Past Meetup

Santa Rita Mountains: Madera Canyon Nature Trail

This Meetup is past

14 people went


1800 West Valencia Road Tucson · Tucson, AZ

How to find us

DEPART Lowes at 10:00. Betsy and I will meet you at the trail head at 11:00

Location image of event venue


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 (,-111.00418&spn=0.002267,0.004823).

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:
WV-Mike (