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Little Finland
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
Little Finland
Little Finland
Man-gate at southern parking area (view E).

Overview

Little Finland (aka Hobgoblin's Playground and Devil's Fire) is a fascinating area where wind and water have sculpted red sandstone rock into fantastical shapes that rival the best of other areas in the southwestern deserts. From the trailhead, a short scramble leads up into Little Finland, which stretches out for about 0.4 miles to the north. Exploration is easy because the area is fairly level. The farther you go and the more you look, the more you find, but this is more of an elfin wonderland than an area of towering pillars.

This area is a major attraction for photographers. See some fine photography here, and additional ordinary photos here (2014 and before), here, and here (2015).

Link to Area Map or Hiking Map.

Little Finland
Short trail leads towards ramp (view E)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a fairly safe area, but be careful scrambling around the edge of the cliffs, some of which are undercut.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this hike is short, the area is remote, so be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials. Cell phones don't work.

Little Finland
Short trail runs among bushes to base of cliff (view NE)

Getting to the Trailhead

Little Finland is located way out in Gold Butte at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte and then Whitney Pocket at the end of the paved Gold Butte Road. Continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 3.9 miles to Mud Wash North Road.

Turn right onto Mud Wash North Road and drive southwest and downstream for 3.2 miles to Mud Wash Road. Stay right onto Mud Wash Road, continuing downstream for another 4.0 miles to Little Finland Road, on the right.

Drive east on Little Finland Road, staying right at a fork and carefully climbing a rocky step (barely passable in 2WD). When the road arrives below the Little Finland cliffs, it forks. The main road stays right to the southern parking area, while the left climbs a steep sand hill to the northern parking area atop the cliff.

Little Finland
Base of ramp (view N)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), a use-trail runs east about 250 feet to the base of the cliff (Wpt. 02), then turns left to scrambles up a 2nd-class ramp to the top of the cliff (Wpt. 02), which is Little Finland. From the top of the cliff, hikers can wander southeast through the elfin wonderland about 0.2 miles (Wpt. 04) or wander north about 0.4 miles (Wpt. 05).

Alternatively, illegal roads lead to the top of the cliff at the north end of Little Finland (Wpt. 05). While driving up is illegal, walking is okay, and heading up at this end avoids scrambling up a 2nd-class ramp.

This is a good place to wander about, sit and think, eat a little lunch, and contemplate the forces of nature (wind and water) that created such a site.

Little Finland
Steep part of the ramp (view N)
Little Finland
Looking back down at hiker on steep part of the ramp (view S)

Northern Access

Little Finland
Vehicle at northern gate
Little Finland
Little Finland (view S from near northern parking area)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates and Distances based on GPS data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Trailhead 749689 4037088 1838 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Base of Cliff 749737 4037104 1817 0.05 0.05 GPS
03 Top of Cliff 749736 4037121 1838 0.01 0.06 GPS
04 South End 749823 4036973 1867 0.16 0.22 GPS
05 North End 749659 4037613 1850 .. .. GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2015 Jim Boone; Last updated 150707

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