A series of three tinaja pools in a desert stream. They are filled with greenish water and appear deep. A scientists stands on the bedrock surrounding one tinaja and records data.
A series of tinajas in a desert stream are surveyed for water quality and wildlife presence

NPS Photo

Tinaja (tin-AH-hahs) means "large, earthen jar" in Spanish and is also the local name in Arizona for bedrock pools found in desert streams. They are very common in the Rincon Mountains, where hundreds of tinajas hold water throughout most of the year. Tinajas are popular swimming holes in Sabino Canyon, and in Saguaro National Park they are principal habitat for aquatic frogs, turtles, and other animals that live in water. They are also the best source of drinking water for all types of wildlife ranging from dragonflies to black bears and birds. Some tinajas are spring fed and contain clear, clean water all year round.

Last updated: April 12, 2021

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