Aug 12, 2011 9:10 AM
MADERA CANYON - The Nature Trail at Madera Canyon isn't like most nature trails. It can be narrow and rocky at times, but nothing too strenuous.
What it does feature is the 3 W's: water, wildlife and weather.
Madera Creek runs along the Nature Trail year round, sometimes at a trickle, other times flowing rapidly. The sight and the sound of it add to the serenity of a Santa Rita hike.
There's also plenty of interpretive signs for the flora, ranging from wildflowers to towering pine trees. Even though you're about 5,000 feet up, a few prickly pear cacti are found at this elevation.
While most of the flora is signed, the world-famous Madera Canyon birds are not, so grab a bird guide at the trailhead. Besides the birds, other wildlife like deer and squirrels frequent the Nature Trail.
Then there's the weather, as Madera Canyon traditionally runs about 15 degrees cooler than Tucson, making for a great escape from the desert.
The Nature Trail is about 2 miles in length, stretching from the amphitheater to the Mount Wrightson Picnic Area.
For a trail map of Madera Canyon, click here.
For Madera Canyon fee information, click here.