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
Spent a couple of days in cabin 3. Wasn't any where near long enough! Beautiful, peaceful place...
October 24, 2015
This was the most pleasant place . I love it beautiful and the people there were awsome and very friendly.
October 30, 2016
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!
November 13, 2017
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
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! �
November 20, 2016
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
Love the rustic cabins and clean rooms. This is the birdwatching mecca for migrating birds from Mexico.
June 4, 2017
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.
August 3, 2016
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
Loved this place. A new favorite location on Arizona.
September 15, 2016
Beautiful, affordable, and most importantly - the staff are wonderfully kind and accommodating! 10 thumbs up!
October 26, 2014
Wonderful place to just sit and watch birds! We try to go up there every week
November 26, 2016
Amazingly peaceful weekend, cute cabin, beautiful hiking, bird watching, deer and wild turkey outside our cabin!! Cannot wait to go back!
January 10, 2017
We love Madera canyon and the lodge planning a two night stay soon
July 30, 2015
Excellent lodge run by Steve who is a great guy. Abundant hummingbirds and a spectacular location.
June 8, 2017