Scenic grandeur, casual management

Basaseachi Falls, twentieth highest in the world, the fourth highest in North America and Mexico’s highest
Basaseachi Falls, twentieth highest in the world, the fourth highest in North America

The more eastern access road into the park offers a more panoramic perspective of Basaseachi Falls . The two access roads lie only about five miles apart on a paved road. To get there, we headed north through town and turned eastward onto Highway 16, then south onto Chihuahua 330 and followed signage, turning westward into the park overlook area.

We were ready to pay the entrance fee, (10-pesos per person at the time), but there was no one available to accept it. It was a case of scenic grandeur with casual management. We found a souvenir stand with a few packaged snacks for sale and a young man who showed us some available rooms. A part-time independent guide approached us and offered to escort us on the trail to the bottom of the falls. The recommended amount of time to allow for the hike is about three hours.

We thanked him and opted for a shorter unescorted hike. He didn’t pressure. He and his dog had wood to deliver in his truck. We breathed in the clear mountain air and knew that our Copper Canyon journey had truly begun.

Basaseachi, “place of the cascade”

Log cabins provide great park access
Log cabins provide great park access

In the Tarahumara language, Basaseachi is said to mean either “place of the cascade” or “place of the coyotes.” Most of the 25 inches of yearly rain falls in summer. That makes July and August the prime months for falls viewing, but we found every view angle impressive even in drier November. We intended for our visit to Basaseachi to be our kick-off on a journey to the Copper Canyon complex. Its soaring, misty other-worldliness made it a perfect choice.

The falls reside at about 6,600 ft. elevation in Basaseachi Falls National Park, the only officially designated national park in the northern Sierra Madre. The settlement of the same name and the park are easily accessible by a well-maintained road.

Of the two access roads to the park, we approached the first one when we turned south off Highway 16 past KM 276. This leads directly into the village of Basaseachi. Along the few blocks of the main street are a handful of small places to eat and lodgings before the park entrance that leads to the top of the falls.

A log cabin at El Rincon de Basaseachi (GPS Location: N 28◦ 11’ 36.7”, W 108◦ 12’ 33.4”) provided a wood stove and plenty of much needed firewood. It included a double bed, a bathroom, kitchenette with a burner, and plenty of blankets.