With lofty mountain peaks, forested slopes, seasonal streams, and an amazing variety of plants and wildlife, Madera Canyon has become a popular recreational destination. Madera's hiking trails are applauded throughout the Southwest, and vary from paved, handicap-accessible trails and gentle walking paths in the lower canyon, to steep, expert trails leading to the top of 9,453-foot Mt. Wrightson. Southeastern Arizona, with Madera Canyon at its heart, is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. With fifteen species of hummingbirds, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Flame-colored Tanager, 36 species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented, it is a "required" site for all serious birders. It is unusual to spend any time in Madera Canyon without seeing signs of wildlife. White-tailed and Mule Deer, rabbits, Wild Turkeys, and squirrels are regularly observed. Other animals like Black Bear, Coati, foxes, Ring-tailed Cats, Raccoons, Bobcats, and Mountain Lion are more shy and only occasionally seen. Sixteen species of bats have been recorded in the Canyon. Because Madera Canyon and Madera Creek traverse four life zones and many habitats between the desert floor and the mountaintops, the Santa Rita Mountains in which Madera Canyon resides, has become a world-famous sky island known for its unique and abundant flora and fauna - from Prickly-Pear cactus in the lower Canyon to Douglas Fir and Quaking Aspen on Mt. Wrightson.
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