Mountain formation in Mexico has played an important role in the diversification of many Mexican taxa. The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in particular has served as both a cradle of diversification and conduit for dispersal. We investigated the evolutionary history of the Isthmura bellii group of salamanders, a widespread amphibian across the Mexican highlands, using sequence capture of ultraconserved elements. Results suggest that the I. bellii group probably originated in southeastern Mexico in the late Miocene and later dispersed across the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and into the Sierra Madre Occidental. Pre-Pleistocene uplift of the Trans-Volcanic Belt likely promoted early diversification by serving as a mesic land-bridge across central Mexico. These findings highlight the importance of the Trans-Volcanic Belt in generating Mexico’s rich biodiversity.