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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.

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Cultural History

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.

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Birding & Hiking

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.

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Contact Us

Friends of Madera Canyon
info@friendsofmaderacanyon.org
P.O. Box 1203,
Green Valley, Arizona 85622

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.

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.

FoMC Bud Gode Bug Night, Thursday, July 14,
Proctor Parking Area, Madera Canyon, 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Madera Canyon monsoon is often spectacular and many unusual wild canyon inhabitants come out after dark during the summer rains. Drive up to the canyon and join FoMC naturalist Doug Moore at Proctor to see what critters are attracted to the ultra-violet black light. Many spectacular nocturnal beetles, moths and other arthropods are only active during the summer rains.

This is an excellent opportunity to come see “what only comes out at night”! We’ll stroll around the area as it gets dark to see what’s coming out, check the “luz negra”/bug sheet, use the ultra-violet flashlight to “light-up” scorpions out hunting. More info: contact Doug maderaedu@q.com.

Open to FoMC members & the public (USFS fees & passes apply) Children 12 years old and over are welcome with parental supervision.

Splendid Royal Moth, Photo: Doug Moore

Bring:

  • Beverages to stay hydrated
  • Folding camp chair
  • Working flashlight with fresh batteries (required for each participant)
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Extra layer of clothing for weather conditions
  • Insect repellent (recommended- chiggers off trail in vegetation)

Warnings:

  1. Monsoon weather is unpredictable and fast changing so Bug Night may be cancelled up to the last minute with no prior notice (check FoMC FaceBook page for notices). Before driving up to the canyon, monitor current conditions and the local forecast/weather radar. Do NOT drive up to the canyon if the weather is questionable! Do NOT cross running washes on the road! If the weather turns inclement during the activity, we will shelter in the Patsy Proctor Ramada or vehicles until safe.
  2. Rattlesnakes and other venomous animals reside in Madera Canyon and are active at night during the monsoon season. Flashlights must be carried and used at all times; caution/care must be taken while walking about. In participating in this event, attendees acknowledge that potential dangers exists and assume all liability and responsibility if an accident occurs.
  3. Wildlife can be on the road to the canyon in late afternoon/evening/night. Please drive carefully and watch for wildlife particularly toads, snakes, geckos and other small animals. Enjoy these special animals and take care not to run them over!

Restoration at Madera Canyon, 2021-22

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.

View the video, learn more about
→ Restoration at Madera Canyon

Restoration at Madera Canyon, 2021-22

Proctor Trail Accessibility &  Memory Wall Contributions

The Proctor Accessible Trail, with a wider concrete walkway, new bridge, a beautiful stone knee wall and viewing area overlooking Madera Creek, insures access to all visitors to Madera Canyon, thanks to FoMC Friends and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Memory and Honor Wall at the trail entrance makes tribute to Volunteers and Supporters of this extraordinary place, the Santa Ritas and Madera Canyon. To arrange a tribute to your loved-one and to help support the FOMC and the Canyon, please contact FoMC Info@friendsofmaderacanyon.org.

Learn more about making a contribution via the Memory & Honor Wall →

Coati, by Doug Moore

Madera Canyon, by Doug Moore

Elegant Trogon, by Doug Moore

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, Gray Fox, Ringtail, Raccoon, Bobcat, 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.