atop the world
Yes, I’m aware that there are easier ways to get there, but me, I like it Finger Rock style. Just for starters, I’m hooked on Finger Rocks relentless ascent. Once topping out at the junction with the Pima Canyon trail, you’re about half way to Window Peak and it’s time to take a little side trip to bag Mount Kimball. No, this is not optional! It’s part of the hike. It’s a short, 1 mile round trip which offers a nice interim reward.
Up to this point the trail is very well traveled and clear, but the remaining 1.6 miles of the Finger Rock trail can get a bit tricky. If you use a GPS, then a track will get you there no problem, otherwise, go when the grasses are low and you’ll surely see the trail or at least the cairns. This mid section is really quite nice, giving a great feeling of solitude as you sashay through pine and oak across the top of Ventana Canyon.
Upon reaching the junction with the Ventana Canyon and Esperero trails, it might be a good opportunity to take a break, as it’s all uphill from here. You immediately begin to climb as you head north on the Esperero. This ends soon enough as you turn east along the much gentler slope which draws you up into the spires you’ve been so intent on.
GPS signals on this final section are erratic, but my best guess is that the Window itself is about 8 miles in to your journey. From here, your views are very limited, but very spectacular. This is the kind of view I could wake to each morning in great awe. Take a good look around and get a move on, ‘cuz the prize is waiting a mere 1/3 mile away. This is where you need to start paying attention to where you’re at. Shortly after you visit to the Window, you’ll head east, passing from the north side of the spires to the south side where Tucson will be in view. As you arc, gradually from east to north, you’ll come upon a saddle which offers some of the finest views in all of the Catalina range. In my opinion, this is already the goal, but Window Peak is but a stones throw up and to the west. It took me twice to find the actual peak in that the first time I had no GPS track. The second time, I had a track, but still had to figure out just where it was. This isn’t a peak in the typical sense. It’s a boulder scramble (though be it very simple) in the end. The views here are again quite limited, but give you the most lofty feeling. You truly feel atop the world here.
Once you decide your time is done, recline your seat and relax. You’ve already gained about 5,900’ of elevation, but have less than 1,200 to go in the entire trip back.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.