Madera Canyon is a north-facing valley in the Santa Rita Mountains with riparian woodland along an intermittent stream, bordered by mesquite, juniper-oak woodlands, and pine forests.
Native Peoples lived in the Santa Rita Mountains for thousands of years, known from artifacts of O’odham tribes. The oldest structure in the Canyon is believed to have been built by a sheepherder around 1880.
Home to over 250 bird species, including 15 hummingbird species, visitors from all over the world arrive in search of specialties; Elegant Trogon, Elf Owl, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and Painted Redstart.
Geology of Madera Canyon and the Santa Ritas
Presentation by Lorena Moore
December 16, 7:00 PM
Friends of Madera Canyon is pleased to announce an upcoming presentation on the geology of Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita mountain range. Our speaker is Lorena Moore, a resident geologist currently working with Santa Rita Lodge. She comes to us with a master's degree in Geology and as a former educator.
Proctor Trail Enhancements & The Memory Wall
Visit the New Proctor Accessible Trail, now with a wider concrete walkway, a new bridge, a beautiful stone knee wall and viewing area overlooking Madera Creek, thanks to Friends and the U.S. Forest Service for making it so.
At the trail entrance stop to see the Memory and Honor Wall, tributes to Volunteers and Supporters of this extraordinary place, the Santa Ritas and Madera Canyon.
Learn more about the Memory & Honor Wall →
Looking for a few Good Friends!
The annual election for the Board of Directors is coming up in December. There will be some vacancies as existing members will be stepping aside due to term limits. Help us continue to make the Friends of Madera Canyon the incredible organization it is by volunteering to be a Board or Committee member. Contact Rusty Lombardo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Become a Friend of Madera Canyon
Becoming a Friend of Madera Canyon offers access to interesting, fulfilling volunteer opportunities, but your best reward is knowing your support helps to preserve this special piece of our Nation's wilderness habitat.
Join or Renew on our secure site →
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With lofty mountain peaks, forested slopes, seasonal streams, and an amazing variety of plants and wildlife, Madera Canyon has become a popular recreational destination. Madera hiking trails are applauded throughout the Southwest, and vary from paved, handicap-accessible trails and gentle walking paths in the lower canyon, to steep, expert trails leading to the top of 9,453-foot Mt. Wrightson.
The third best birding destination in the United States is Southeastern Arizona, with Madera Canyon at its heart. With fifteen species of hummingbirds, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Flame-colored Tanager, 36 species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented, it is a "required" site for all serious birders.
White-tailed and Mule Deer, Wild Turkeys, rabbits and squirrels are regularly observed. Other animals such as Black Bear, Coati, fox, Ring-tailed Cats, Raccoons, Bobcats, and Mountain Lion are more shy and only occasionally seen. Sixteen species of bats have been recorded in the Canyon. It is unusual to spend any time in Madera Canyon without seeing signs of wildlife.
Madera Canyon and Madera Creek traverse four life zones and many habitats between the desert floor and the mountaintops, making the Santa Rita Mountains in which Madera Canyon resides, a world-famous sky island known for its unique and abundant flora and fauna - from Prickly-Pear cactus in the lower Canyon to Douglas Fir and Quaking Aspen on Mt. Wrightson.