My tip for a great train journey is the Chepe from Los Mochis to Creel in Mexico, commonly known as the Copper Canyon Railroad.
The journey starts at around 06:00 from Los Mochis on the Pacific coast and over the course of the next nine and a half hours travels 300km and winds from sea level to an altitude of around 2400 metres to the old logging town of Creel, Chihuahua.
The journey begins travelling through scrub and desert before moving into lush greenery, mountainous backdrops and eventually, the canyon itself. The Copper Canyon, a huge network of canyons which in total dwarf their more famous neighbour in the USA, the Grand Canyon, (which would fit inside it). The journey crosses over 40 bridges with huge drops on either side and climbs the canyon by traversing the steep sides, the train switching back on itself numerous times to climb to the top. As the altitude changes so does the vegetation, from the tropical plants on the canyon floor to the fir forests at the top.
The highlight of the journey is a brief stop at Divisidero, a spot allowing 100 mile views across the canyon. The canyon can be seen to fall away beneath your feet and the spectacular colours and variety of flora can be appreciated from this spot.
The train does carry on to Chihuahua but the journey demands a stop in Creel, a town that has more than a little of Twin Peaks in the air. While the town itself is unremarkable, the rock formations, waterfalls and hot springs that can be accessed from it, on foot, mountain bike or 4x4 are stunning and it is well worth spending some time here. From Creel a bus can be taken that shadows the train line to Chihuahua city but reaches its destination quicker (5 hours), and has a more regular service.
The tickets come in first class and economy. The first class train has comfortable seats, a bar and a dining car, it is also possible to open the windows between carriages to appreciate the scenery first hand. A first class ticket one way train costs around £50, the economy train leaves later and takes longer but is cheaper. Aero California fly to Los Mochis and from Chihuahua from Mexico City, the journey is better taken from the coast as from Chihuahua the best of the scenery may be hidden by darkness. Casa Margerita's Plaza Mexicana offers basic half board accommodation from around £30 per room per night.
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