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Big Bend - Ernst Tinaja Trail

Trail (4.67)3
(3.00) (3.17)
1.00 Mile N/A
No
No No
$20.00 More Info
Brewster
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Photos

Tinajas! Here are some of the Tinajas! (Photo by jmitchell) Interesting rocks Love this rock formation for some reason... (Photo by jmitchell) Canyon shot lots of boulder crawls on this very popular hike. A favorite hike for the locals! (Photo by jmitchell)
Trail Sign This is the sign on Old Ore Road to the Ernst Tinaja campground and trail. (Photo by Lone_Star) Trailhead This is the sign at the start/end of the trail. (Photo by Lone_Star) View Of The Trail The trail takes you along a wash back into the canyon. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Sedimentary Layers As you enter the canyon, you are greeted by a surreal display of sedimentary rock layers. (Photo by Lone_Star) Natural Pools Most people stop once they get to these natural water pools, but you can climb over/along the rocks and continue hiking further in. (Photo by Lone_Star) Some Climbing Required If you climb over the rock obstacles and pits, you are able to penetrate further into the canyon and are richly rewarded with scenic views. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Further In Once you get past the rock obstacles, the trail becomes easier to walk and the view is incredible. (Photo by Lone_Star)

Log Entries

Part Of A Longer 4-Day Backcountry Hike
By Lone_Star on 11/20/2013
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: N/A Duration: N/A

I hiked the Ernst TInaja trail as part of a 4 day backpacking expedition through the backcountry trails of Big Bend National Park.  The hike occurred on the 4th day on my way back in.  You can read my log of that extended hike here.

The Ernst Tinaja Trail is a very scenic trail that takes you through a magnificent canyon. On display are impressive layers of sedimentary rock, sculpted boulders, and pools of water.  The trail continues on for quite aways, but requires some rock climbing and balancing skills to get to the deeper recesses.  Eventually, you exit the canyon on the other end and come out onto a desert plateau.

I highly recommend this trail. It exceeded my expectations.  My only regret is hiking there early in the morning before the light was ideal for photography...

Very beautiful Hike
By jmitchell on 11/27/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Rock folding is wonderful! Allow an hour for the slow going access road. Lots of climbing to get to the end of the canyon.

So beautiful -- a must do, easy walk
By Gadget Girl on 12/28/2005
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A

Getting to the main tinanjas involves various stages of readiness.  To use the old ore rd, a high clearance vehicle is best. (you don't need 4-wheel drive)

Once you get to the parking area, you have a nice easy walk to the tinajas, with only slight elevation changes.

It becomes a level 4 or 5 difficulty if you decide you want to cross the main the tinaja.  I have gone THROUGH the tinaja (when super shallow) and climbed the wall of rocks.  I have went up and over on the left side and up and over on the right side.  Either will take guts and balance.  Be super careful.  Coming back stay on the right side (as you are facing OUT towards parking lot) and go about halfway, then slide down the smooth rocks on your bottom.  Have someone there to catch you.

It's a great hike and spectacular colors in the rocks to see.


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The scenic wonders of the undeveloped Chihuahuan Desert beckon hikers with seemingly endless miles of trails in Big Bend National Park. The park is the largest tract of public land in Texas, with more than 1,200 square miles sprawled across West Texas along the Rio Grande. Hiking trails wander through deep canyons to spring-fed oases and to the tops of the forested Chisos Mountains. Written with assistance from Big Bend National Park staff, Hiking Big Bend National Park is the only comprehensive hiking guide to the many trials in this unique national park and will guide you to little-known places as well as the popular areas. Three trails in nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park also are featured. This guide includes safety descriptions, elevation charts, black-and-white photos, and up-to-date maps and reference information. Hiking Big Bend National Park is an invaluable resource for planning your next hiking trip in Texas's Big Bend Country.