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

  • 3 star review  Cannot rate cannot remove all stars but looks like a good place to stay.

    Evelyn Bauer Avatar Evelyn Bauer
    August 23, 2016

    5 star review  Best place to view birds and great place to stay. Quiet nature and lovely views.

    Art Wild Avatar Art Wild
    November 26, 2016

    5 star review  Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week

    Jim Veatch Avatar Jim Veatch
    November 26, 2016
  • 5 star review  We love Madera canyon and the lodge planning a two night stay soon

    Charlyn Bantlin Avatar Charlyn Bantlin
    July 30, 2015

    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.

    Deborah Boyett Buttram Avatar Deborah Boyett Buttram
    December 14, 2015

    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.

    Candace Porth Avatar Candace Porth
    May 6, 2017
  • 5 star review  Clean, beautiful, weekend getaway. Great hiking trails with plenty of animals. The bird viewing area is so well thought out and keeps you enthralled. Thank you, Steve.

    Jennifer Sandoval Avatar Jennifer Sandoval
    October 22, 2017

    5 star review  It is so peaceful here and the creek runs right behind the cabins and casitas. It's a place to relax.

    Melody Duke Avatar Melody Duke
    March 18, 2015

    5 star review  Excellent lodge run by Steve who is a great guy. Abundant hummingbirds and a spectacular location.

    Fernando Trujillo Avatar Fernando Trujillo
    June 8, 2017
  • 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.

    Alva Nawrocki Avatar Alva Nawrocki
    May 22, 2017

    5 star review  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!

    Nancy Brownell Bill Howe Avatar Nancy Brownell Bill Howe
    November 13, 2017

    5 star review  Spent a couple of days in cabin 3. Wasn't any where near long enough! Beautiful, peaceful place...

    Soo Willie Avatar Soo Willie
    October 24, 2015
  • 5 star review  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!

    Karen Martin Avatar Karen Martin
    April 17, 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.

    Dawn Savage Avatar Dawn Savage
    August 3, 2016

    5 star review  Not only a great place to view birds, also a great place to stay!!

    Annie Mcginnis Avatar Annie Mcginnis
    September 7, 2017

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