Located in the heart of Madera Canyon, in the beautiful Coronado National Forest,
we invite you to visit for world-renowned bird watching, a rejuvenating hike or a quiet get-away from the hustle and bustle of daily life at Santa Rita Lodge.
Just a short 13 miles southeast of Green Valley, Arizona, at an elevation of 5,000 feet,
Santa Rita Lodge is more than 10 degrees cooler than Tucson on any given day—a treasured getaway that attracts visitors year after year.
Join us and experience all that Madera Canyon has to offer.
Birding and Wildlife
Madera Canyon is one of the most renowned birding destinations in the United States. The desert grasslands of the lower canyon blend into Arizona Sycamores, Freemont Cottonwoods, and Alligator Junipers around 4500’, and give way to maples, Box Elders, and several varieties of pine and oak at higher elevations. This, and the many active springs and seasonal creek, creates an avian Utopia!
With no shortage of scenic overlooks, wildlife, and, of course, birds, Madera Canyon is a popular destination for both amateur and professional photographers. The Santa Rita Lodge is an ideal location to capture treasured shots of native and migrating species of birds such as Broad Billed, Black-chinned, Magnificent, and Blue-throated hummingbirds, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Cassin’s Finches, Bronzed Cowbirds, and the spectacular Elegant Trogon. The Santa Rita Lodge Gift Shop maintains a current bird checklist and seasonal information.
The Santa Rita Lodge is the gateway to Madera Canyon, nestled on the northwestern side of the Santa Rita Mountains. A part of the Coronado National Forest, the Santa Rita Mountains boast the highest peak in the entire Tucson region: Mount Wrightson at 9,456 ft. Madera Canyon hosts over 100 miles of hiking trails, not only leading to the top of Mount Wrightson, but to many other must-see routes in the canyon.
Mountain Biking and Road Biking
The northern access to Elephant Head mountain biking trail is located about 11.2 miles up Madera Canyon Road. Take a right on Proctor Road, and stay left whenever the road splits. Take Proctor Rd to its end and park. The trailhead is at the end of the Jeep road, FR 781. This trail boasts 6 miles and 4,000 ft of elevation gain. Rated an intermediate trail, it is excellent riding with plenty of variation to keep more advanced riders interested. Elephant Head can become overgrown easily, but the north trail is gaining popularity which has been keeping overgrowth under control. Made up of jeep trail and single-track, Elephant head mainly crosses open desert with little cover. Be sure to take in the vast views and the massive rock formation earning its name: Elephant Head.
We weren't staying there, we just came to watch the birds for awhile. So nice of them to allow non-guests this access. All they ask is that you leave a donation for bird food. You get to sit in the shade and watch a variety of birds fly in to eat. Relaxing and fun. The gift shop is great, too. Buy a souvenir! Madera Canyon is beautiful.
May 6, 2017
THIS IS ONE PLACE EVERYONE THAT COMES TO TOWN SHOULD SEE. IT IS NATURE AT ITS BEST. THE CABINS ARE GREAT, AND THE BIRDS AND NATURAL ANIMALS IN THE AREA SO WONDERFUL. IT FEEDS YOUR SOUL.
February 3, 2015
We love Madera canyon and the lodge planning a two night stay soon
July 30, 2015
Thank you, Steve and Judy, for a wonderful three-day stay at your lodge. You both worked SO hard to make our cabin inviting and comfortable, and helped keep our photo workshop running smoothly. You are certainly people persons, and supplied us with a plethora of local information. SRL will definitely be on my return trip list!
April 17, 2017
Best place to view birds and great place to stay. Quiet nature and lovely views.
November 26, 2016
Amazingly peaceful weekend, cute cabin, beautiful hiking, bird watching, deer and wild turkey outside our cabin!! Cannot wait to go back!
January 10, 2017
Not only a great place to view birds, also a great place to stay!!
September 7, 2017
Excellent lodge run by Steve who is a great guy. Abundant hummingbirds and a spectacular location.
June 8, 2017
My family just spent the night there last night for my birthday. We had a wonderful time in the cabin and everything we needed was right there at our fingertips. It was a great getaway and not far at all from our home in Tucson. The surrounding scenery is beautiful and we saw plenty of wildlife and took some great photos. Thank you for a pleasant experience!
November 14, 2015
Great place for wildlife photography. Loved staying here and will be back soon. The hummingbirds are all over the place.
April 20, 2016
I visited here last year while birding Madera Canyon, and it's an absolutely wonderful spot. The people here were so nice, and the birds were AMAZING!
February 9, 2016
Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week
November 26, 2016
Nice and beautiful place, my kids loved it! Going back in the summer.
November 18, 2016
We stayed at the lodge for several nights and really enjoyed it all. It is so nice and quiet for a relaxing getaway. The bird watching was wonderful and the staff were the best.
May 22, 2017
Loved it there and can't wait to go back! The nature area with bird feeders etc is awesome and you are right in the midst of a number of trails to explore Madera Canyon. Will actually be publishing a book this summer with all the beautiful birds I photographed there.
June 15, 2015