The Ventana Canyon trail head starts at a parking lot beside the beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon resort. This video gives a fantastic aerial view of what the resort looks like (note that the trail is NOT the one where this video ends, it is to the left of that one):
The canyon is rather long, and it takes some time to make it up to the ridge. I walked for 2.75 hours up the canyon and still had about a mile to go. I didn’t have the time (nor energy) so I turned around. Even still that was just short of going four miles into the canyon, and a climb of 2200 feet above the parking lot. When you add in the up’s and down’s that’s about 2700 feet in total climbing.
Since I didn’t make it up to the ridge on this hike, I started the Google Earth video of my hike with what the view looks like from the top (GPX file available here).
And here’s the Google Earth elevation profile:Here are the panoramas I took on the hike. These are looking south towards Tucson, as the trail goes up the canyon:This is a view of the Maiden pools. A lot of people hike just up to this point on the trail:And notice the change in vegetation as you get up higher. The canyon narrows and the tweeting of birds was pretty amazing. I’m not a bird watcher, but this seemed like a great place to go if you were one.