Chihuahua is Mexico’s largest state and currently, due to the ongoing drug wars, one of its most maligned. The state is also home to Mexico’s canyon country and while the Copper Canyon is the best known ,the region boasts many other fantastic, less-visited canyon experiences.
Barranca de Urique (Urique Canyon) is the deepest of all the canyons and also perhaps the wildest. From the small town of Cerocahui I hitched a ride to the Cerro del Gallego lookout, which offers superb open vistas across the landscape and to the depths of the canyon. The appearance of the river at the bottom of the canyon is reduced to a mere distant trickle.
From there I set out on foot, with my pack on my back to tackle the 14 kilometres down a dusty windy road with precipitous drops to the small village of Urique. Agile mountain goats, circling birds of prey and magnificent views at every turn accompanied me.
Just over an hour into the hike I was able to flag down a ride for the last stretch into town. Perched upon cans of sardines on the back of a police pickup, wind whistling through my dusty hair I leaned back in awe of the surrounds. Finally we made it to Urique after the hairy but spectacular ride. I quickly found a place to stay, dropped off my pack, downed a refreshing beer and dived into the cool clear water of the Urique river. Refreshed I sat on the rocky river bank and stared up at the canyon rim from where I had descended and sighed deeply in awe again – AAHHH, URIQUE!
* MY TIP
After a swim in the river and a few refreshing drinks, eat at the small open air restaurant on the main street. Urique is tiny, you’ll find it. Sit at the counter and chat with the friendly señora and watch as she makes fresh hand made flour tortillas and other northern Mexican specialties.