Hike | Ventana Trail | Tucson

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Trail Stats

  • Length:  4.8 miles (to Maiden Pools and 12.3 miles to The Window) round trip
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Trailhead Elevation:  2,950 ft.
  • Gain/Loss:  +1290 ft.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dog Friendly: No

Trail Description

Ventana Trail is a uniquely placed hike (trailhead is located in a resort parking lot) that has tons to offer.  I recommend this hike to hikers who want a workout, views of the canyon and Tucson, or those who wish to explore the beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountain Range.

The route up Ventana Canyon leads to “The Window,” presenting memorable views of sheer canyon walls and a steadily broadening panorama along the way. The stream that the trail follows for much of this route is dry most of the year, but you can usually find water in some of its pools during the spring and early summer. The riparian habitat it nourishes provides good birdwatching. The trail becomes steadily more difficult to follow as it climbs farther from the trailhead and higher up the canyon. As you climb, occasional pools and widening vistas provide reasons to stop, take a breather and look around. The Window comes into view well before you get to it, as does the 100-foot drop at its base.

The canyon floor is lush with Sonoran Desert landscape.  You will cross the stream several times before ascending up the steep canyon switchbacks that seem never ending.  From the switchbacks you will reach Maiden Pools which was my turnaround spot (we started really late and actually night hiked back).  If you continue on the trail it leads to "The Window" which will be posted when I go back for round two and complete that section.

This hike is one of the more beautiful canyon trails in the Santa Catalina's.  My wife and I completed this hike starting at around 5 p.m. and coming back after dark.  We got rained on in the dark which was truly a fantastic sight watching the city light up in the distance.  I recommend hiking to Maiden Pools if you are in good shape and to "The Window" if you are in really good shape.  Finding the trailhead was interesting as you have to enter the resort, turn west, and follow the signs to the back portion of the lot where the trailhead begins.

Hiking tips

  • Parking is free
  • The hike is enjoyable yet offers a challenging uphill stretch of trail.
  • Make sure to park in the designated trailhead parking area located in the back corner (there are signs) of the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
  • Allow time for several rests as you ascend up the canyon
  • There is potential that you may get your feet wet because you cross the creek several times.

Map to trailhead

Directions: From Tanque Verde Road in Tucson turn north on Sabino Canyon Road and follow it 4 miles to the junction with Sunrise Road before the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Turn left (west) here and drive about a mile to Kolb Road. Turn north, to Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort on Kolb Road and park in the employee parking lot west of the main resort.  The trailhead starts at the end of the employee parking lot.  You will follow the trail around the back side of the apartments.  From the back edge of the apartments it will turn right heading north down through a wash and into the main canyon.  It will keep going north alongside the creek for miles and up into the mountains.

 

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TucsonCameron JarmanComment