Little Finland ~ Gold Butte National Monument

Little Finland ~ Gold Butte National Monument

In a previous Gold Butte National Monument article titled the “Mud Wash Trail To Petroglyphs & Little Finland” some information was provided concerning desert terrain preparedness and the condition of the long Jeep trail to Little Finland. Also mentioned was the best choice for a local base camp town, which is Mesquite, Nevada. Mesquite is about 35 miles from the National Monument. Fuel management is critical because the closest gas stations are in Mesquite, so be sure to top off the tank before setting sail to Little Finland!

The end point for a journey on the Mud Wash Jeep Trail is the Little Finland Road intersection for most visitors, because the dirt road is even rougher as it goes downhill from here. For those who opt to continue on downhill, there are a couple more 4×4 trails that lead to more scenic destinations in Gold Butte National Monument and the neighboring Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  In order to traverse both the Narrows Road and Gold Butte Wash Road after driving the entire length of the Mud Wash Trail, carrying some extra containers of fuel may be necessary, especially for vehicles that have a low gas mileage rating.  

For most folks that only want to do a day trip or a single overnight campout, Little Finland is the end of the line on the Mud Wash Jeep Trail before turning back and with good reason.  As far as a journey’s end point destination is concerned, there are few other places on earth that are as interesting as Little Finland, because this is where the wind carved red sandstone Goblins are found!  

From the end of the Mud Wash Trail, the Little Finland Road only runs about 1.5 miles to the red sandstone outcrop destination.  Just like the Mud Wash Trail, the Little Finland Road can be traversed with a rugged two wheel drive vehicle, but a 4×4 will have the advantage.  This is true for dry conditions, but if an unexpected rainstorm occurs, the red clay soil dirt road to Little Finland can turn into deep mud.  Therefore, it is best to check the weather conditions when planning the trip.  

The landscape changes dramatically in the Little Finland region of Gold Butte National Monument.  This is where the Mud Wash empties onto a vast plain that borders upon some of the most beautiful red rock outcrops that can be imagined.  The mud plain mixes with the orange color sand dunes and huge boulders distributed by powerful flash floods across this valley. In the distance the Mud Wash flood plain borders upon tall steep multi color barren rock mountains.  The majestic views of the Little Finland area from the high ground definitely are a stunning visual experience that can cause a person to stand and stare in awe for quite a spell!  

Little Finland is an extremely rugged inhospitable environment, yet this place is so alluring that it is easy picture this area as being the perfect place for a dream home.  The thought that quickly humbles this utopian dream is the realization of this harsh desert environment will not support a modern lifestyle for very long.  The local seepage springs usually dry up during the first month of summer and it can be an awful long wait till a rainstorm comes along.  Food is scarce, so foraging, hunting or trapping will likely result in hardship too.  Just like a desert mirage, the beauty of Little Finland truly is for the eyes only. 

The main attraction of Little Finland is a place that has always been called The Goblins by local people.  This gigantic red sandstone outcrop has such a perfect shape, that it looks as if is was designed by a talented engineer.  The base of this outcrop looks like thick tall slab that is flat and level on top.  The walls of the slab are perfectly vertical, so they resemble the walls of a fortress.  The large old palm trees growing from the seepage springs at the base of the red rock slab wall do look as if they are standing guard.  The impenetrable looks of the Little Finland red rock formation does impart an ominous feeling of being in a well defended sacred place.  Once a visitor sets eyes on The Goblins on top of the gigantic red rock slab, these thoughts do start to become real.

This entire area used to be called The Goblins long before a bureaucrat renamed this place as Little Finland when the Gold Butte National Monument was first established. The Little Finland name absolutely makes no sense and it could actually be racially motivated, because this is the ancestral home of the Anasazi and Paiute. As it stands, Little Finland may be the name that appears on maps, but most folks will always refer to this place as The Goblins.

No matter what people call this ominous looking red sandstone outcrop area, there is only one thing that is for sure … The unique Little Finland landscape is so far removed from the definition of an ordinary place that this region looks like it belongs in a fantasy painting! “Breathtaking” certainly is the best word to describe this majestic destination that can be found at the end of the Mud Wash in Gold Butte National Monument!


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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