Basaseachic Falls National Park

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Basaseachic Falls National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Cascada Basaseachi.jpg
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Location Ocampo Municipality, Chihuahua, Mexico
Nearest city Ocampo, Chihuahua
Coordinates 28°07′59″N108°15′00″W / 28.13306°N 108.25000°W / 28.13306; -108.25000 Coordinates: 28°07′59″N108°15′00″W / 28.13306°N 108.25000°W / 28.13306; -108.25000
Area5,803 hectares (14,340 acres)
EstablishedFebruary 2, 1981 [1]
Governing body Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources

Basaseachic Falls National Park is a national park located in the western side of the state of Chihuahua in the heart of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. The park is named after Basaseachic Falls (Cascada de Basaseachic) the second tallest waterfall in Mexico with a height of 246 meters (853 ft). Basaseachic Falls empties into Candameña Canyon (Barranca de Candameña) which was carved by the Basaseachic River over millions of years. The park is known for its pine-oak forest, rock formations, and scenic views from high cliffs. Cliffs in the park reach an impressive height of 1,640 meters (5,380 ft).

Chihuahua (state) State of Mexico

Chihuahua, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chihuahua, is one of the 31 states of Mexico. It is located in Northwestern Mexico and is bordered by the states of Sonora to the west, Sinaloa to the southwest, Durango to the south, and Coahuila to the east. To the north and northeast, it has a long border with the U.S. adjacent to the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. Its capital city is Chihuahua City.

Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range

The Sierra Madre Occidental is a major mountain range system of the North American Cordillera, that runs northwest–southeast through northwestern and western Mexico, and along the Gulf of California. The Sierra Madre is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western 'backbone' of North America, Central America, South America and West Antarctica.



Basaseachic Falls were discovered by Europeans sometime in the 18th century, becoming one of the most popular tourist attraction of the state of Chihuahua. The area of the present-day national park was inhabited by Tarahumara prior to the Spanish Colonial period. The etymology of the name "Basaseachic" originates from the Tarahumara language, Rarámuri meaning "place of the waterfall". [2]

Rarámuri Native American people

The Rarámuri or Tarahumara are a group of indigenous people of the Americas living in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. They are renowned for their long-distance running ability.

The first known European settlement in the area was Misión de Tomochi near the town of Cajurichi which was under the legal jurisdiction of the mission. After the 18th century, the area attracted many settlers because of the discovery of abundant natural resources like minerals and high-quality wood.

Basaseachic Falls National Park was created by the Mexican federal government on February 2, 1981, by decree under president Jose Lopez Portillo. The park was defined to 5,803 hectares (14,340 acres) in the Sierra Madre Occidental along the surrounding area of the Basaseachic Falls and Barranca de Candameña. [2]

Basaseachic Falls waterfall

Basaseachic Falls on the Basaseachic River is the second-highest waterfall in Mexico, located in the Parque Nacional Basaseachic at Cañon Basaseachic in the Copper Canyon region of northwest Mexico, near Creel, Chihuahua. It is 246 meters (807 ft) tall, second in Mexico only to the Cascada de Piedra Volada.


The park is located in the subdivision of the Sierra Madre Occidental known as Sierra Tarahumara, near the municipality of Ocampo, Chihuahua. The dramatic topology was created by deep tectonic plate movements causing large fractures and rising rifts. The violent movement of the terrain resulted in deep canyons and high mountains. The present-day topology has been changed over thousands of years by wind erosion and the Basaseachic River.

Ocampo, Chihuahua City in Chihuahua, Mexico

Melchor Ocampo, more commonly simply Ocampo is a town and seat of the municipality of Ocampo, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. As of 2010, the town had a population of 527.

The vertically pronounced walls of the Candameña Canyon can reach a height of 1,640 meters (5,380 ft); Candameña Canyon is known as one of the deepest canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara. The park includes two rivers: Duraznos River and Basaseachic River; both rivers feed into Basaseachic Falls that empties into the Candameña Canyon finally ending in the Candameña River. [2]


Winter snowfall in the Sierra Madre Occidental Basaseachic Falls National Park in the winter.jpg
Winter snowfall in the Sierra Madre Occidental
Copper Canyon Barranca del cobre 2.jpg
Copper Canyon

The climate in the park changes depending on the elevation of the terrain. There are many microclimates in the park due to the different terrain. According to Köppen climate classification the following climates occur in the park.

Köppen climate classification widely used climate classification system

The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by the Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.

Flora and fauna

Chihuahua White Pine in the Sierra Madre Occidental during the winter. Miviajeachihuahua.JPG
Chihuahua White Pine in the Sierra Madre Occidental during the winter.

The park has a great diversity in flora found in Northern Mexico. One of the factors that allows the park to have such a great variety of flora is due to the large number of microclimates found in the park due to dramatic terrain. The flora in the park like that found throughout the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range varies with elevation. Pine ( Pinus ) and oak ( Quercus ) species are usually found at an elevation of 2,000 meters (6,560 ft) above sea level. The park contains 92 species of conifers and 76 species of oaks. A large number of flora species in the following genus are observed in the park: Pinus, Quercus, Ficus, Vachellia, Ipomoea, Acacia, Lysiloma, Bursera, Vitex, Tabebuia, Sideroxylon, Cordia, Fouquieria, Pithecellobium . [3]

The park also supports a large variety of fauna including a significant number of mammals, reptiles and birds. The mammals that can be found in the park include: Mexican fox squirrel (Sciurus nayaritensis), antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni), raccoon (Procyon lotor), hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura), wild boar (Sus scrofa), collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), cougar (Puma concolor). The three main species of reptiles found in the park are: Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum), rock rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus), black-tail rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus).

There is a great variety of birds observed in the park including: Mexican jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina), Steller's jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), canyon towhee (Pipilo fuscus), mourning dove (Zenaida macroura), broad-billed hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris), Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae), mountain trogon (Trogon mexicanus), turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura). Trogon mexicanus is endemic species found in the mountains in Mexico; it is considered an endangered species and has symbolic significance to Mexicans. [4]

Related Research Articles

Copper Canyon mountain range

Copper Canyon is a group of six distinct canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental in the southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua in northwestern Mexico. The canyons were formed by six rivers that drain the western side of the Sierra Tarahumara. All six rivers merge into the Rio Fuerte and empty into the Gulf of California. The walls of the canyon are a copper/green color, which is where the name originates.

Chihuahuan Desert desert

The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert and ecoregion designation covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It occupies much of West Texas, parts of the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley and the lower Pecos Valley in New Mexico, and a portion of southeastern Arizona, as well as the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau. It is bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, along with northwestern lowlands of the Sierra Madre Oriental range. On the Mexican side, it covers a large portion of the state of Chihuahua, along with portions of Coahuila, north-eastern Durango, the extreme northern part of Zacatecas, and small western portions of Nuevo León. With an area of about 362,000 km2 (139,769 sq mi), it is the third largest desert of the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in North America, after the Great Basin Desert.

El Fuerte, Sinaloa Place in Sinaloa, Mexico

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Creel, Chihuahua City in Chihuahua, Mexico

Creel is a town in the Sierra Tarahumara of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It is the second-largest town in the municipality of Bocoyna. It is located some 175 kilometres (109 mi) to the southwest of the state capital, Chihuahua City. At the census of 2010, it had a population of 5,026, down from 5,338 as of 2005.

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The Cumbres de Majalca National Park is a national park in the Mexican state of Chihuahua located 88 km northwest of the city of Chihuahua. The park showcases extraordinary rock formations that have been shaped by wind and water erosion. The park was created by presidential decree in 1939 encompassing 4,772 hectares to protect the endemic flora and fauna. The park is characterized by pine and oak forest. The park is one of the few areas in Mexico that are inhabited by black bear.

Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion of the Sierra Madre Occidental range

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Climate of Mexico

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Federal Highway 24 is a free part of the federal highways corridors. Fed. 24 is intended to cross the Sierra Madre Occidental from the area of Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, on the east, to the area of Culiacán, Sinaloa, on the west. A limited central section of about 40 to 50 km is not yet completed or graded. This section lies between the villages of Los Frailes, Durango, on the east, and Soyatita, Sinaloa, on the west. Travel is possible through this area, where the road is not yet completed, on unimproved roads using high clearance two-wheel drive vehicles. The two unconnected segments that extend through Los Frailes and Soyatita are graded, but each segment is unpaved for about the last 75 km. The central gap in the highway is in the rugged mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. This uncompleted and unpaved portion of the road is not well signed, there are many intersections with other unimproved roads, and it is easy to get lost off the intended route of the highway. As noted later, getting lost may not be a safe proposition. Further, the unfinished segment on the west is at about 820 meters elevation at Soyatita. Just outside Los Frailes, the road coming from the east is at 2,750 meters elevation. The traveler crossing this gap will have to negotiate this dramatic change in elevation traveling a good deal of the way on unimproved dirt roads. Travel times in this central section can be quite slow.

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Cerro Mohinora

Cerro Mohinora is an extinct volcano that is part of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in the Mexican state of Chihuahua located in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo. Cerro Mohinora is the highest point in the state of Chihuahua reaching an elevation of 10,827 ft above sea level. The climate of the mountain is extremely cold in the winter and temperate to semi-cold in the summer.

Houstonia spellenbergii is a plant species in the Rubiaceae. It is native to the western part of the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, at an elevation of approximately 2100 m in the Sierra Madre Occidental near the Basaseáchic waterfall.

The Chinipas is a large river of Mexico. The Chinipas arises deep in the Sierra Madre Occidental in the state of Chihuahua, and then flows through long rugged canyon systems into the state of Sinaloa until it finally joins the main trunk of the Fuerte River in the western foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The Fuerte River then flows westward over the western coastal plain of Sonora to the Pacific Ocean, emerging very near the port of Topolobampo.


  1. "Conanp-Sig". Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  2. 1 2 3 Fernando Vargas Marquez. "Parques Nacionales De Mexico : Volume II" (PDF). Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  3. Archived December 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Barranca de Candameña en Chihuahua | México Desconocido". Archived from the original on 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2013-10-21.