Sunday, June 10, 2012

Whimsical Rock Formations at Little Finland, Nevada

Deep in the Nevada desert reachable by an off-beaten track called Gold Butte Byway, lies a fascinating area that few people know about. It’s known by various names such as Little Finland, Hobgoblin's Playground and Devil's Fire. This is a place where wind and water have sculpted red sandstone rock into fantastical shapes that is rarely seen anywhere else. Like a fanciful mirage, fiery sandstone fins and bizarre shaped mythical beasts springs from the desert floor. With little bit of imagination you can faces of people and wild animals that have been formed by the eroding sandstone, making for endless photographic possibilities. A few of these odd shaped formations have taken on descriptive names, such as the Ancient Elephant, Little Dinosaur and Big Nose.

Little Finland is so called because the rock formations here can seem to look like fins, but “Hobgoblin's Playground” sounds more appropriate. Akin to the nearby Valley of Fire, just 30 km from this place, this red rock setting was formed millions of years ago shaped by wind erosion and occasional heavy rains, a process known as Aeolian.

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Little Finland is located about 50 miles south of Mesquite. Unfortunately, reaching this place is tough. You will need an all-terrain, 4 wheel drive with high clearance. The unpaved part of the trip can be very bumpy. There is no fuel service, food or drink and few road signs.

Little Finland is unlisted in the BLM's website and visiting is highly discouraged by management officials, because of the extremely fragile rock formations that can easily crumble if not careful.

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Sources: 1, 2

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