Columbus to Nuevo Casas Grandes

Approx 200km from Columbus to NCG via Carretera Federal 2 then 10 (through Ascension and Janos). Stealth camping possible – we used hills before Ascension and 20km south of Janos by turning up farm roads into the bush. Food (mini-marts and road-side stalls) – junction of road from Palomas and CF 2, Ascension and Janos. Full supermercados in NCG. Water – we’ve bought 4L bottles and decanted them as there’s no surface water. Roads – Tarmac and busy with (mostly) considerate cars and trucks. No shoulder.

Nuevo Casas Grandes to Creel

Route planning: (such as it turned out to be was done using the MapMyRide website based on Google Earth) and worked pretty well for older roads including dirt, but doesn’t take into account new ones! If you want more information including our directions get in touch. Distances: NCG to Ejido El Largo c.120km. EEL to Madera c. 80km. Madera to Creel (via Guerrero) c.220km. Surface: Paved apart from 70km along top of Sierras into EEL. Camping: Easy after climb into Sierras above Colonio Juarez and Mata Ortiz until 20km short of Madera. Thereafter open farmland limits things a lot. There are a couple of patches at the top of hills on the route, otherwise you have to head off the route towards the tree-line. Once into the trees south of Guerrero (about 40km) things improve again. Water: Surface water improves once in the Sierra and then when back on the pavement after EEL there are lots ot petrol stations to get water to filter. Food: Colonio Juarez then nothing until EEL after which there are lots of Mini-supers.

Creel to Uriqué

Road – all signed to Urique, so no navigation problems apart from an unsigned left turn just before the village of Mesa de Arturo. Paved until 6km beyond San Raphael after which it’s a mixture of good packed dirt and soft fine dust (often when traction is most needed). Distances – Creel to Devisadoro 44km, D to San Raphael 11km, SR to Bahuichivo 40km, B to Urique 54km. Camping – only limited by a lack of flat land; and the very fancy looking fence stopping animals straying onto the new road after SR. Water – occasional springs and from villages. Food – easy.

Urique to Samachique:

Ford river (obvious) at Guapalina (c.6km downriver from Urique) and climb on sketchy surfaces for 22km with some respite from 5-10km. Thereafter the route follows an obvious dirt road along the ridgelines before plunging down to Cororeachi (about 50km from the river crossing) with an Abarottes (general store). After Cororeachi the dirt road climbs steadily up the river valley before rising steeply out of it and on to Samachique. Apart from the initial 100m away from the ford it’s mostly rideable, but this will depend intensely on your mental and physical fortitude. We used Schwalbe Marathon XR tyres and reckon that anything with less tread would increase the amount of off-the-bike time. Camping plentiful but flat enough surfaces limited until 20km-ish. Water from river at ford, school at 6km (from ford) and village at 25km (very ish) before following river up out of Cororeachi. Food in Urique, Guapalina, Cororeachi and Samachique. The climb out of the canyon is the worst part, but it doesn’t let up a lot even after that.

Samachique to Balleza: via Guacochi.

Paved with regular villages for food/water. Camping is no problem, though the last 10km into Balleza doesn’t have much.

Balleza to El Vergel

Navigation easy once on the right road, water also fine, but camping limited. Food from Balleza and general stores shortly after turning onto EV road.

El Vergel to Guanacevi

145km including 20km pavement beyond EV. Water from streams, farms and the odd spring. Food from EV, but a general store in village 30km before G. Surface varied from nice packed dirt to soft, deep stone-dust often on the steepest hilly bits. Camping easy – aim for ridges as valleys very cold at night.

Guanacevi to Tepehuanes – 90km paved. Camping and water opportunities more sparse. Road quite hilly.

Durango to Zacatecas

route – Durango-La Constancia-Nombre de Dios-Vincene Guerrero-Suchil-Gualterio-Mesillas-Franciso I Madero-Matias Ramos-Santa Rosa-Ermita de los Correas-La Ordena-Nueva Australia (not on any maps)-El Maguey-Zacatecas. A mixture of dirt road and pavement with some highway out of Durango (45km) and into Zacatecas. Camping and water – Limited until after Vincente Guerrero, then fine until Francisco I Madero. Limited from there until coming off the highway towards Santa Rosa due to farmland. Water from villages and some streams.

Zacatecas to San Luis de la Paz

Route: Zacatecas – Guadelope – south via Mex 45D/Zac 118 – Ojo Caliente – Loreto – Pedregroso – El Negromente – El Obraje – San Martin – Mezquetal – San Francisco – Bledos – Villa de Reyes – Ojo Caliente – Santa Maria del Rio – Mex 57 for 15km – Tierra Nueva – Jofre – San Luis de la Paz Water and food: villages and a fair amount of surface water.

Details of the section at http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/26598960

San Luis de la Paz to Mineral el Chico

Route: San Luis de la Paz – Cañada de Moreno – Cienguila – Victoria – Santa Caterina – San Miguel Palmas – Peñamiller – Camarco – Pinal de Amoles – Ahuacatlán de Guadalupe – Jalpan de Serra – Tancama – Landa de Matamoros – La Vuelta – El Lobo – Agua Zarca – Pisaflores – Santa Ana – Cerro Preito – El Naranjo – Tlahuitepa – Acapa – Santa Maria – Juárez Hidalgo – Eloxochitlán – Hualula – El Pedregal – Metztitlán (via lesser road) – Buena Vista (little village 1-2km before right turn onto Mex105) – Atotonilco el grande – Mineral del Chico. Camping: relatively sparse with availability determined by amount of flat ground and this being in short supply for large portions of this section.

Mineral el Chico to Teotitlan de Flores Magón

Route: Mineral del Chico – Puebla nueva – Mineral del Monte (confusingly called Real del Monte by all apart from the map) – Tezoantla – El Nopalillo – Epazoyucan – Santa Monica – Santa Maria Tecajete – Tepeapulco – Apan – Octotepec de Morelos – San Jose Cumantzingo – Munoz Morelos – Apizaco – Teacalco – San Juan Ixtenco – Nopaluca – Acatzingo – San Simon – Quecholac – Tochapan – Yaltepec – Palmar – Canada Morelos – Azumbilla – Nicolas Bravo – Santa Catarina Oxolotepec – San Antonio Canada – Altepexi (bypassed) – Calpan – Coxocatlan – Teotitlan de Flores Magon.

No particular problems with food, water etc, but camping sometimes limited by vast swathes of open farmland


  1. Hi Sarah and Tom,
    Thanks for the route notes on Mexico, they were very helpful. The blog entries are inspiring and it’s interesting to read about your experiences on stretches I’ve also cycled. Btw., I picked up Giardiasis on the GDMBR too.

    • Fredy

      I’m glad they were of use – if you have any suggestions for modifications, particularly to the more detailed route notes, I’d love to hear from you. The roads (particularly the dirt ones) have a habit of changing :-)


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