itinerary for this nine day hike.

It would depend on the preferences of your guide, and the location of suitable places to camp.

You should expect to cover around 18 kilometres per day, however some days will be shorter or longer depending on the terrain and camping areas.

Accommodation

Accommodation is limited along the route. Most places to camp are near to the old way stations. There are a few campsites that guided tour services use.

In Batopilas, you may be able to rent a room from locals. There is one guesthouse, but this is usually booked as part of a guided hike tour or the area.

What to do

Admire the stunning landscape of The Copper Canyon. This awe-inspiring scenery is home to high waterfalls, lush forests and natural caves.

Look out for wildlife, including many species of bird.

Spend some time at the ruins of the old stage station a Carichic, where the mule trains swapped silver and took supplies back to Batopilas.

Take a dip in the hot springs along the Rio Agua Caliente.

Get to know some of the local Rarámuri. These friendly people are welcoming, although seeing people from other cultures is still a new experience for many of them.

Take in the sights of Batopilas, such as the old mining headquarters. The local people are friendly and welcoming.

Explore other areas of The Copper Canyon by the El Chepe train.

If you enjoy climbing as well as hiking, The Copper Canyon offers plenty of opportunities to use your skills on some sheer rock faces.

At a glance
Skills RequiredHiking, Walking
Difficulty 4/5
Starts at Carichí, Chihuahua, Mexico
Finishes at Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico
Length of route 103 Km
Average time to complete 9 - 10 Days
Possible to complete sub-sectionsNo
Permit requiredNo
Equipment neededPoles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots
Countries visited Mexico
Walk Map