MADERA CANYON — A pair of doe deer stand stark still in the tall grasses of a woodland as a hiker passes nearby.

Songbirds warble from a perch high in a stream-side sycamore tree.

Wildflowers flutter in a breeze wafting down from the heights of the Santa Rita Mountains.


A wild bloom commonly known as a fried-egg flower for obvious reasons in Madera Canyon.

Such are the soothing sights and sounds on a June day in mile-high Madera Canyon 40 miles south of Tucson.

Because of its altitude, the canyon is cooler than Tucson but still quite warm in late spring and summer. Oak woodlands and tall, leafy sycamores provide shade, and hikers who trek into the mountains above the canyon will find even more heat relief in tall pine forests.

Bird-watchers spot an array of winged wildlife ranging from flycatchers and canyon wrens to elegant trogons. Wild turkeys show up along some trails, and hummingbirds visit feeders at the Santa Rita Lodge in the heart of the canyon.


A hummingbird hovers near a feeder in Madera Canyon. There are numerous feeders at the Santa Rita Lodge.

The canyon has two additional lodging options, a campground and picnic areas.


The 0.8-mile Accessible Trail begins at the Proctor parking area near the entrance to the canyon and offers excellent access for people with physical limitations.

The 1.8-mile Nature Trail, which begins at a parking area at the upper end of the main canyon road, offers an introduction to the area’s sights.

Hikers looking for a longer, more challenging trek might try a 10.8-mile round-trip hike on the Old Baldy Trail to the top of 9,453-foot Mount Wrightson. The route begins near the parking area at the upper end of the main canyon road.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz