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Ventana Canyon

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Highlights:

A strenuous hike to a granite arch that overlooks the city
Near:Tucson, AZ
Scenery:
Distance:12.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:4260 ft
Hike Time:7.5 hours
Difficulty:Strenuous
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 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: http://tucsonhikes.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/ventana-canyon-trail

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.

Reviewed by Catalina Hiker on 1/8/2012
Just hiked to the Window again and the trail is still easy to follow. Based upon my gps, the round trip mileage was only 12.3 miles, but I know that much of the route above Maiden Pools has been rerouted due to the soil erosion from the Aspen fire. The trail is definitely steeper in spots due to the erosion, but never too crazy. It's definitely not a beginner hike, but for people experienced with following trails and rock cairns, it's not difficult. As for travel times, 7.5hrs is not unreasonable. I did it in under 6 hours round trip, since it is part of my training. The crowds all converge at Maiden Pools and you only see a couple of people above that landmark. Great trail to enjoy this time of year.

Reviewed by ms on 1/6/2012
Well, this is a VERY difficult trail. Bolder-strewn, steep, VERYsteep towards the end, and a lot longer than advertised. also, it is completely unsigned once you pass the trail head. you have no way to know how far you have gone. There are several sections with pools. which one is the maiden pools? also, do include the .5 mile from the parking lot to the trailhead! Whatever water you think you will use, double it! if you are going to the window, plan 10 hours at least. anyone that makes it in 7.5 is in GREAT shape, or a LIAR! Beautiful views from the window, but the sad realization of the descent to come takes away much of the reward. a better trip: hike for an hour from the trailhead, have lunch, hike back, enjoy the rest of your day!


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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