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
- Rhonda 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!
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.
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!
- Annie Mcginnis
Not only a great place to view birds, also a great place to stay!!
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.
Great place for wildlife photography. Loved staying here and will be back soon. The hummingbirds are all over the place.
- Terry Hunter
Santa Rita Lodge is like home away from home. Oh how I miss it. Seeing the video of the stream flowing is awesome. Love to you all ....know that you are in my thoughts often and the Memories are still Magical. Hoping you're all doing great. Peace, Redbird aka Terry Hunter.
It is so peaceful here and the creek runs right behind the cabins and casitas. It's a place to relax.
Love the rustic cabins and clean rooms. This is the birdwatching mecca for migrating birds from Mexico.
- Jim Veatch
Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week
11/26/2016Emma J Watts
This really is the an amazing place to visit and stay. Cabins are beautiful, surroundings are awesome! We will definitely be back next year - cabin #5 is mine! �
Amazingly peaceful weekend, cute cabin, beautiful hiking, bird watching, deer and wild turkey outside our cabin!! Cannot wait to go back!
- Katarina Llamas
Nice and beautiful place, my kids loved it! Going back in the summer.
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.