This oak-shaded area provides the only campsites available within the Madera Canyon Recreation Area. During the off-season, you can usually get a site here without much trouble. Once the incredible variety of birds for which this area is widely known arrives in early spring and the wildflowers begin carpeting the slopes of the deserts and canyons, this humble campground becomes prime real estate. If that is when you would like to visit, you would be well advised to arrive early on a weekday to have the best chance of getting a site.
Madera Canyon is known as one of the prime birding areas in the nation, but that is not all there is to do. For one thing, some exceptional scenery is yours to be enjoyed, to visit nearby springs and seeps and the small desert oases they nourish. At Madera Picnic Area, just a short walk away, there is access to a nature trail, part of which is paved and barrier-free. Within driving distance, there are over 65 miles of Forest trails that lead into the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness, a mountain bike ride around spectacular Elephant Head Rock, and three scenic drives, one of which visits a world-famous observatory.
LOCATION: 49 miles south of Tucson in Madera Canyon of the Santa Rita Mountains.
ACCESS: Drive south from Tucson on I-19 to the Continental Road/Madera Canyon Exit 63. Turn east and follow the Madera Canyon signs 12.5 miles to the campground. The entire route is paved.
ELEVATION: 5,200 feet
• World famous birdwatching
• 13 campsites with tables and fire grills
• Marvelous scenery
• Drinking water available
• Forest Trails
• Douglas-fir stands/alpine forest
• Paved access
• Streamside nature trail
• Shaded sites
FEE: $x0.00 per vehicle for camping or picnicking.
• No RV hook-ups. The maximum vehicle length is 22 feet.
• Pets must be on a leash.
• Firewood is not available. Bring your own firewood, charcoal, or a camp stove for cooking.
• Bring a few extra garbage bags, too. You will want to leave this outstanding area in as good or even better condition than it was when you arrived.
• Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in the campground.
• Nearest medical facilities and additional supplies are at Green Valley.