Ventana is Spanish for window. Ventana Canyon is named for a large natural window through the rock high up on a ridge that borders the canyon. The hike gains 4400 ft in 6.5 miles. The early part of the hike is fairly level, following the edge of private property as the trail winds through some thick brush. The trail follows along the canyon bottom and includes quite a bit of rock-hopping and some heavy brush in this section. We got an early start (6:30 am) and were going before sunrise. The weather forecast was for a sunny, warm day, and we wanted to finish before it got too hot.
As you slowly climb with the rising canyon, you start seeing some great views both up and down the canyon. This part of the Santa Catalina’s is very rocky, with lots of granitic spires and peaks.
A few miles up the canyon, the trail begins to climb steeply. The temperature was cooler here, and the wind was very brisk. We had to keep moving to stay warm.
Near the head of the canyon, the trail contours around to the east and follows the ridge that connects to Window Peak. The walking becomes much easier once you top the ridge, passing by juniper, oak, holly and manzanita.
A small amount of climbing brings you into the pines and closer to the objective.
Window rock is just before the peak, and offers a nice spot to take a breather and look down into the canyon. Many people head back down from here. We grabbed a snack, had some water, and set off for the peak.
The trail from the window countours around the west side of the peak and crosses a saddle before heading down the Esperero. We turned north at the saddle and followed the ridge to the peak, which consists of several vertical blocks. Our destination was the one on the right.