Ruta Tepehuana is a very challenging road located in Durango, Mexico. It’s a windy, narrow and dangerous road to travel, offering incredible views of the Sierra Madre mountains, canyon views from 2.700 meters sea level to bottom of the canyon to 500-0 meters, spectacular views over 2 km high both sides of the road.
The road was inaugurated in 2014 and fully operational paved road in 2016. It offers 5 different biomes as like painted desert, cactus desert, pine forest, oak forest and tropical jungle all in the same road route. The road is 288 km long and really steep. It links Durango, the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Durango at an elevation of 1,880 metres (6,170 ft) above the sea level and near to Jesus María, a municipality in the north of the Mexican state of Nayarit at an elevation of 450 meters above the sea level.
In the first section of the road there's a scenic mountain pass and canyon pass. The road departs at 1430 masl at a long valley in Mezquital, Durango, it goes up to 2490 masl in a mountain pass offering spectacular views of Mezquital valley, mountains and canyons. The road continues down into the Temoaya town and canyon at 1300 masl, continuing in a lower point to 1090 masl at the Mezquital river. Passing the river the road dramatically goes up again to 2540 masl giving stunning views of the Mezquital canyon. The road offer stunning views both sides of the road, with the Mezquital and Temoaya canyons in one side of another. It also offers different biomes such as pine forest, cactus desert and oak forests.
The next segment only goes down to Huazamota, departing from llano grande at 2300 masl going into a scenic drive of pine forest up to 2700 masl owned by indigenous people of Tepehuan, the road starts to descend near the community of Mesa de las Milpas from 2600 masl to 600 masl in San Antonio de Padua in a "endless" hairpinned road, over 2000 meters of height change in just less than 35 kilometers, one of the most scenic drives in Mexico. It also offers different biomes such pine forest, oak forest, tropical forest (jungle) and some cactus in canyon areas.
Passing San Juan Peyotan, there is a T junction, where the Mexico 23 meets Mexico 44, at any direction the road offers stunning views of the Sierra Madre Mountains, such to Camino a Canoas
or Mesa del Nayar.
The road is dangerous because:
-It's so lonely, you barely see one or two vehicles per hour in all road route (total of 10 hours driving from Durango to Ruiz), but you can see many people walking next to the road (indigenous people).
-It's an area of drug trafficking/plantation and high risk of being kidnaped or extorted by individuals.
-Sharp turns and ugly curves almost everywhere in the entire route. You can't travel more than 40 mph, usually at 30 mhp.
-No signals and no road paint in some areas, making difficult to use at night.
-Potholes everywhere, even if the road it's "new", most worst potholes are located next to mountain cuts.
-High risk of rocks falling and some segments of road embarkment are in risk of collapse due the road it's built at mountain cliffs.
-People walking at middle of road for no reason, mostly indigenous.
-In some areas no guardrails to canyons.
-Not recommended to drive at night due sharp turns and no visibility due common fog in the area.
-High grade and long downhills, you can easily get your brakes hot, using engine brakes it's mandatory otherwise lose your brakes. In 2 different segments, you go up 2 times forcing your engines and going down 2 times, combined height of 4,000 meters!
-No cellphone coverage area mostly all route.
Road suggested by: Eblem Torres