where people can have
a profoundly intimate experience falling in love with nature
so they will make the correct decisions
for the Earth’s future.
By providing first class lodgings in remote locations to attract the broadest spectrum of people…
Where they may touch and be touched by unmodified and unpackaged nature…
Where they may feel free to build a fire or take a pee
Where they see as the Tarahumara Indians do that humans are a natural part of the earth..
Where in a spirit of joy and fun they may come to know
The Truth of the Wilderness
We belong here
Preserving the Copper Canyon for the Future
Skip McWilliams wanted to help preserve this wilderness. “This is God’s country, but this free will thing of His could be a problem for the wild places, says Skip. The best way to preserve things of the natural world is let people have their own personal experiences with nature rather than preaching preservation.
“More people need to experience these places so they will fall in love with them, and support the right decisions.”
True, there are people who like to sleep in the open, but there are many many more who are game to bust their butts in the day and retire at night to a cold drink, comfortable bed and a good hot shower. So was born the idea of the Copper Canyon Lodges. “Simple Luxury in wild places”
Batopilas town was the ideal place to start. It is truly a place lost in time right smack dab in the middle of the largest least explored canyon complex in the world. By 1989, the first road ever had finally penetrated the canyon depths and the ancient Bigler house was available. Skip jumped at the chance. Still no electricity, he found 92 local craftsmen, one from virtually every family in town, to raise up the block long mansion to its Victorian glory. Teofilo Martinez walked up the river until he found just the right clay, dug 4 holes with his machete cut and placed 4 posts for a crude table and set up to make the roof tiles for the Lodge. He fired them for 3 nights in heaps of mesquite branches. So it was with the Tarahumara who carried the beams on their shoulders from the high forests, the burrow trains that went into the hills to find tableta for the ceilings, and the brick kilns set up by the river. For 3 years the work went on, Skip drawing at night by candle and the masons carrying out the drawings the next day.
The result is the remarkable Copper Canyon Riverside Lodge.
To ensure continuity of his dream, Skip sold the enterprise to Hoteles Sierra Madre S.A. de C.V. a Mexican corporation, whose directors share his vision. The business takes seriously the commitment to employ local people, purchase local supplies and reinvest earnings in the immediate area.
We are a small group of people who enjoy getting off the beaten path, and who believe that half the fun is getting there. We seriously love driving and hiking in remote Mexican canyons, and meeting interesting folks in town and along the way. It’s a world apart, a land that time forgot.
We’ve been here since 1984 and have an intimate knowledge of the hundreds of miles of back roads and trails of the Copper Canyon. We’ve been featured in 73 publications including Esquire, Audubon, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Backpacker, Mexico Desconocido and National Geographic Traveler.
The website is designed to share our stories, our pictures, and practical information about the Copper Canyon and to the silver town of Batopilas.
The two small hacienda lodges mentioned in this website were founded by Skip McWilliams, who wanted to create unique accommodations that fit in with the landscape. The Riverside Lodge is a fabulously restored hacienda from a bygone era. Martin Alcaraz together with Lynne Clancy, restored the Riverside Lodge, oversees the operation of the Copper Canyon Riverside Lodge and Real de Minas and lives in Batopilas. The hotels are now owned and operated by Hoteles Sierra Madre S.A. de C.V., a Mexican Corporation in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Republic of Mexico. Skip McWilliams however still frequently visits as a guest.
Martin Alcaraz is the manager at both the Riverside Lodge and Real de Minas in Batopilas. He is lively, fun, and is a gracious host. He is ever-present at both hotels and magically appears when assistance is needed! Martin has been affiliated with the Copper Canyon Lodges from the beginning.