It turned out that we saved the best for last. The Ranger at the Rio Grande Village Visitors Center suggested we check this out after checking that we were driving a “high clearance vehicle.” (Four-wheel drive would also have been helpful.) We drove almost five miles on a pretty tough road.
We hiked out a bit in a canyon wash from where the road ended. The rock formations in the limestone at the Tinaja were unbelievable! Tinaja means “big earthen jar” in Spanish. Supposedly, there is almost always water in the Tinaja.
The Tinaja is named after Max A. Ernst. He developed the area in 1898 into the town of La Noria. Max ran the “Big Tinaja Store” and was the only justice of the peace and notary. He also served as county commissioner and school board trustee for a one-teacher school which Max provided near his store.
Further up the canyon, there was another unbelievable formation where the rock was all twisted with a big hole through it.