Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Ernst Tinaja Trail is a 1.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bend National Park, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round.

Length 1.9 mi Elevation gain 131 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Camping

Hiking

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

1.4 miles roundtrip. A short walk up a sandy wash leads to a canyon of highly-convoluted rock layers. A short walk up a sandy wash leads to a canyon of highly-convoluted rock layers. The large natural tinaja holds water all year long. Be careful near the tinaja's edge. Over the years deer, javelina, and even mountain lions have been found drowned in this tinaja. The trailhead is located off the Old Ore Road, 5 miles from the southern end near Rio Grande Village. High clearance vehicles are necessary to reach this enjoyable trail. A primitive campsite is located near the trailhead.

PO Box 129 Big Bend National Park, TX 79834 Visitor Information (432) 477-2251 Weather Information Hotline (432) 477-1183

Directions from Rio Grande Village: Travel 5 miles along Old Ore Road

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (66)
Photos (36)
Recordings (36)
Completed (143)
Jess Mooney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Mar 22 2020

watch for dead animals trapped in the tinajas during the wet season. it's not uncommon to find drowned mammals. the stone formations from the water spills are beautiful and show some of the more uniquely changeable elements of the territory. easy for kids

Jess Mooney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Mar 22 2020

watch for dead animals trapped in the tinajas during the wet season. it's not uncommon to find drowned mammals. the stone formations from the water spills are beautiful and show some of the more uniquely changeable elements of the territory. easy for kids

AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jan 30 2020
Hiking

Easy trail to a beautiful place. Ernst Tinaja is the largest of three waterholes that formed in the massive limestone floor. I read that geologic faulting formed a spring that keeps the tinajas filled. There are certainly signs of faulting all around – the jagged and changing geology testifies to this! We went midday and it wasn’t the best for taking photos so go early or later in afternoon. Need 4 wheel drive or a motorcycle to get to the parking lot. My husband and I rode motorcycles. Ore Road is a 26 mile challenge.

Julie Lundy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jan 02 2020
Hiking

This was a great trail with kids. Neat to see the water holes and lots of rocks to scramble over and around. There were also good views looking back out the canyon.

View Julie's Recording
t m.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jan 01 2020
Hiking

Great hike One of the best out here.

View t's Recording
Clarissa Yablinsky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Dec 29 2019
HikingRockyScramble
View Clarissa's Recording
Nikki Hartman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Dec 06 2019
Hiking

Easy hike with some fun rocks to climb. We saw hundreds of butterflies!! Watched them puddling for a long time, absolutely amazing!!! The drive to get their was fun and adventurous too!

J H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Dec 05 2019

Came in early December. Short but stunning. Worth the rough road drive to reach. Amazing variety of rock formations, colors and textures. Only a few traces of water.

Taylor Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Dec 04 2019
Hiking

I've done this trail before and I loved it. Wanted to see what is past the end of the marked route. It's pretty but there are no more big rock formations after the canyon turns left and the last big pool

View Taylor's Recording
Ian Perry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Nov 28 2019
Hiking

To the tinaja it may be a short hike, but I would recommend hiking all the way through the canyon to the wide valley beyond, which must be about another mile. My 8 and 11 yr old kids loved this hike as it has tons of rocks to climb over and even some places that I’ve seen people bouldering. Lots of rock climbing to do along this beautiful tight canyon. The rock formations at the beginning are amazing. It seems like it would be a great place to have a class on geology.

Katrina Prout
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Nov 15 2019
Hiking

We stayed at the adjoining primitive roadside campsite, and decided to do this trail when we woke up. Not sure we would of ever found this trail if we hadn’t! It was beautiful, and we continued on past the tinaja a ways before turning back. Seems like you can go for at least another mile or two though the canyon. Over all, it was gorgeous and I think a must do here in Big Bend.

Mandy H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Nov 02 2019
Hiking

Easy but beautiful and interesting short hike. Be sure you have an AWD and high-clearance vehicle you get here. Worth the slow drive in!

Sam Vandewater
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 19 2019
HikingNo shade

Short, but great for exploring.

Crystal Daniel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Mar 13 2019
Hiking

Luckily we camped at the primitive campsite right next to this or we would have probably never ventured down the long gravel road to get to this trail! So glad we did because this was a hidden gem! Road says 4 wheel drive recommended but it’s definitely not necessary as long as it’s dry! Gorgeous and super cool layered rock canyon!

Christy Bormann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Mar 08 2019
Hiking

Awesome short hike. Ask park rangers at the visitors center before you make the drive. They will have current conditions of old ore road and can tell you if your specific vehicle can safely make the trip. We did see a good sized rattle snake so pay attention while you're hiking. Visited Juan and the nearby cemetery. Both cool stops!

Michael Klein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Sep 24 2018

Seen it wet and dry - very neat formations

Amber M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 17 2018

Our favorite short hike in BBNP. Everyone warns of drive there but we come up Old Ore from the south headed north in small SUV and have never had issues getting to trail head. Color and rock formations are amazing. Did the hike 12 years ago with a baby in my backpack carrier, a 5 year old and 6 year old. Did it again several times since, Easy hike and well worth it. Most people stop at the tinaja but with a little bouldering you can go pretty far further. Watch hand placement as always, we did see a gorgeous blacktail rattlesnake on the cliffs while night hiking here. Make sure to stop at Juan's gravesite on the drive in to pay respects. Just north past the trailhead on Old Ore you can follow a dry creek to a small cemetery with about a dozen gravesites not marked on many maps.

Katie Thornton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Mar 18 2018

This was a fun hike for the kids. Lots of big rocks to climb over. Started to get a little warm in the afternoon sun but that is to be expected

Conley Vicki
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Feb 02 2018

Really surprised at the end. The rock formations out shown the water hole in the rocks. Stunning and intriguing.

Amanda Nelson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Dec 25 2017
Hiking

I walked in from the south as an adventure through the desert. Glad I did; a normal sedan would have a difficult time not ending up with damage. Worth the extra few miles each way really. Good luck to the dude in the rental mini van I saw headed in.

Phil Tomlinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 02 2017
Hiking

Interesting rock formations and terrain. Just my son Matt and I. It was great.

Deb Morrisey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 01 2017

Great short hike. The drive to get there though is rough.

Paul Burpo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Mar 17 2017
Hiking

Great hike. Awesome rock formations throughout. Trail is listed as easy, and it is because of the short distance. I would caution that it is a bit technical in spots. Kids will do fine but very little ones may not be able to get through without some significant assistance. Also not great on bad knees. The easiest way to get to the trail is via Ole Ore Road from the South. Ole Ore Road is very rough to the north and requires high ground clearance.

Gordon Berman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Apr 26 2016

Wonderful rock formations. Very cool hike.

M Weber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jan 19 2014

Love this!

Jack Tatsch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Mar 03 2012
Walking

Neat place! The Old Ore Road can be rough at times.

Eric Conner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 11 2010
Hiking

My favorite hike in Big Bend outside of the Chisos.

Vinh Pham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Mar 17 2020
Hiking
View Vinh's Recording
Doug Ablott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Feb 24 2020
Hiking
View Doug's Recording
Showing results 1 - 29 of 66