HIKING & BIRD WATCHING IN THE SANTA RITA MOUNTAINS

Madera Canyon

Spend the day discovering this unparalleled scenic destination in the northern slops of the Santa Rita Mountains. Just 25 miles south of Tucson, AZ, the beautiful canyon boasts a variety of hiking trails that range from beginner to advanced. Picnicking is also a popular activity at the canyon, with numerous BBQ grills. Bird watchers will have a field day trying to spot over 256 species of migratory birds, including hummingbirds and wood warblers. With its majestic mountain peaks, streams, and wildlife, Madera Canyon provides exceptionally natural sightseeing and photo opportunities all year long.

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  • Hours:

    • Open daily from 6 am to 10 pm.

    Prices:

    • Park Entrance Fees: Day Pass: $5, Week Pass: $10, Annual Pass: $20

    Events:

    • Arizona Hummingbird & Night Photography
    • Birds and More of Madera Canyon
    • Kids in the Canyon
    • Music in the Canyon

    Activities:

    • Hiking
    • Picnics
    • Climbing
    • Bird Watching
  • FAQs

    • Where can I find Madera Canyon picnic and parking areas?

      Picnic tables and grills are located near the parking areas for convenience. The Whitehouse Picnic Area can accommodate up to 30 people on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visitors must provide their own charcoal, as there is no firewood available in the Canyon. All fires must be fully extinguished before leaving. Parking areas are located throughout Madera Canyon, including the Proctor Parking Area near the Visitors Center, with payment kiosks that accept exact cash or check, but no change can be made. Make sure to park in a designated area or your car may be ticketed or towed.
    • Are there hiking trails in Madera Canyon?

      Yes. Part of the Coronado National Forest, Madera Canyon is laced with a variety of scenic hiking trails that connect to the extensive Santa Rita Mountain trail system. The canyon's hiking trails vary in their level of intensity, from easy walking paths to challenging climbs that lead to the top of Mt. Wrightson, which is over 9,400 feet high. If you go the latter route, make sure you have good hiking boots and layered clothing as the weather will vary. Some popular hikes include: Nature Trail (1.8 miles); Baldy Saddle (9miles); Crest Trail Crossover (11.5 miles); Josephine Canyon (10 miles); and the Madera Creek Trail. There are also paved ADA-accessible trails. For your safety, bring plenty of water and always stay on the trails.

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