As the city of Tucson grew, Madera Canyon, formerly Whitehouse Canyon, became an escape from the summer heat in the valley. By the 1900s, summer cottages and year-round residents called the canyon home. Today, Madera Canyon continues to be a unique natural resource for birders, hikers, picnickers, artists, photographers, researchers and nature lovers alike.

In 1922, Mr. C.R. Dusenberry built the Santa Rita Trails Resort, now known as the Santa Rita Lodge. The resort provided pack horse trips that included lunch at Mt. Baldy (9,453 ft.), one roll of film for your camera (developed and mailed back to you), and a chicken dinner on the return trip – all for just $5.00! The original lodge burned down, but was rebuilt in 1929 and became a year-round resort with cottages, cabins, a dining room, a general store, a gas station, and post office from 1929 to 1942. Because White House Canyon was considered too long for a postal address back then, Mr. Dusenberry changed the name to Madera Canyon.

The Holt family purchased the Santa Rita Lodge in 2006. Since that time, the casitas and cabins have been refurbished and a new Gift Shop and Visitor’s Office was built in 2012. The “old” gift shop was one of the original cabins from the 1920’s, now renovated as Deluxe Cabin #5.

Our Gift Shop features a book about the history of the canyon written by the Friends of Madera Canyon, the Canyon’s Philanthropic Group. Proceeds benefit preservation efforts in the canyon.

Check Reviews From Our Customer

  • 5 star review  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.

    thumb Alva Nawrocki
    5/22/2017

    5 star review  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!

    thumb Rhonda Mullins Martin
    11/14/2015

    5 star review  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.

    thumb Deborah Carney
    6/15/2015
  • 5 star review  Not only a great place to view birds, also a great place to stay!!

    thumb Annie Mcginnis
    9/07/2017

    5 star review  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.

    thumb Candace Porth
    5/06/2017

    5 star review  Beautiful, affordable, and most importantly - the staff are wonderfully kind and accommodating! 10 thumbs up!

    thumb Jessica Retleb
    10/26/2014
  • 5 star review  Spent a couple of days in cabin 3. Wasn't any where near long enough! Beautiful, peaceful place...

    thumb Soo Willie
    10/24/2015

    5 star review  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!

    thumb Justin Cale
    2/09/2016

    5 star review  Great place for wildlife photography. Loved staying here and will be back soon. The hummingbirds are all over the place.

    thumb Vin O'Hare
    4/20/2016
  • 5 star review  Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week

    thumb Jim Veatch
    11/26/2016

    5 star review  Beautiful beyond words and amazing variety of birds and critters! The room is spotlessly clean and has everything we need. We feel right at home.

    thumb Nita Smith
    7/17/2016

    3 star review  It's really a shame you don't allow pets. Before it changed hands I would spend 4 days every other month. Just Dusty and I. Such a great place to think and bond. Began to feel like home and the previous owners family. I still miss it.

    thumb Deborah Boyett Buttram
    12/14/2015
  • 5 star review  Excellent lodge run by Steve who is a great guy. Abundant hummingbirds and a spectacular location.

    thumb Fernando Trujillo
    6/08/2017

    5 star review  I have been there two separate times. And we loved it, it is so relaxing, pretty and full of hiking spots ,,bird sanctuary. It is not fancy, but a little rustic , clean and has everything you need to stay there, I recommend the Santa Rita Lodge, everyone is very nice and helpful.

    thumb Dawn Savage
    8/03/2016

    5 star review  It's beyond beautiful here and the cozy accommodations were perfect!!

    thumb Skyla Teel
    9/20/2014

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