The Sierra Madre mountains and the Chihuahua Desert, which fall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, not only offer up stunning scenery, but plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure as well. Backpackers and hikers will find plenty to enjoy, as they walk the same path as Pancho Villa, the famed Mexican outlaw who once roamed this region as well.
British newspaper The Guardian recently sent writer Hugh Thompson to the border to explore these badlands and report back on this hidden gem for trekkers. Starting off in El Paso, Texas, and heading south, Thompason found an outdoor paradise that included a hike through Copper Canyon, a place that rivals the Grand Canyon in beauty, without the crowds.
Thompson and the rest of his group spent more than a week exploring the region, which they found to be surprisingly lush. He came to the area expecting an arrid, empty desert, but found that it was green with flora, including a variety of trees and other small plants. While descending into some of the deeper canyons, the team would pass through a different climate zone every 1000 feet, once again bringing a very unique experience from the Grand Canyon, which is mostly devoid of any type of green plants altogether.
Over the course of that week, the trekkers followed the footsteps of Pancho Villa and his band of rebels. They traveled up and down the Sierra Madre and across the desert, chasing the legend, and in the process had a unique adventure of their own. The best part is, this is one adventure that is easy to go on yourself. The region is still off the radar for most backpacker, which tanslates into open trails and miles of solitude.