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tricepilot 03-27-2007 03:31 PM

Copper Canyon and Batopilas
After reading all the informative threads about Mexico's Copper Canyon, I decided to take my R1200GSA to Creel and Batopilas with Motodiscovery March 17 to 25 2007. I've been with them in October 2006 on their Colonial tour, and liked the format of a chase vehicle and others with whom to share the adventure.

I like to "cut to the chase", so here is the bottom line - here's my bike along the road between Creel and Batopilas:

The R1200 GSA was the largest of the 10 bikes that made the trip. The others were mostly KLRs. The smallest was a Super Sherpa (around 200cc). There were 3 1200GS's, one of which went over the side of the canyon last year, in about the only place you can do that and live. Mark wanted to come back and try it again, not because of the fall, but because they didn't make it all the way to Batopilas last time.

Here's my bike at the Pueblo Viejo cabins in Creel. Creel's elevation is around 7,600 ft. That's a camelbak that I always travel with. Inside the pannier I have a Katadyn water filter and hoses to connect to it with. Even though Motodiscovery provided water, I never like to travel without the capability of making more fresh water than I need.

Here is the famous bridge at the bottom of the canyon at the river crossing. I'm not 100% positive, but I believe the bridge as well as the town of Batopilas are in Batopilas Canyon and the descent is through Basihuare Canyon, although most would simply describe being on the road there as in Copper Canyon. Copper Canyon is actually the name given to the system of canyons that together are larger than the Grand Canyon of Arizona.

Once we were across the bridge, it wasn't too far to the sleepy, tranquil town of Batopilas. Everthing in that town is trucked in via the very same road we traversed. You meet many of these trucks in places that aren't wide enough for two vehicles.

We overnighted in Batopilas, and then climbed back out to Creel the next day. The views in the canyon are spactacular....

The Motodiscovery tour met up in El Paso on Saturday, 17 March and headed out for the border on Sunday morning. Our guide, Pancho, took us to Columbus, New Mexico for the crossing since there was a lot less traffic there than would have occured at El Paso.

Burtonridr 03-27-2007 03:47 PM

More to come?:D

tricepilot 03-27-2007 03:56 PM


I'll fill in the details shortly. FYI there was a lot to see in west Texas on the way back. Mark and I split from the group in Chihuahua, since we didn't want nor need to exit to El Paso. We decided to go on our own towards Ojinaga and Presidiio and cross there. Mark headed up to Marfa to overnight, while I took a little detour to ride River Road between Presidio and Lajitas. Here is a shot of the Rio Grande and the R1200GSA on that route:

Like I said, a few more pics and details over the next few days....

Teeds 03-27-2007 04:17 PM

Sweet, can't wait to see more.


GalacticGS 03-27-2007 05:12 PM

Great so far! Thanks for sharing...:thumb

GB 03-27-2007 05:35 PM

Beautiful... looks like Mexico off the beaten path! :thumb

Keep it comin' :lurk

tricepilot 03-28-2007 04:04 PM

By the way, this just wasn't only a pleasure trip. The Motodiscovery gang billed this as dual-sport adventure training, off-road. Ergo, they went out and found a true legend in motorcyclling, a luminary that many inmates might recognize.

Here is his photo:

Of course, that's me on the left and the legend on the right. I am a legend too, but only in my own mind. Anyone recognize who this is????

We've been asked not to post photos of the actual training sessions online, so there won't be any of those.

However, anyone who has been on the road from Creel to Batopilas knows what lurks, and thus the need for expert insights as provided by "The Man".

Or how about this one on the way to The Valley of the Monks:

As a result of all that our teacher threw at us, we were pretty zonked by the end of every day of off-road training.

Have you figured out who our "Professor" was??? Here is another shot, this time of him sitting on his Ural side-car rig (which he drove to Batopilas!):

Thats his Ural with a sidecar that he's had to ride since overcoming a serious accident. His determination and drive were as much an inspiration to us all as was the fantastic level of training he provided us all. We definitely came away far better off - and on - road riders that before we arrived in Creel.

Any guesses?

Pantah 03-28-2007 04:34 PM

Hey Tricepilot - This is a great report for me. Thanks. I am wanting to ride to Batopilas from Boston via Big Bend this June. I'll be solo and am worried about the water crossings I've seen in Copper Canyon threads. My bike is a KTM 950, which is very hard for me to pick up even under excellent conditions, let alone a riverbed.

I've been unable to get any intellegence on the roads, other then if I try to go from Creel to the other side, I'll have at least one big water crossing and maybe two. I sense in your trip, you went the southern route from Creel and rode back out the way you came. That's OK with me but I was also hoping to come out the other side of the canyons and head north into AZ.

Any suggestions are welcome. I am pretty sure your route is my best ticket because it looks like no water crossings.

tricepilot 03-28-2007 04:58 PM

Here is my 2 cents on that....

(1) There are lots of other posts by riders far more experienced than I who, I believe, did the route you are talking about. Try any of Gaspipe's threads on the Canyon. The guy is amazing.

(2) I admire your intent to do it solo - I would have too, but I enjoy the mob scene and have made many long time friends that way.

(3) There were zero what I would call challenging water crossings from Creel to Batopilas and back, to speak of. That, of course, would change during days of heavy rains. Watch the weather. I've seen photos on advrider of the same sections I crossed dry that had a bit of wave action going, but again, it's to be expected after a long wet downpour, as any rinding in canyon country is apt to provide.

(4) Water crossing aren't the only place you might, or will, drop you bike. That shouldn't deter you in the least, as there is enought traffic that will stop and help you pick up your ride.

(5) Going it alone is something I would do now that I've been through the guts of Mexico twice. I fell in love with the people, the language, and the orderlyness of things down there. In fact, in many ways I'd rather ride there than in the U.S.

Batopilas is WELL worth the effort to go find and explore!

harley1550 03-31-2007 09:09 PM

Thanks, Tricepilot. I enjoyed your posts. I ride to Big Bend, the River Road, and Presidio every year and have often thought about Copper Canyon. What percentage of the roads are dirt and is a dual sport required? Did you guys camp or stay in motels/hotels? Any more pictures and info. would be appreciated. Thanks.

judjonzz 03-31-2007 09:20 PM

Pilot, nice pics, especially of Batopilas. It is amazing how differently people see the same place, or at least how different are the pics they choose to shoot.

Pantah, you can ride out of Bato and get back to Creel with a side trip to Urique with only one river crossing, the Urique river, about 30 mi. past Batopilas. If you want to do a bigger loop out to Alamos and El Fuerte, you have to cross the Chinipas River and, if you don't want to backtrack, cross lake Huites on the ferry. Or you can ride down to Los Mochis, almost on the Sea of Cortez, and ride north from there, all on pavement if you like.

I think if I were going to ride solo down there, I would get back in the gym. Maybe falling down has become so commonplace it no longer affords a rush of adrenalin. I used to be able to pick my bikes up without much trouble, but I find as sixty approaches that sheer muscle no longer avails me; I have to try to outsmart the bike or get some help.

I still have to track down the rest of Gaspipe's Mexico accounts and read them. The guy is an awesome traveler.

Uncle Pollo 04-01-2007 02:54 AM

Hi Trace!

I met you in the hotel in El Paso.

I went through the training too and It changed completely the way I ride.

Guess who I am?

tricepilot 04-01-2007 05:31 PM

Yo Don - we shall keep your identity a secret......for now.....

Many folks wonder, what tires and tire pressure should I ride to the bottom of the canyon system.

The answer depends!


Here's what I took down the "hill"

Those are Michelin Anakees.

I initially reduced air pressure by 10 PSI when I did the short trip to the Valley of the Monks. WAYYYYYYY toooooo much let out....

When I went "down valley" i.e. into the Batopilas Canyon, I stopped at the Pemex and let out half that, or 5 PSI over what the tires read hot. PERFECT! BTW, I had about 5,000 miles on the Anakees when I launched for Mexico. When I came out of the hole - and a beautiful hole it is - I used this little baby to air up, at the same Pemex:

As I've mentioned before, I went in with Motodiscovery, an outfit out of Spring Branch, Texas, which happens to be only about 15 minutes from my house. Our fab guide was Pancho. Here he is:

Looks kind of relaxed, doesn't he. Well, do you remember the movie "City Slickers"? That's the group Pancho had. By the end of the week, here's what he looked like -

Pancho was worth his weight in gold. Great rider, great mechanic, great friend. We had several electrical problems, two tire flats, and a bunch of folks who just liked having someone point in the needed direction and go. Pancho literally took bikes apart and put them back together by the side of the road....

enduro-ince 04-01-2007 08:19 PM

Great report! Going out on a serious limb here.....Malcom Smith?

tricepilot 04-02-2007 06:30 AM

Not Smith!

Hint: His identity is revealed in other Batopilas threads started recently....

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