Conserve, Protect, and Educate

As a member of the Friends of Madera Canyon


Help Shape the Future of Madera Canyon

Your support helps preserve this special piece of of Nation’s
wilderness habitat

Become a Friend of Madera Canyon

Volunteer your Time or Talent

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Conservation through Education

Friends of Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon is nestled in the northern slopes of the Santa Rita Mountain range, east of Green Valley and south of Tucson, Arizona

About the Canyon

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.

Cultural History

Native Peoples lived in the Santa Rita Mountains for thousands of years, known from artifacts of O’odham tribes.

Friends of Madera Canyon

The FoMC is a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization dedicated to conserving the natural resources and restoring the habitat, trails and infastructure of Madera Canyon while educating school children and adults about the wonders of this unique place

Help Shape the Future of Madera Canyon

Your support helps preserve this special piece of our Nation's wilderness habitat

Become a Friend of Madera Canyon

Volunteer your Time or Talent

Natural Paradise Retreat

Exploring Madera Canyon

Discover the serene beauty of Madera Canyon, a haven for hiking, birdwatching, and nature enthusiasts.

Visitor Resources, Bird Checklist & Reports

A Madera Canyon Bird Checklist, Hiking information and map PDFs, and Madera Quarterly Bird Reports can be downloaded here → Resources.


Weather Forecast

Madera Canyon, Arizona
9:56 pm, July 17, 2024
temperature icon 80°F
scattered clouds
Humidity 40 %
Pressure 1014 mb
Wind 3 mph
Wind Gust: 5 mph
Visibility: 0 km
Sunrise: 5:30 am
Sunset: 7:28 pm

Open Year Round:

Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Please plan your visits according to the season’s temperature, sunrise and sunset.


Weather Forecast

Mount Wrightson
21:56, July 17, 2024
temperature icon 91°F
broken clouds
Humidity 36 %
Pressure 1013 mb
Wind 6 mph
Wind Gust: 10 mph
Visibility: 0 km
Sunrise: 05:30
Sunset: 19:29

Printed Bird Checklist and Trail Maps are available at the Proctor Visitor Information Station and at all Parking / Picnic Area Trail Heads throughout the canyon.


Madera Canyon is a renowned hotspot for bird enthusiasts. With its diverse range of avian species and the accessibility of the Proctor Accessible Trail, it’s an ideal location for birdwatching. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the captivating sights and sounds of the feathered residents.

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For photography enthusiasts, Madera Canyon is a paradise waiting to be captured. The Proctor Accessible Trail’s enhancements offer excellent vantage points for capturing the scenic wonders of the canyon. Don’t forget your camera and be prepared to create stunning memories through your lens.

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Immerse yourself in the rich natural beauty of Madera Canyon. The Proctor Accessible Trail provides an easy and enjoyable way to explore the area’s lush vegetation, picturesque landscapes, and serene ambiance. Take a leisurely stroll and reconnect with nature.

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If you’re an avid hiker, Madera Canyon offers exciting opportunities for hiking. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, Madera Canyon has hiking adventures for everyone. Starting with the newly improved Proctor Accessible Trail, you can experience the thrill of hiking on easy trails or eventually much more difficult trails amidst the canyon’s natural splendor.
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The Beauty of Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon is a hidden gem in the heart of the Santa Rita Mountains of southeastern Arizona. This lush canyon is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including towering pines, colorful wildflowers, and over 100 species of birds.

The Economics of Beauty

I am aware that in certain quarters one who contends for the practical value of natural beauty is considered a ‘crank,’ and yet the love of beauty is the most dominant trait in mankind. The moment anyone of intelligence gets enough to satisfy the primal needs of the physical man, he begins to plan for something beautiful—house, grounds, or a view of nature. Could this be capitalized in dollars, could some alchemy reveal its value, we should not hear materialists deriding lovers of nature with any effect upon legislators. Without this touch of idealism, this sense of beauty, life would only be a race for the trough.

Fifty-five years later, Stewart Udall, an Arizona icon, said, “An increasing gross national product has become the Holy Grail, and most of the economists who are its keepers have no concern for the economics of beauty.” Neither was an enemy of capitalism. Both loved this country. Both recognized the tension between exploiting natural resources for the sake of monetary prosperity and ensuring that such exploitation did not result in the realization of John Burroughs’ worry: “We can use our scientific knowledge to poison the air, corrupt the water, blacken the face of the country or we can use it to mitigate and abolish these things. One cannot but reflect what a sucked orange the earth will be in the course of a few centuries.”

This tension is evident in the attempt by Hudbay, a Canadian corporation, to dig a mine in one of Arizona’s geographic treasures, the Sky Island we know as the Santa Rita Mountains. The estimates made by proponents of the mine are the usual economic ones: the mine will create several hundred new jobs (though it is not clear that the jobs would go to current residents of the area), the people working in the mine will spend money in the region, buy houses, add to the tax base, as would the mine itself. Furthermore, they say, more copper is what mankind needs now because of the importance of the metal to electric vehicles. These arguments rely on estimates made by the company about the dollar impact of the mine. Also assumed is that the price of copper will never go down.

Johnson wished that we could “capitalize in dollars,” and find “some alchemy” to reveal the value of beauty; in Udall’s words, develop an economics of beauty. How, though, does one put a value on “nature’s scenic jewels,” we have in our backyard in Arizona, “containing so many and such an infinite variety of marvels… [indeed ] thousands of matchless treasures,” to paraphrase what Gilbert Grosvenor of the National Geographic wrote about America and apply it to our state? Perhaps one could calculate the dollar impact of the tourists who come to see Sky Islands, Madera Canyon, Chiricahua National Monument and other natural wonders. What is the financial impact of retirees who move to the Santa Cruz Valley in part because of the surrounding beauty? There are ways as yet untried to make financial estimates like these to counter Hudbay.

But why should one? “Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man,” wrote Udall in 1968. To assert the economics of beauty, measured in tangible and intangible ways, is not to be a “crank.” It is to avoid a “race to the trough” by acknowledging the value of the beauty in nature that surrounds us. And prevent the earth from becoming a “sucked orange.”

Daniel E. White

Originally published in the Green Valley News, May 11, 2024, “Opinion, In My View”

Madera Canyon

The Latest News & Updates

Please consider joining our mailing list to receive our free newsletter. Your address is never sold or shared, and every note includes an easy link to unsubscribe.

Members of the Friends of Madera Canyon are invited to attend any or all Board of Directors monthly meetings. Read Canyon Chatter for more news about FoMC activities, programs and educational articles.

→ Canyon Chatter, July 2024 (PDF)

Hudbay Copper World Complex

The proposed massive copper mine and sulfuric acid plant, straddling both sides of the Santa Rita Mountains, present a potential threat to the natural environment. This industrial expansion into the Green Valley/Sahuarita area could disrupt the delicate ecological balance, raising serious concerns for those who value the preservation of nature in the region.
or ScenicSantaRitas.Org

Restoration at Madera Canyon

Restoration at Madera Canyon is a 9-minute video documenting the recent and largest restoration project undertaken in Madera Canyon by the FoMC and Forest Service.

→ Restoration at Madera Canyon

News from the US Forest Service (USFS)

The USFS wants to share that the USFS Madera Canyon Recreation Guide is now available online in English and Spanish.

English | Spanish

You can navigate to them (and the other guides that have been developed) on the website by selecting Visit Us > Maps & Publications and then scrolling down to "Recreation Guides."

The USFS also created a new landing page for Madera Canyon on the Forest's website. You can find it here.

You can navigate to it on the website by selecting Visit Us > Destinations > Madera Canyon