The Whitehouse area is named for the nearby ruins of an old white adobe house built at the mouth of Madera Canyon in the 1880s. Tables and charcoal grills here are tucked under mesquite and oak trees a short distance from Madera Creek. Facilities include a large ramada for group get-togethers in addition to the single table sites.
Wildlife watching tops the menu at Whitehouse. The Madera Nature Trail, portions of which are paved and barrier-free, leads from the picnic area into nearby mesquite and oak woodland and sycamore-shaded riparian area. This trail actually stretches from Proctor Trailhead, a short distance down-canyon from Whitehouse Picnic Area, to Roundup Picnic Area at the end of the Madera Canyon Road. Since it was built a bit at a time, tread surface and interpretive features vary along its length. Coues white-tailed deer regularly browse within sight of it, barely taking notice of the presence of nature lovers focusing binoculars and clicking cameras just a few feet away. An overlook of Madera Creek provides opportunities to view more secretive species such as javelina and coatimundi as they stop for a drink. Along the two paved loops of the trail, which the Green Valley Hiking Club helped construct, there are interpretive signs in English and Spanish pointing out historic sites and other points of interest. Trailside wooden benches provide opportunities for more leisurely contemplation.
Interpretive signs along the Madera Nature Trail are maintained by the Friends of Madera Canyon, a hard-working group of volunteers dedicated to keeping this area as clean and inviting as possible.
LOCATION: 48.5 miles south of Tucson in the beautiful Madera Canyon of the Santa Rita Mountains.
• Drive south from Tucson on I-19 to the Continental Road/Madera Canyon Exit 63.
• Turn east and follow the signs 12 miles to scenic Madera Canyon and the picnic area. The entire route is paved.
ELEVATION: 4,600 feet.
• Mountain & desert views
• Paved nature trail
• Wildlife watching
• 5 individual sites with tables and fire grills
• Historic sites 7 tables under a large ramada
• Nature walk
• Drinking fountain, toilets, and some tables are barrier-free.
• No reservations for the group ramada. First come, first served. At 50 people, it is crowded.
• Pets must be on a leash.
• Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in the picnic area.
• Firewood is not available. Bring your own wood or bring charcoal or a camp stove for cooking.
• Nearest medical facilities and additional supplies are at Green Valley.
• On-site trail maps and interpretive materials are provided by the Friends of Madera Canyon.