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Ventana Canyon

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A strenuous hike to a granite arch that overlooks the city
Near:Tucson, AZ
Distance:12.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:4260 ft
Hike Time:7.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: The steep trail up Ventana Canyon ends at the Window; a 15 by 25 foot arch at the top of one of the peaks in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The trail follows the length of the canyon between sheer cliffs with a continually expanding panoramic view of the Tucson valley below. As you climb higher into the canyon the trail becomes increasingly more difficult to follow through the thick overgrowth. The trail follows a stream bed most of the way. It is dry for the better part of the year, but water can be found in several pools through early summer. One of the larger systems of pools, the Maiden Pools, has pools large enough to swim in. At about 2-miles to go, the Window pops into view as you approach a clearing in the trees. Beyond this point is the most difficult part of the hike. Steep terrain and difficult trail finding are required before you can enjoy the incredible vistas through the Window.

Trailhead: In Tucson, starting at the intersection of Speedway and Wilmot, follow Wilmot North. Wilmot Road turns into Tanque Verde at Pima Road. Follow Tanque Verde to Sabino Canyon Road. Turn left on Sabino Canyon Road and follow for 3.7 miles to Kolb Road. Turn left on Kolb and follow until you reach the Lowe's Ventana Canyon Resort. Enter the resort and look for the employee parking lot and a sign for the trailhead. There is a small parking lot near the trailhead. (Lat:32.32928 Lon:-110.85656)
Trail Guides for Ventana Canyon:
Tucson Hiking Guide
by Betty Leavengood (Pruett Publishing Company)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Santa Catalina Ranger District (520) 749-8700
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rob Brinkerhoff, who has posted  33 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 5   Submit your own review
Reviewed by JMD on 3/20/2016
This is a trail that generally follows a riverbed made challenging by so many of the boulders, which have found their way down through seismic events. March is an especially rewarding time to hike it because you experience, over a few weeks, the land's transition from green to brown. No need to push yourself too hard. You can always turn around. I made it to the Maiden Ponds after three tries. I hope to make it to the Window by the end of the month. Trekking poles are a great help.

Reviewed by Rachel on 9/1/2015
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Reviewed by AZDean on 6/13/2013
Ventana canyon is a beautiful place but that canyon is quite long and it tends to wear you out, so I think most people only trek up to Maiden pools. At least I didn't make it up to the saddle, so I'll have to try again when it gets cooler (and I lose some more weight). I've posted a Google Earth video and panoramic photos of my hike though at:

Reviewed by Chris on 1/30/2013
Hiked this on Jan 29th after a few days of rain. A beautiful hike with the sound of falling water most of the way. Trailfinding was easy - it is well worn now. The Window itself I found a little underwhelming, but if you hike past The Window and go up to Window Peak, a bit of scrambling will give you unbelievable 360 degree views. I found this hike a little easier than Mt Kimball via Finger Rock Canyon - it's not so relentlessly steep and gives you a chance to stretch your legs on the flat between climbs.

Reviewed by MLT on 5/12/2012
What a great hike! It was so fun! I definitely didn't bring enough water so make sure you bring more water than you think you need.

Reviewed by Tricia on 4/16/2012
First time hiked to The Window. Beautiful day. Pink flowers along trail beautiful. Trail easy to follow. Snow present at backside of Window. Will repeat this hike soon. Tricia S.

Reviewed by JT on 2/5/2012
meant to add a few more things to my previous review 1) our GPS (iphone's Accuterra app) gave the roundtrip hike as 11.8miles 2) we are training for a Grand Canyon hike later this spring Before our training started or if we were not trying to push the pace, it would have taken us longer than 7 hours, probably significantly more 3) add "of water" after "150oz"

Reviewed by JT on 2/5/2012
Did the hike with my 12yr old son and really enjoyed it. It was his longest hike to date and he did great though it was a pretty intense climb. It took us 7 hours and we were spent when it was over. My favorite section was the ridgeline after the Finger Rock/Esperero trail market and the final climb to reach Window Rock. We brought 150oz between the two of us and used it all. We would have needed more if we hadn't got an early start and hiked up mostly in cooler weather.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Arizona Hiking, Arizona Trails, Arizona Hikes, Pima County Hiking, Pima County Trails, Pima County Hikes

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