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Santa Rita Lodge
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Reviews (151)
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Reviewed September 23, 2011

We stayed here a couple of days in August do do some birding. The location is great, I think it's actually in Coronado National Forest. There is even a hiking trail just across the creek.

We stayed in cabin #1 which I guess is the best one, on the end with a bit more privacy than the rest. The cabin was clean & comfortable, albeit admittedly rustic. It has a great private deck in back overlooking a creek and had it's own hummingbird feeder. The kitchen was equipped with a table, dorm size fridge, sink and hot plates. We had no trouble heating up some cans of corn and beans. There was not very much in the way of cooking pots, utensils or silverware, but we did okay. There is a small TV and you can borrow DVDs at the gift shop for free.

The gift shop has lots of cool things; books, t-shirts, hats, etc... I bought a small hummingbird feeder and t-shirt there. They also had a few soft drinks and frozen snacks. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Their hours appeared somewhat limited. One of the owners is there overnight when he is not working as a fireman and I think there was someone else available when he wasn't there but I was unclear about that.

The place is a little quirky but all in all it is quiet, comfortable, very near hiking trails and a great location for birders.

Room Tip: Cabins are more private. Cabin 1 is best.
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TrippinSue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2011

Madera Canyon is a beautiful place with incredible wildlife - reptiles, birds, bugs, and plants. I have come here numerous times although I live in central California. I will return again, but will likely look for another place to stay. The people who ran the place seemed nice, but the facility and service was not adequate.
When we first arrived, we realized the reservation was not right. I had made the reservation for three adults and three beds and had confirmed, but when we got there the cabin had two beds. It was probably an honest mistake, but of the six places we stayed in Arizona on a birding trip it was the only one that made that mistake. Staff was friendly and got a cot for one of us, but it was noisy and not as comfortable as a bed. We were not given enough bedding for the bed, the sleeper sofa and the cot. The bathroom smelled like they were having issues with the septic tank so we kept the door closed to keep the stink out of the cabin. The kitchen was not adequate with a small fridge that froze items not in the freezer. The cooking was on a dual hotplate device! The only food item kept in the kitchen was salt (not even spices or oil!). The cabin was cramped and sparsely furnished. This cabin was not comparable to other cabins and cottages we have stayed in southeastern Arizona. This is too bad since I love the location.
On the plus side, they are doing some building, and the staff seemed disorganized rather than malicious. The canyon itself offered us great hiking and incredible birds, including an Aztec Thrush! We ran into other birders, and bug enthusiasts who had put out lights at night to attract bugs and then were great about showing us the bugs, and sharing their knowledge. It was still a good visit to Madera Canyon.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank centralcoastguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2010

Lovely cabins in the Santa RIta mountains, rooms were perfect with kitchenetts, since there is no food/breakfast in the canyon. Front office staff very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank TexasEagle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2010

Well "quiet" if you're there other than a peak birding season, otherwise it gets pretty busy during the day with all the birders stopping by for a look. You probably can't get a reservation then anyway.

I've been staying here for 20 years. These are cabins and small motel style rooms up a mountain road south of Tuscon. It is a well developed little piece of the Coronado national forest, with many hiking trails. Madera Canyon and the SRL are famous in birding circles - if you're a birder you probably know about it already.

As others have said, it is a beautiful and somewhat isolated area. There is a lot of wildlife. I"ve seen a number of species of owls right at the lodge. I hike a lot and the Santa Ritas abound with possibilities.

If you stay here you want to bring and cook your own food - it's a long drive into town for mediocre restaurants. But the kitchens are well furnished and the cabins pleasant with wood panelling. Forget about the TV but who comes to a place like this to watch TV? Much of the year there is a babbling brook behind the cabins but was dry this year. They sycamores are ghostly if you're there in full moon. If it's dark I like to drive down to the parking area at the bottom of the canyon to look at the stars after dinner.

The rooms are a tad chilly in the winter and its a bit hard cooking on the electric hotplates - they used to have propane for both but not now. Once we had a scorpion in the bathtub. This is not a big city motel. But we love it and consider the Santa Rita Lodge one of the best reasons to visit Tucson.

Speaking of which, its about 50 minutes from the Lodge to the airport, and when you're coming to the lodge, there's a good supermarket at the exit from the Interstate.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank mojave_ben
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2009

Can't say enough about this place. Generally, if we want a quick one-night getaway from Tucson & can choose between Patagonia, Bisbee, or Phoenix, we'll likely pick Santa Rita Lodge. To my thinking, it's the nicest of the 3 choices in Madera Canyon. If you go, Cabin 1 is the one to try to book. When we arrived & took a quick survey, we asked to be switched to it & I'm SO glad we did - it made the trip. It's on the end next to the animal & bird feeding/bathing areas, so you are literally immersed in the animal's world - not the other way around, for a change! I'll start with the cabin. It's a large room with a big bed & couch, with a huge picture window over each. The window over the couch looks out to the creek bed area behind. These cabins are clean, airy & very bright with light pouring in from the windows. The eat-in kitchenette is well-equipped & we had a nice dinner there with food we brought (your only option, unless you want to drive the 20 min. back to Green Valley for a restaurant). There is a front porch complete with a swing & also a rear deck, both great places to watch the wildlife from. You can even watch from the couch inside if you're lazy!

We have never seen so many birds, thanks to their feeders galore. My husband spotted several new birds for his list. They are everywhere, and even for a non-birder like me it was totally fascinating to watch them & their feeding habits. There's also a flock of resident wild turkeys, one of which came right up to me on the porch swing & tried to peck at my camera! (When I moved it away, he lost interest & wandered off.) I had never seen turkeys up close before or realized how beautifufully iridescent their feathers are. The best part was watching all the creatures from birds to turkeys to squirrels to a deer doing acrobatics to get to the food in the middle hanging feeder. The turkey jumped straight up in the air (hilarious), the deer was on its hind legs, and the squirrel looked as if it were one of the flying variety, the way it leapt thru mid-air from the post to the feeder!

There is great hiking starting directly behind the cabins on the other side of the creek bed, and the trails wind for miles & miles, eventually climbing up & over the mountains. There is a gift shop onsite where we bought another hummingbird feeder (A-1, the best brand!), postcards, etc. They have a selection of DVDs you can borrow from & watch when it gets too dark to see the animals anymore (you'll want to take advantage of this when you check in, as they don't have cable & only get a few stations up there).

This place was the most bang-for-the-buck we've gotten in an overnight stay. We were there about 20 hours but it felt like a much longer, fully relaxing vacation. Can't wait to visit again someday.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank vacationveterans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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