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gem icon Ernst Tinaja [Suggest Edits]

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Description

This frequently-visited site sits at the entrance of a limestone canyon that is well-known for three particular features. The first is the bright, curving orange striations in the rocks. Next, are the giant oyster fossils that are found in the rock layers, followed by the tinaja itself.

The Ernst Tinaja is a 13-foot, naturally-formed rock pool which is also referred to as a "kettle". Tinajas are pools or pockets that are formed in the bedrock. This is caused by being at the base of waterfalls or by the recurring erosion from ephemeral desert streams or arroyos that carry sediment which, over time, can carve out deep shapes in the rock. The Ernst Tinaja often has a concentrated, green water in it that can be toxic if consumed. Occasionally, animals fall into these holes and are unable to get out due to the sheerness of the walls.

Past the Ernst Tinaja, that are many opportunities for bouldering up in the canyon. The sandy conditions on the rock surfaces can be slick, so be careful with your footing as you explore.

Visitors should be very aware of any chance of rain in this area. This canyon is prone to flash floods and can be extremely dangerous if there is any sort of precipitation.

Short Hike: On the park's east side, head north from the paved road on Old Ore Road for 4.5 miles. This road is suggested for high-clearance vehicles only. Look for signs for the short, 0.2-mile access road that leads to the Ernst Tinaja Primitive Roadside Campsite. Continue past the campsite for the parking area for the trailhead to Ernst Tinaja. It is about a half mile to the tinaja, for around a one mile hike in total.

Family Friendly: A short hike through an exciting canyon to a naturally-carved, rock pool. Be careful on the slick rock surfaces especially when near the tinaja.

Gem Type: Geologic Feature

Shared by:
Zander Göpfert

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Check-Ins

Feb 2, 2020
Sherry Abbot
Short hike off of the Old Ore Rd. We rode the Groms to the parking area. The Tinaja and canyon it sits in are beautiful. Easy hike.
Jan 11, 2020
Jeff G
Jan 1, 2020
Keith Rash
Dec 29, 2019
Clarissa Y.
Apr 26, 2019
Jennifer Cooper
Apr 14, 2019
Maria R
Well worth the 30-45 minute dirt road drive to this gem! Must have a 4WD vehicle with higher clearance! The hike in is short once the road ends. Go…
Mar 5, 2019
Tom Herr
My favorite hike in Big Bend. The whole walk is up a wash. Unique rock formations.
Nov 20, 2018
Ben C

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Shared by Zander Göpfert on Jul 21, 2016. All Page Views: 2,667. Last Month: 26.