- Capital: Chihuahua
- Area: 94,960 square miles (245,945 km²), 12.5 % of the national territory
- Population: 3.3 million
- Topography: volcanic mountain ranges, dry plateau and desert with a wide range of altitudes
- Climate: temperate to cold with average temperature around 68°F. Humid in the canyons and dry to arid in the desert and plateau. Strong winds year round.
- Flora: pine trees and conifers in the mountains, cacti and scrub bush in the desert and plateau, pastures in the northeast.
- Fauna: deer, grey fox, porcupines, a great variety of birds, and over eighty species of reptiles.
- Archaeological Sites: Paquime, Cuarenta Casas
Mexico’s largest state's best known attraction is undoubtedly the Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre), an amazing labyrinth of more than 20 canyons - the deepest is Barranca de Urique at 6000 feet – and peaks that rise as high as 7500 feet above sea level. The most comfortable way to explore this wild landscape in the heart of the Sierra Tarahumara is a ride on Mexico's only remaining long-distance passenger train, el Chepe. Leaving from Los Mochis on the coast (in the state of Sinaloa), the train slowly climbs up into the mountains, passing small towns and settlements on its 14 hour journey to the city of Chihuahua, giving way to extraordinary views. The more adventurous travelers get off at El Fuerte, Divisadero or Creel for day excursions or hiking into the canyons that are inhabited by indigenous groups of Tarahumara (or Raramuri, as they call themselves). The train's last stop before Chihuahua is in Cuauhtémoc, a small town surrounded by Mennonite villages, a sect that, persecuted for their beliefs, fled from Europe through Canada into Mexico and settled here in the 1920s.
The prosperous state capital presents an interesting mix of modern shopping malls, industries and high-tech universities in the suburbs and fine colonial buildings in the center that were witness to the Mexican independence movement, as well as to the Revolution and one of its key players, Francisco “Pancho” Villa. Those interested in history can easily spend a day or two to visit these historical monuments: the 18th century cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno with its fine murals presenting Chihuahua's history from its foundation in 1530 to the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. The Palacio de Gobierno also houses the Museo de Hidalgo illustrating the life of Miguel Hidalgo, and a small room with an eternal flame commemorating the place where he was shot in 1811 after having been kept in a dungeon for three months. The Museo de la Revolución Mexicana, also known as Casa de Villa or Quinta Luz, was built by Pancho Villa and contains a fantastic display of original furnishings, weapons and photographs as well as historical documents of the revolution, and the car in which Pancho Villa was assassinated.
The bustling border town of Ciudad Juárez with its almost 3 million inhabitants was founded in the 16th century. It is the place where the “Treaties of Ciudad Juarez” were signed that forced the resignation of then president and dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1911, an important victory of the Mexican Revolution. Today, Ciudad Juárez is the world's largest maquiladora city (assembly and manufacturing operations). Just 50 km south, Mexico's only desert region, the Médanos de Samalayuca, begins, with an extension of 150 km² of sand dunes.
Paquime and Cuarenta Casas
A major attraction in the northwest part of the state, near the town of Casas Grandes are the archaeological sites of Paquimé and Cuarenta Casas. Paquime was a major trading settlement of mainly adobe buildings, functioning from around 350 AD until about 1340 AD, with an extension of 50 hectares that have not yet been fully excavated. Cuarenta Casas is a series of cave dwellings carved into the cliffs of a canyon. The eastern part of the state is dominated by impressive caves, canyons and Jesuit and Franciscan mission churches as well as other colonial buildings that are witness to the tireless struggle of the indigenous to defend their land against the Spanish conquest.