- - “Cycling to Argentina”: Bikepacking the Copper Canyon

“Cycling to Argentina”: Bikepacking the Copper Canyon

words, photos, and video by Greg McCahon

The Copper Canyon seems to have a somewhat mythical reputation among bikepackers, and for good reason! It’s four times larger than the Grand Canyon, with small villages and Indigenous communities dotted throughout, connected by hundreds of miles of incredible, remote dirt roads. Bikepacking Paradise!

After a long break in Chihuahua city waiting for the summer heat to cool down and catching up on work, it was time to get back on the road and resume our journey south from Alaska. When planning our potential route, there was no question of where we’d be heading first. We’d been talking about riding through the Copper Canyon since the beginning, it had always felt like a pipe dream, but now was our shot!

Victoria grew up not too far away, visiting its viewpoints and some of more accessible tourist areas, but she’d never had the opportunity to actually descend into the canyon and explore its depths. I first discovered it watching one of Iohan Gueorguiev’s incredible documentaries riding through the area years ago, and I’ve had a dream to experience it for myself ever since.

Nothing could have prepared us for our first look over the canyon rim. The scale is truly mind-blowing and hard to comprehend at times. Getting our first sight of the small town of Urique some 6,000 feet below is something I’ll never forget, followed by the incredibly long and windy descent! Our brakes were begging for mercy by the time we made it to the bottom, which has a subtropical climate and felt quite a bit hotter than where we’d been standing an hour before at the rim.

Getting back out of the canyon is a whole other beast, but stopping to catch your breath every five minutes isn’t so bad when you have a view like that to soak in. I hope you enjoy this video documenting our adventure through the area. It was an unforgettable experience, and hopefully some of that magic comes through!

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