I’m not sure anywhere I’ve been is as alien looking as Gold Butte’s Little Finland area. Roaming around the endless variety of forms in the acid and wind tortured rocks, one half expects Riddick to be staring at you from a dark recess high above, or to have the silence broken by approach of a drop ship full of space marines. Older names for the area are Hobgoblin’s Playground and Devil’s Fire. The area is so dense with detail that even after deleting everything I can bear, I’m still left with 130 pictures of this tiny area, after a single visit. It was extremely difficult for me to narrow it down to even the jumbo sized post you can read below.
When you visit, the weather and the time of day will greatly affect the look of the rocks and how you perceive it. When we were there the day started off sunny but slowly got more gloomy as time went on. I personally love cloudy days in the harsh desert. Shortly before sunset the sun briefly peaked out under the low clouds.
Little Finland is in the new Gold Butte National Monument. If you know where to look it’s clearly visible from just outside Valley of Fire State Park, and it’s made of the same stone. Despite being so close it takes several hours of driving to get there and it usually requires a high clearance 4×4. Those without a 4×4 who are looking for a larger adventure and who are in good shape can easily devise a long loop that connects Little Finland with several other areas of interest, including the Falling Man Petroglyphs, or even White Pockets.
To get to Little Finland I recommend studying maps and follow directions to the monument from I-15 Exit 112, following the paved Gold Butte Road to Whitney Pockets. Due to being largely lawless and unmanaged for several years this is the worst paved road I’ve been on anywhere in the United States that wasn’t already abandoned long ago. It’s worse than a maintained dirt road. In fact, despite the short milage I would plan for two hours of driving after you leave the Interstate. Maps on the BLM Site are terrible, so I’d check several sources for information, like Bird and Hike. It might even be useful to make GPS waypoints beforehand. Most of the drive after Whitney Pockets is down dry washes that alternate between rocky and sandy. I remember one rock shelf near the end that definitely required high clearance.
Even though there are a ton of pictures here, the Little Finland was our last destination of the day. I had seriously over optimistic aspirations to drive all the way to the eastern arm of Lake Mead via the old Scanlan Ferry Road, but after more than 3 hours of driving all the way to, and several miles past, the old Gold Butte townsite I realized that was a full day journey that probably required camping. So we turned around. Although there are areas of interest here and there in the Monument, the areas from Whitney Pockets to Little Finland are by far the most scenic of what I have seen so far.