Big Bend - Ernst Tinaja Trail

1.00 Mile
4point5stars (4.67)3
3stars (3.00)
3stars (3.17)
More Info
Further In
Once you get past the rock obstacles, the trail becomes easier to walk and the view is incredible. (Photo by Blaze)
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 Blaze)
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 Blaze)
Sedimentary Layers
As you enter the canyon, you are greeted by a surreal display of sedimentary rock layers. (Photo by Blaze)
View Of The Trail
The trail takes you along a wash back into the canyon. (Photo by Blaze)
This is the sign at the start/end of the trail. (Photo by Blaze)
Trail Sign
This is the sign on Old Ore Road to the Ernst Tinaja campground and trail. (Photo by Blaze)
Canyon shot
lots of boulder crawls on this very popular hike. A favorite hike for the locals! (Photo by jmitchell)
Interesting rocks
Love this rock formation for some reason... (Photo by jmitchell)
Here are some of the Tinajas! (Photo by jmitchell)
Log Entries
Part Of A Longer 4-Day Backcountry Hike
By Blaze on 11/20/2013
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 2point5stars
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: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
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: 5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
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.

Recommended Item
Recommended Item Hiking Big Bend National Park: A Guide to the Big Bend Area’s Greatest Hiking Adventures, including Big Bend Ranch State Park
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List Price: $22.95 Your price: $18.37 Buy Now
For more than twenty-five years, FalconGuide® has set the standard for outdoor recreation guidebooks. Written by top outdoors experts and enthusiasts, each guide invites you to experience the endless adventure and rugged beauty of the great outdoors. Hiking Big Bend National Park features forty-seven of the finest trails in Texas-from short day hikes to backcountry treks. With this comprehensive guide, veteran hiker Laurence Parent provides all the information you need to get the most out of hiking this natural wonderland.