Typical Street in Batopilas
Photo Credit: California Native Adventures
Batopilas traces its roots to mining activity in the area in the 17th Century. An advanced guard of Spanish soldiers found pure polished silver on the river banks in 1632. The ore looked like pure snow and they established a mine and called it Mina Nevada. Nearby, they founded the town of San Pedro de Batopilas.
As its importance as a mining center grew, Batopilas became a stop along a branch of the historic Camino Real and brought with it the attendant settlement agenda of missionaries and colonizers.
By the mid-19th Century, over 300 mining claims were filed in the area around Batopilas all with varying degrees of success. In 1880, an enterprising norteamericano named Alexander Shepherd bought La Veta Grande for $600,000 from another norteamericano named John Robinson. He then filed another 300+ claims and incorporated what were then very modern mining and foundry techniques. This enterprise evolved as The Batopilas Mining Company and Batopilas became one of the wealthiest locations in all of Mexico.
Because of its varied topography and impressive scenery, the area is a very popular hiking location. The principal buildings standing today in the town area - some overgrown with fruit trees and brambles - date back to the heyday of the Batopilas Mining Company.
Though relatively close to the Copper Canyon railway route from Creel, Chihuahua to Los Mochis, Sinaloa on the Gulf of Cortes, Batopilas is accessible by a very scenic partially paved road. Buses between Creel and Batopilas operate three times a week in each direction and take five to six hours to cover the 85 mile trip.