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Creel

The train of dreams

In the foothills of the imposing Sierra Tarahumara, where the train ends, close to 2,400 meters above sea level, is the town of Creel; named in honor of the former Governor of Chihuahua, Enrique Clay Ramón Creel, a politician and entrepreneur who was instrumental in the history of mining and railroad development in the region during the Porfirio Diaz era.

Speaking a bit about its history, we can say that the cultures that settled here date from 1,500 years ago. It was the Paleo culture, the first. Then, upon the arrival of the Spaniards, the first explorations were made in the mountains, generally by the evangelizing missionaries.

It is believed that the first Europeans to arrive here were those who integrated the exploration of Francisco de Ibarra in 1565. They sought, above all, veins of precious metals. When they arrived, the Temoris, Guazapares, Chinipas, Taraumaras or Rarámuris, Pimas and Varohíos coexisted in the Sierra Tarahumara. Currently, only the last three prevail.

The conditions of accessibility made it difficult to populate the area, for a long time around here there were only missions. Creel, as a people, has few stories. It was not until the time of the Porfiriato, when the creation of the railroad was promoted, that the need for wood to build the rails forces the exploitation of the forests. At the end of the 19th century, the town was founded in what was once a small rancheria, known to the Rarámuris as Nariachi.

Finally, on November 24, 1961, President Adolfo López Mateos officially inaugurated in Creel what was a yearning and effort of construction for more than 50 years: the Chihuahua Railroad to the Pacific, a marvel of the Mexican engineering that united the northeast of country with its Pacific coast.

In the surroundings of Creel, you can visit the Tarahumara communities of San Ignacio Arareko, where is the Mission of San Ignacio, the cultural heart of the Tarahumara; and the Arareko Valley, where there are incredible rock formations. The Valley of the Monks and the Valley of the Fungi are equally majestic. To finish this tour, we recommend the lake of Arareko.

You should not miss the Cusárare Mission, built in 1733, and very close to the Cusárare waterfall, framed by a forest of dreamy pines.

Of course, you can also stay in the town and explore the streets and the Plaza de Armas, without forgetting the Museum of Crafts.

To conclude, the Christ of the Mountain is a viewpoint where you can contemplate the entire town and its surroundings, appreciating a perspective that even the eagles, regardless of the height of their flight, will envy.

¿Qué Visitar?

What to Visit?

  • Main Square
  • Church of Christ the King Austere temple built in the twentieth century.
  • Tarahumara Museum An ideal place to know more about the history of this ancient indigenous people.
  • Handicrafts Market
¿Qué hacer?

What to do?

  • Easter Week An outstanding festivity that is worth to see due to the ceremonies performed by the Tarahumaras.
  • Patronal Festivity of Christ the King It takes place at the end of November.
  • Festivity of Our Lady of Guadalupe Every December 12th, Creel is filled with colors, music and flavors thanks to the vivid Tarahumara ceremonies.
Comida Típica

Typical Food

  • Jerky beef
  • Caldillo with jerky beef. Dried meat served with spicy broth.
  • Blue tortillas. This color is due to the endemic corn of the Sierra, and they look as good as they taste!
¿Qué Saber?

What to Know?

  • The local train station was inaugurated in 1907, and the town received then also its current name, which stands after the Governor of Chihuahua, Enrique Creel.
  • Creel is considered the main entrance to the majestic Copper Canyon.

Popular Craft

  • Basket-making
  • Carved wood
  • Pottery
  • Woolen clothing and handicrafts
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