Whitehouse Picnic Area

Area Status: Open

Whitehouse Picnic Area

The Whitehouse area is named for the nearby ruins of an old white adobe house built at the mouth of Madera Canyon in the 1880s. Tables and charcoal grills here are tucked under mesquite and oak trees a short distance from Madera Creek. In addition to the single table sites, facilities include a large ramada for group get-togethers . Wildlife watching is at the top of the menu at Whitehouse. The Madera Nature Trail, portions of which are paved and barrier free, lead from the picnic area into a nearby mesquite and oak woodland and sycamore-shaded riparian area. This trail actually stretches from Proctor Trailhead, a short distance down-canyon from Whitehouse Picnic Area, to Mt Wrightson  Picnic Area at the end of the Madera Canyon Road. Since it was built a bit at a time, tread surface and interpretive features vary along its length. Coues white-tailed deer regularly browse within sight of it, barely taking notice of the presence of nature lovers focusing binoculars and clicking cameras just a few feet away. An overlook of Madera Creek provides opportunities to view more secretive species such as javelina and coatimundi as they stop for a drink. Along the two paved loops of the trail, which the Green Valley Hiking Club helped construct, there are interpretive signs in English and Spanish pointing out historic sites and other points of interest. Trailside wooden benches provide opportunities for more leisurely contemplation. Trails, trailhead information stations and interpretive signs along the Madera Nature Trail are maintained by the Friends of Madera Canyon, a hard working group of volunteers dedicated to keeping this area as clean and inviting as possible.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Day-use: $8 per vehicle
Weekly: $10 per vehicle
Buy a pass online, or purchase a pass on-site with cash or check. Proof of payment, or a valid Coronado National Forest Annual Pass or Interagency (America the Beautiful) Pass, including the Annual, Senior, Access, or Military Pass, must be displayed on the driver's side of the vehicle dashboard. Learn more about accepted passes.
Open Season: Year-round
Restrictions: All pets must be on a leash.
Closest Towns: Nearest medical facilities and additional supplies are at Green Valley. 48.5 miles south of Tucson in beautiful Madera Canyon of the Santa Rita Mountains.
Water: Drinking water is available
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Nogalas Ranger District
Information Center: Nogales Ranger District 520-281-2296

General Information

Directions: Drive south from Tucson on Interstate 19 to the Continental Road/Madera Canyon Exit. Turn east and follow the signs 12 miles to scenic Madera Canyon and the picnic area. The entire route is paved.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



No. of Sites 13 picnic sites, and group ramada with 7 picnic tables.

Group Picnicking


Interpretive Site: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes
Fee charged for some activities: Yes
Parking: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Accessible: Yes
Drinking water: Yes

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  Elevation : 
4,600 feet