There is no gate or sign indicating you are in the Canyon, but you will see a sign on a right-hand turn to the Visitor Information Station that is operated by the Friends on weekends. Brochures and information (but not passes) are available here. This is also the entrance to the Proctor parking area, handicap accessible trail, and beginning of the Bud Gode Interpretive Nature Trail. Continuing up the paved road will bring you first to the Whitehouse parking and picnic area, then the Madera parking area with picnic sites on both sides of the road, then the Santa Rita Lodge on the right where you can either park to look at birds at the many feeders or make plans to stay overnight. Up the road, now at about 5,000 feet elevation, you will find the Amphitheater parking area on the right with access to the Nature Trail. Above this is the Madera Kubo Cabins on the left, then two more one-lane bridges and the Chuparosa Inn B & B on the right, and finally the large Mt. Wrightson Picnic Area and Trail Heads with parking, many picnic sites, rest rooms, and trail heads.
Make sure that you either display your Golden Age or similar pass on your dashboard or purchase a seasonal pass (link) or one-day pass for use of the canyon or you may be subject to a fine.
Rules of the Canyon
1. Park in designated lots only. Fee stations are in all lots. Please pay where you park.
2. All pets must be on a leash at all times.
3. All fires must be in a grill beside picnic tables only.
4. All music and radios must be on low volume.
5. Put all trash in bear-proof containers.
6. Please do not play bird songs or calls to attract birds.
7. Please do not smoke anywhere in the canyon except in your car or at a picnic site.
Madera Canyon is a lovely location for a picnic, especially when escaping the summer heat of Phoenix or Tucson. Picnic tables and grills are located near parking areas throughout the canyon. The Whitehouse Picnic area provides for larger groups -- up to 30 or so. Advanced reservations cannot be made. All picnic areas have nearby bear-proof trash receptacles and accessible toilets. You must bring your own charcoal, as there is no firewood available in the Canyon. Fires may be built only in the grills and must be fully extinguished before you leave.
Madera Canyon is known for its exceptional and varied hiking trails. The Mt. Wrightson trailhead provides access to several trails, including the Super Trail and the Old Baldy trail, where experienced hikers can climb to the higher levels. For these trails, hiking boots and layered clothing to accommodate the temperature change are needed. Several other trails are shown on the maps located at each trailhead, Always bring drinking water when hiking and stay on the trails. Do not short-cut switch-back trails as this leads to soil erosion. Hiking brochures with detailed maps are available at each trailhead.
From the Proctor area, a paved loop trail good for wheelchairs and walkers has occasional benches for resting. The trail follows Madera Creek and provides seniors access to the beauty of the lower canyon. Another paved loop trail at Whitehouse is often used by visitors requiring wheelchairs. If you would like to arrange for the Friends of Madera Canyon to provide a an accessible trail tour for a group of seniors, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.