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  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!

    thumb Karen Martin
    4/17/2017

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

    thumb Annie Mcginnis
    9/07/2017
  • 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  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.

    thumb Jennifer Sandoval
    10/22/2017

    5 star review  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

    thumb Jan Johnson-Miller
    10/06/2015
  • 5 star review  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.

    thumb Terry Hunter
    3/05/2017

    5 star review  Love the rustic cabins and clean rooms. This is the birdwatching mecca for migrating birds from Mexico.

    thumb Lorence Zacpal
    6/04/2017

    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!

    thumb Nancy Brownell Bill Howe
    11/13/2017
  • 5 star review  Nice and beautiful place, my kids loved it! Going back in the summer.

    thumb Katarina Llamas
    11/18/2016

    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

    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  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  Loved this place. A new favorite location on Arizona.

    thumb Joe Neely
    9/15/2016

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

    thumb Jessica Retleb
    10/26/2014

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