In Spanish, “cinco tinajas” loosely means “five water filled rock basins”. When we checked in at the Visitors Center the first day, we saw a brochure for this hike and it looked interesting. All in all, the hike was around 5 miles with all our side trips and wandering. The cinco tinajas are a short hike from the trailhead. First we went to the overlook at .4 miles, and then we hiked down the eastern side to get a different look. There is water in these pools most of the year, making them unusual features in a dry desert. It had rained, hailed a bit, and even snowed earlier in the week so we were excited to see that there was indeed water in the pools. It was a warm enough day for hiking but I didn’t feel like swimming or wading and the tinajas are slippery when wet, so we hiked back up. Backtracking to the top of the trail, we continued down the other side to get a look at the western pools before looping around on the Leyva Escondido Spring Loop.
The Leyva Escondido Spring Loop was a moderate loop with deep sand, steep climbs, and unmaintained trail tread. This loop was perfect for exploring and at the high point we had 360 degree views that included Oso Peak, the highest peak in the park. We hiked past interesting rock formations, giant cottonwood trees, along rocky ridges, and of course, cacti. I’m not that knowledgeable about rocks, but deep in one of the washes we came across a really cool rock slab marbled with purples and swirly orange circles.