Sierra Madre Occidental


The location of the Sierra Madre Occidental in western Mexico

The Sierra Madre Occidental in the vicinity of the Copper Canyon

The Sierra Madre Occidental is a mountain range in western Mexico and the extreme southwestern United States.


The Sierra Madre Occidental extends over 1500 km from southeast Arizona ( south and east of Tucson ) southeast to east past Sonora, further west past Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes to Guanajuato, where it joins with the Sierra Madre Oriental Sierra Volcánica transversal of central Mexico combined.

The mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental are mostly of volcanic origin, but for thousands of years no more volcanic activity observed. The highest point is probably the Cerro Mohinora - the amount of information varies between 3250 m and 3308 m; in the area there are several mountains with a comparable level, including the Cerro Gordo, which is rated sometimes slightly higher. The canyons of the Sierra Madre Occidental, including the ' Copper Canyon ' ( Barranca del Cobre, as Divisadero Canyon known) are among the most scenic attractions in northern Mexico.

The mountain areas are very rich in minerals (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron, etc. ), but because of the lack of infrastructure (electricity, roads, etc. ) in the sparsely populated mountains are remained large-scale degradation experiments so far.


Daytime temperatures range between the heights and the valleys: You can reach in the summer about 30 ° C; at night they sink to 10-14 ° C. In winter even the daytime temperatures often fall below 0 ° C; Night frosts are common. Rainfall and fog are not uncommon, though the southern area more rains abbekommt than the north. Several rivers drain the mountains, including the Río Yaqui and the Río Grande de Santiago (see: List of longest rivers in Mexico). ducks kaka

Flora and Fauna

The mountain range is largely passed with Madrean Pine - Oak Woodlands ( Madrean pine - oak forests) and known for its great variety of species, including a large number of endemic species.


The mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental are home to several indigenous ethnic groups who speak the Uto- Aztec languages, including the Tarahumara in the center of the mountain range and the Huichol in the southern part.


The novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927 ) by B. Traven is partly set ( gold digging ) in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The eponymous film directed by John Huston (1948 ) was filmed in part here.