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Ventana Canyon to the Window - Santa Catalina Mountains

Summary: Nice hike uphill (approximately 5000' elevation gain) to The Window, a small natural arch located in a fin of rock below Window Peak.
Directions: From I-10 take the Ina (pronounced eye-na) Road exit near Tucson.  Turn east onto Ina Road and follow it as it becomes Skyline Drive and then Sunrise Drive.  Turn left (north) on Kolb Road and follow the brown signs to Ventana Canyon.  The trailhead lies within property owned by The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, who are very specific about where the disreputable hikers can park and where they can walk while within their property boundary.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car - paved all the way
Navigation: Easy, well marked trail
Length: 13 miles roundtrip (according to the map, I suspect this one is a little longer however)
Date Hiked: September, 1999
Weather Conditions: Too hot - except for the top which had a nice breeze.
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the Ventana Canyon trailhead (0.0 miles), begin walking uphill.  For the first 20 minutes you will be flanked by fences posted every few feet with 'No Trespassing' signs (ahh ... the flawless aesthetic tastes of property rights advocates).  There are several stream crossings in this area though none should pose much of a problem except, perhaps, after extremely heavy rains.  As the canyon narrows the fences drop away and the trail begins climbing more steeply.   As you climb you will notice that first the buckhorn chollas cease to grow, then the saguaros and barrel cactus, which are replaced by pointleaf manzanita, scrub oak and sotol (desert spoon).  The trail follows a stream which had running water when the author did this hike (though it is probably dry most of the year).  After 2.4 miles (2.4) you will come to Malden pools (no pets allowed past this area) with opportunities for cooling off in the water (if it's flowing).   Continuing up canyon hike another 2.8 miles to a signed junction (5.2) , turn right and continue steeply uphill for the last 1.2 miles to The Window.  Eventually you will reach a flat saddle which winds among the alligator juniper towards Window Peak.  As you begin climbing again towards the peak the trail follows a ridge of rock.  Look for a   short unmarked trail on your right which branches 20 feet to The Window and some nice views back down into the canyon you followed up (6.4).  Return the way you came (12.8).
Rating (1-5 stars):
My rating of this hike is probably clouded by the fact that it was so hot the day I did this hike (105 F).  The stream provided some relief, though not enough to be comfortable.  Otherwise the hike was quite nice and remote (after the first few miles the author did not encounter any other hikers).
Maps: Santa Catalina Mountains - Rainbow Expeditions Inc.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Looking through The
Window towards the
Cathedral Rocks.