Primitive Roadside Campsite— Ernst Tinaja

Ernst Tinaja primitive roadside campsite
Ernst Tinaja Primitive Roadside Campsite
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Campsite Specifics

The Ernst Tinaja primitive roadside campsite (ET-1) can accommodate up to two vehicles, 10 people, no horses.

  • Maximum vehicle length is 25'.
  • No Trailers.

Primitive sites offer nice views, solitude, and a small flat gravel space to set up camp next to your vehicle. No shade, toilets, or other amenities are provided.
The use of generators is prohibited in the backcountry.

A Backcountry Permit is required to use this campsite. You can now obtain a backcountry permit for this campsite up to 24 hours in advance of the first night at Panther Junction Visitor Center or Chisos Basin Visitor Center.



Ernst Tinaja 1 (ET-1) is located near the southern end of Old Ore Road, 4.5 miles north of the paved road. A short, 0.2 mile access road leads to ET-1. A short distance beyond the site is the trailhead to Ernst Tinaja, an interesting geologic feature.


Road Conditions

The Old Ore Road is extremely rough and rocky. It is maintained for high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles only. You will NOT be able to drive this road with a regular sedan, car, minivan, or RV. Past the Ernst Tinaja campsite, the Old Ore Road becomes even rougher. Always ask a park ranger for current road conditions before heading out on this road.



This campsite provides some great views of the Chisos Mountains and nearby hills.



Ernst Tinaja is a popular day-use attraction. Given its close proximity to this campsite, do not leave valuables unattended for long periods of time. Expect frequent passing vehicles.

Ernst Tinaja
Ernst Tinaja


This popular site sits at the mouth of a limestone canyon noted for three things: vibrant orange swirling striations in the rocks, fossils of giant oysters, and the Ernst tinaja itself - a 13-foot natural rock pool, also known as a ‘kettle.’ Further up canyon are opportunities for bouldering.

A short distance beyond the campsite is the parking area for the trailhead to Ernst Tinaja. It is about 1/3 mile up the canyon to the tinaja. Do not drink from, or swim in, the tinaja. It is a natural trap for animals when the water level is low as it is often impossible to climb out of. This canyon flash floods during heavy rain events.

Campsite Photos:

Ernst Tinaja trailhead
The trailhead to Ernst Tinaja is located a short distance from the campsite.
Ernst Tinaja is a spectacular geologic location
Geology is on display at Ernst Tinaja.

Last updated: September 22, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



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