Santa Rita Mountains: Madera Canyon Nature Trail

  • March 3, 2013 · 10:00 AM

Length: 7.5 mi Round Trip
Start El 4480'
End El 5400'
El Gain 1000'
* Rated "C" or "Intermediate"
** No dogs please

DEPART Lowes at 10:00
Hike STARTS at 11:00

If you wish to car pool a convenient location to meet is at the  Lowes on Valencia.
Park in the southest corner of the lot. A location map is here.

Or, you can meet us at the Proctor trail head for an 11:00 hike start.
The Proctor parking lot is the first one when you enter Madera Canyon. It is just beyond the fee/info station. Rest rooms and maps are available here.

The trail head is approximately 1 hour/40 miles south of Tucson.
There is a Google route map here.

*There is an option for a  shorter 4 mile round trip hike. Contact me for more info.

A Madera Canyon Trail Map is here. It is a printable PDF

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Madera Canyon is a fee area - $5.00 per car or Federal pass
These fees for recreational use will hopefully allow
the Forest Service to continue to subsidize grazing
leases and timber sales at their present generous levels.

Links with more info:
FAQ - Passes, Permits & Fees
Fees no longer collected for ...
------------------------------------------------------------------

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This hike starts at the mouth of world famous Madera Canyon. This is a north facing canyon so it is relatively shady and cool. Especially when compared to the open desert. This, coupled with the elevation make it a summer haven for those in the greater Tucson area.
The canyon is also home to many species of birds which brings people in from all over for bird watching trips.

The beginning of the hike starts with the ADA trail which is a gentle grade and partially paved. It winds along the creek through a forest of 100+ year old Oak trees and ancient Alligator Juniper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young hiker and old Alligator Juniper


Where the ADA trail ends the path turns to packed soil with some areas of both loose and embedded rock.

As the trail continues up the canyon and along the creek it now passes by giant boulders, big Arizona Sycamores  and more old oaks and junipers until it reaches the Amphitheater.
We have now hiked 2 miles up the Canyon. We will take a brief break at the Amphitheater. **Those wishing to make this a shorter hike can turn around at this point and return to the Proctor parking lot and trail head where we started the hike.

From the Amphitheater the trail ascends via a series of switch-backs then levels out a bit. On this section we will have commanding views of the canyon as well as Mt Wrightson, AKA "Old Baldy". Wrightson is the highest peak in the Santa Ritas and tops out at 9453'. This is 400' higher than well known Mt Lemmon in the Catalina Mts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will be our view of Mt Wrightson from the trail

This section of the trail has more loose and embedded rock on the trail, but nothing too rugged. There are a few step-ups, but none are severe.

After about 3.6 miles we will arrive at the Roundup picnic area.
This will be our lunch break. Depending on how busy it is we may or may not get a picnic table to ourselves.
There are restrooms here as well but no water.

When everyone is ready we will head back down the canyon via the same route.

Be sure to bring adequate water and snacks.

As always - Hike at Your Own Risk

If you are new to the group please read these:

About the Tucson Hiking Meetup Group
Tucson Hiking Meetup Group - No Show Policy
Tips for Beginning Hikers - Sierra Club

Hike Rating Scale


If you have questions or need to reach me:
Cell:[masked]
WV-Mike

 

Join or login to comment.

  • SaMaNtHa

    Looks like it was fun! I was sick on Sunday so I had to change my rsvp last min which I do not like to do. I will keep a lookout for more weekend hikes at 10 or later!

    March 5, 2013

  • Kevin

    The hike was great, perfect temperature, good group of people Thanks Mike!

    March 5, 2013

  • Sue

    What a great day in every sense! Thanks Mike, I won't get to hike again with you until you're back next year but I already look forward to it! Have a fabulous summer.

    March 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great hike today & the weathr was perfect for this. Great bunch of people and I had a great time. Thanks again Mike.

    March 3, 2013

  • Joy

    Beautiful hike, perfect weather and great company ... doesn't get much better than this! Thanks Mike :-)

    March 3, 2013

  • Michelle B.

    As always, great time with a great group of people. Thanks again Mike!

    March 3, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Madera is beautiful!
    What a warm and wonderful day.
    Thanks, everyone.

    March 3, 2013

  • SaMaNtHa

    It's 3am and I'm pretty sure I got food poisoning. :( I hate to change plans but I gotta take care of myself. I hope to meet some peeps at next Friday's Sabino hike.

    March 3, 2013

  • Venus

    Ladt minutes other even came up. Happy trail!

    March 2, 2013

  • Adriano s.

    I will be at the Lowes parking lot at 10:00. I drive a Jeep and I can drive.

    March 2, 2013

  • Kaye

    I would like to carpool to the trail head if anyone is interested let me know.

    February 19, 2013

    • Britton

      I will be at the lowes as well

      March 2, 2013

    • Joy

      I will be at Lowes. I drive a red Toyota Corolla

      March 2, 2013

  • Kevin

    we will meet you at the trailhead

    March 2, 2013

  • SaMaNtHa

    I'll be meeting you folks up at the trailhead. Since I'm new here, you can identify me as the one wearing a DEVO shirt (New Wave band from the 80's). I'll also Keep Mike's number on hand to make sure I find y'all.

    March 2, 2013

  • Dana Maria M.

    Came down with a bad cold this week. I wont be able to make it.

    March 2, 2013

    • Mike B.

      Hope you are feeling better soon!

      March 2, 2013

  • Sue

    I would like to car pool and I have a park pass. I don't think I know most of you so I hope I can find you at Loews!

    March 1, 2013

  • Al H.

    An opportunity came up that I need to follow through on. I've done this hike many times and know everyone will enjoy themselves!

    February 25, 2013

  • Roger N.

    Have a MC Ride that day ...

    February 25, 2013

  • Kaye

    Unfortunately I have obligations on the 3rd. Have a wonderful day and I will catch you all next time!

    February 23, 2013

  • SaMaNtHa

    Hey! It's a weekend hike that is not too early! Count me in!

    February 22, 2013

  • Gail B.

    Darn it, I am busy on the 3rd, so I need to cancel.

    February 20, 2013

    • Mike B.

      Next time...

      February 21, 2013

  • Claire

    Sorry, I will have bigger fish to fry (or hike). Will be hiking The Canyon then.

    February 20, 2013

  • Joy

    I would also like to carpool. Looking forward to it!

    February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Now that the date is changed, I can't go the next Sunday but have been before and enjoyed that area very much. Hope you all have a great time.

    February 20, 2013

  • Kaye

    I will drive from Lowes and have room for three passengers. I am with Gail, though, if it is raining I won't go. Hopefully it will be a beautiful day!

    February 20, 2013

  • Dana Maria M.

    I would not mind taking a couple of passengers...

    February 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hopefully the weather is good and we can all meet and see how many vehicles we need to use.

      February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would also like to carpool.

    February 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Sounds good, Gail.

      February 20, 2013

  • Gail B.

    Let's just meet at 10:00 and then we can arrange car pooling. If it is raining when I leave my house, I will cancel.

    February 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just me

    February 20, 2013

  • Claire

    Carpooling for me too.

    February 20, 2013

  • Gail B.

    I will be happy to carpool also.

    February 19, 2013

  • jill g.

    I would love to carpool as a passenger if anyone has room!i used to hike MR often and haven't been down in awhile. Sounds like a great time.

    February 19, 2013

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