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
Amazingly peaceful weekend, cute cabin, beautiful hiking, bird watching, deer and wild turkey outside our cabin!! Cannot wait to go back!
January 10, 2017
This was the most pleasant place . I love it beautiful and the people there were awsome and very friendly.
October 30, 2016
Best place to view birds and great place to stay. Quiet nature and lovely views.
November 26, 2016
Love the rustic cabins and clean rooms. This is the birdwatching mecca for migrating birds from Mexico.
June 4, 2017
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.
December 14, 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
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
Beautiful, affordable, and most importantly - the staff are wonderfully kind and accommodating! 10 thumbs up!
October 26, 2014
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
It is so peaceful here and the creek runs right behind the cabins and casitas. It's a place to relax.
March 18, 2015
Excellent lodge run by Steve who is a great guy. Abundant hummingbirds and a spectacular location.
June 8, 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
Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week
November 26, 2016
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
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.
July 17, 2016