Madera Canyon Road #62/70 Scenic Drive
This canyon was named “Madera” (which means lumber or wood in Spanish) because it served as a major source of timber for the city of Tucson over a century ago. It wasn’t long, however, before this accessible haven was better known for the diverse wildlife it sheltered and the cool relief it offered from the desert heat. Today, Madera Canyon continues to be a popular destination for wildlife watchers and nature lovers who come to see the more than 240 species of birds (including more than a dozen species of hummingbirds) that live in its nurturing environment. April and May are the best months for most species, June and September are best for hummingbirds. Birdwatching is at its best up-canyon. One of the best ways to get to know this unique environment is by visiting the Madera Nature Trail. The trail is accessible from a roadside trailhead, four picnic areas, one campground and a private resort, all located in the canyon. This streamside route provides an excellent introduction to the fascinating diversity of plant and animal life that mark this canyon as a true desert oasis. Portions of the lower reaches of the trail are barrier-free. Along higher reaches the gradient steepens. Up-canyon of the Santa Rita Lodge, an outdoor amphitheater hosts nature programs presented throughout the summer under the coordination of the Friends of Madera Canyon. Beyond the amphitheater, the trail continues to the Roundup Picnic Area and offers good views of Mt. Wrightson, lower Madera Canyon and the Santa Cruz Valley. For those seeking deeper access to the Santa Rita Range, a number of Forest trails lead to the top of Mt. Wrightson and through the Santa Ritas from the Mt Wrighton Picnic Area and Bog Springs Campground.
At a Glance
|Closest Towns:||South of Tucson via paved roads in the scenic Santa Rita Mountains.|
|Operated By:||Nogales Ranger District|
|Information Center:||Nogales Ranger District 520-281-2296|