register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Window Peak via Finger Rock, AZ

no permit
41 10 0
Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson NW
4.3 of 5 by 3
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
Climb Consensus (5) → View
Difficulty 3rd
Climb G Boulder
Rock Granite Excellent
Length 10 ft 1 Pitch
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 15.65 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,060 feet
Elevation Gain 4,308 feet
Accumulated Gain 7,044 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 50.87
Interest Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
19  2016-03-16 Jim_H
8  2015-04-03 Mountain_Rat
5  2015-04-02
Catalina Trifecta II
9  2015-03-28
Kimball - Window Peak - Cathedral Trifecta
11  2014-01-14
Finger Rock Trail Mount Kimball
Author Mountain_Rat
author avatar Guides 10
Routes 91
Photos 550
Trips 192 map ( 1,893 miles )
Age 56 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:21pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
atop the world
by Mountain_Rat

Likely In-Season!
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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike & climb trip to support this local community.

2015-12-06 Mountain_Rat
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Window Peak via Finger Rock
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This was by far my largest AEG hike since May of 2012 when I was hiking Catalina SP to Mt Lemmon and back. I've come close a few times with several hikes in the mid to high 5,000' AEG range, but being well over 6,000' of AEG was a little bit of a struggle. Not going up, but down, when fatigue and the rough nature of Finger Rock's final descending switchbacks were getting really tiring. I'm tired and sore, and I wanted that.

    Matt likes this hike. I had rejected it on the basis of it being too long as recent as our last Kimball hike together, but last Friday for some reason, I had a sudden change of heart and it was getting me excited. It is long for AEG and on the higher end for miles, but very doable. The only issue is the poor condition of Finger Rock between Esperero and Pima Canyon Trails, but that is so heavily cairned you can't get lost. This is despite the feeling of it being little more than a rough game trail at times, and there actually being a few game trails that branch off from the "trail". However, those cairns will lead the way.

    I skipped Kimball, I don't consider that part of a hike to Window Peak from Finger Rock, and I was just there 5 days ago. Besides, I was tired and wanted to get down, and with the still short days and the long drive time from Phoenix, I wasn't even interested. I edited the original GPS to arrive at what appears to be an accurate route for this hike, but trimmed some AEG and miles, due to an issue near Window Peak.

    I started at 9:50 AM, was on Window by 2:22 PM, spent just over 20 minutes on the summit, and was down by 6:45 PM. Being pressed for time, I only took a few short breaks, usually for food or water. This was a goal hike as much as an enjoyment one, and so this falls into my category of being too long to be enjoyable most of the time. I had to keep moving the entire time to be done before dark. So, there were no frequent, "sit and listen breaks", or, "stop and smell the air breaks (no flowers up high)". Not a hike I would do often, as a result. Perhaps next spring, at the earliest. I am training now for a larger goal, so I was happy with this. Besides, those views from Finger Rock's back side, Window Peak's awesome summit, and most of the Esperero Trail's upper end, are totally worth the punishment this hike provided.
    Window Peak via Finger Rock
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Kimball - Window Peak - Cathedral Trifecta
    Let me start by saying that I fell short of the title, but have listed it as such for comparative. That said, I set out as prepared and confident as I could be; I was well rested, the weather was perfect, I had a full moon to assist in the predawn and evening ends of the hike, I even had a massive water cache 2/3 of the way in. I had it all covered. To put icing on the cake, I hit the TH 5 minutes early instead of my usual 15 minutes late. Topping that by bagging Kimball 1/2 hour ahead of Schedule, I had 35 minutes in reserve. The details of what happened between Kimball and Cathedral are but a haze. I was so focused on the final acquisition that I turned off all that was happening along the way. Imagine my dismay as wandered the base of that massive rock pile, after all those hours, after all those miles, after all that sweat, just to run out the clock without reaching my goal :(

    The return trip had now begun under an aire of defeat. Every mile seemed to last for hours. I crawled into my car at about 8:45 p.m. and reclined the seat, where I napped for about an hour. From there, I took myself home to sleep on the carpet (I didn't even have the energy to shower). My last thoughts as I faded into slumber were of how greatly I had failed. Somewhere in my sleep, that turned around and I awoke this morning feeling a great self-worth. I fell short of my goal today, but had made huge accomplishments, the mountain may have beat me today, but I fought it every inch of the way, and I'll be back.

    Just on the side, maybe someone can enlighten me, but aren't tooooo many cairns just not helpful? I thought that hikers built cairns to help other hikers find their way. Have you ever been to the base of Cathedral Rock? It's like a cairn farm. It's like "guess how many cairns there are per square foot and win a prize". You need a track just to get you around the cairns, or you could use the 'odd-even' cairns as your guide. I have never seen sooo many cairns on every point of the compass... end rant. Goodnight. :D
    Window Peak via Finger Rock
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Packed up with water and took a stroll. My primary mission is always to burn the day away hiking. Mission 1 accomplished. My secondary goal was to drop a stash of water near Window Peak to facilitate an upcoming run to Cathedral Rock. Great hike on my favorite trails. I hope my stash is still there Friday.
    Window Peak via Finger Rock
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    A great end to my weekend. Met John at the TH around 8 and we set out under overcast an sky. John was pretty lethargic, but I didn't let him slow me down too much. I just kept prodding him along. Well, that might not be completely accurate, but I kinda like the way it sounds. Anywho, this one destroyed me, but will certainly be memorable. John took it easy on me, allowing me to drag the out the accent, however, the decent was more a trail run than anything. Thanks for the company John. Again sometime. By the way, I've ordered my Fenix...

    and now :stretch:
    Window Peak via Finger Rock
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Just found this one on the GPS. Excellent hike. My main goal was to bag the entire Finger Rock Trail then I couldn't resist the short trot to The Window from there. The Finger Rock vanishes not far from it's junction with the Pima Trail, showing itself once again a few hundred meters before meeting the Ventana & Esperero. Though little sign of a trail exists, it's a pretty easy bushwack if you keep an eye on the huge spires ahead. The initial 4 miles of the Finger Rock (both up and down) are brutal, while the rest of this trek are relaxing and breathtaking. This is one to put on your list.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Finger Rock Trailhead
    To reach the Finger Rock trailhead parking area from anywhere in Tucson, get to Ina road and follow it east until it becomes Skyline. Where Sunrise and Skyline diverge, enter the turn bay and turn left onto the continuation of Skyline. Follow Skyline until you reach north Alvernon and turn left (north). The turn at Alvernon is marked by a sign for the Finger Rock trailhead. Follow Alvernon north for just under a mile and the trailhead parking area will appear on the left (west).

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 112 mi - about 1 hour 49 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 10.2 mi - about 24 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 256 mi - about 3 hours 54 mins
    page created by Mountain_Rat on Dec 06 2015 5:50 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker