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
- Jeanette Wah-Duffy
My husband and I came up for our anniversary and loved it so much that we took the kids 20 and 22 up and they loved it, too ... We'll be back ... Cabin 5 was great!
11/27/2017Rhonda Mullins Martin
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!
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.
- Deborah Boyett Buttram
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.
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.
Best place to view birds and great place to stay. Quiet nature and lovely views.
- Evelyn Bauer
Cannot rate cannot remove all stars but looks like a good place to stay.
It's beyond beautiful here and the cozy accommodations were perfect!!
9/20/2014Nancy Brownell Bill Howe
Oh my gosh we just had the most amazing stay at the lodge! We stayed 2 nights and the weather was perfect as well. We hiked both days and saw lots of wildlife. A Coati was by the gift shop the 1st day and we saw lots of deer and wild turkey. The bird sanctuary is just lovely! We will be going back again soon with other family members as a retreat! Thank you Steve Holt for having such a wonderful property for all to enjoy!
- Justin Cale
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!
Great place for wildlife photography. Loved staying here and will be back soon. The hummingbirds are all over the place.
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.
- Jim Veatch
Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week
Loved this place. A new favorite location on Arizona.
I love going up the mountain to see all the wildlife at Santa Rita Lodge!! My daughter and I enjoy hummingbirds and there are plenty to see here!! <3 Jan Miller