Harder layers in colorful sandstone weather out as prominent “fins" and even more intricate and bizarre shapes.
“Little Finland” is a pun—the fins have nothing to do with the country of Finland, but refer to spectacular erosional landforms. Here, the Aztec/Navajo Sandstone is strongly fractured and includes more resistant layers that weather out as fins, ridges, blades, ledges, and even more convoluted shapes including pockets and hollows. The variegated red colors of the sandstone add to the surreality of the formations.
The palm trees perched incongruously at the base of the underlying bluff are California palms, native to the southern part of that state. They’re well north of their native area here and it’s unclear how they became established. Their bright green fronds make a startling but attractive contrast with the red sandstone.
Know Before You Go
Little Finland lies completely within Gold Butte National Monument. From Whitney Pocket, where the rough paved road ends, take the Gold Butte Road 3.8 miles to a turnoff and go right. This junction should be signed.
Continue 3.2 miles to a T-junction (which should also be signed) just upstream from a gap; go right here. Continue through the gap 1.8 miles, where there will be an old corral on the right.
An obvious path goes north where the road bends to the west just beyond this corral. You can work northward on this trail (really more a set of use paths); Little Finland will become obvious as the ragged, mostly red sandstone outcrops on the right (northeast) as you continue.
Alternatively, you can go 2.2 miles beyond the corral, where an access road comes in from the right down a wash. Turn right and follow this road to the end, bearing right at the obvious wash coming in from the south; Little Finland will be ahead (south) of you. Little Finland is around 36.4487 N, 114.2132 W.
Although the main roads are nominally graded, they are rough and high clearance will be useful. Four-wheel drive will probably be necessary on the side road into Little Finland and may be appreciated even on the bigger roads.
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