The popular base camp for a Copper Canyon journey

Creel proved to be most “citified” of the communities we visited in the Copper Canyon. We found a bank where we could access cash, a number of restaurants and coffee opportunities, a laundry and even a coin operated car wash.

For our reserve-ahead lodging prior to our departure, we discovered Best Western The Lodge at Creel. The accommodations were lovely with an in-room fireplace to keep us toasty warm in spite of the icy November weather.

The dining room was cheery and the food delightful. There was even a hot tub in a common guest area.

Revolution Day entails a lively parade in Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico
Revolution Day entails a lively parade in Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

Creel, gateway to the Copper Canyon

Map from Basaseachi to Creel, the Gateway to the Copper Canyon
Map from Basaseachi to Creel, the Gateway to the Copper Canyon

The settlement of Creel lies at an elevation of 7,700 ft. in a pine forest valley. Looking like a 19th-century-logging town, Creel was named in honor of the diplomat Don Enrique Creel. The city’s railroad has made it a supply center for the Copper Canyon region and gateway to the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Some suggest that travelers depart on the Copper Train train excursion from west to east, while others prefer east to west. We solved the issue for ourselves as to which route is better by riding in both directions, with Creel as our “top” point of departure and El Fuerte as our “bottom end, turn-around” point.