Some towns just feel disappointing before you even get there. Guachochi was one of those towns, so we ditched it and headed to the nearby Sinforosa Canyon–part of the Copper Canyon network in Mexico–hoping for a camping spot.
Viewpoint camping in the Copper Canyon
The Sinforosa Canyon is one of the deepest in the entire Copper Canyon system at over 6,000 feet (1,839 meters) at it’s most dramatic point. That sure sounded better to us than dumpy Guachochi.
After about 12 miles (20 km) on a dirt road which was practically destroyed in places by the steady convoy of logging trucks, we finally reached the gate to the Sinforosa Canyon Viewpoint. The old man at the gate told us he locks it up at 5 pm and if we’re not out by then we’re in for the night. He also said our 10 pesos (about US$0.50) per person entitled us to camp at the viewpoint if we wanted to. We hurried down the final mile of dirt road to check out the canyon and the camping.
The Sinforosa Canyon seemed more jagged than the chasms and slopes we’d been seeing for the past 10 days or so as we traveled through the Sierra Madre. From where we were standing the canyon walls were even too sheer for cactus, scrub trees, or brush to cling to. This meant the underlying rock, with all it’s color, shape and striations,-was much more visible than in other parts of the Copper Canyon that we’d visited.
Here more than anywhere else, it felt like looking at the Grand Canyon as the evening light created contrast and surprisingly vibrant colors on the world of rock below us.
Opportunities to camp are not routine in Mexico and they can sometimes mean nothing more than a sort-of flat spot to pitch a tent. Out at the Sinforosa viewpoint, however, a range of flat spots had been cleared and a covered pavilion with a huge brick fireplace in the center had been constructed along with bathrooms with running water and ample trash cans.
As the sun set, we set up house in the pavilion, happy that we always travel with enough food and water for at least one night of unplanned camping so we can take advantage of opportunities just like this.
The next morning we walked a mile or so down a dirt road beyond the rim-top viewpoint and camping area. As we headed toward the spring-fed Rosalind Waterfall we discovered two more covered camping pavilions, one of which is right on the lip of a side gorge cut by the waterfall. There’s no bathroom or running water down at this pavilion, but if we had it to do over again we’d choose this stunning location.
Check out our video, below.