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Devils Finger
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Devils Finger
Devils Finger
Arriving at the trailhead (2013; view S)

Overview

Devils Finger is a rocky ridge that juts out into Lake Mead or the Colorado River, depending on water levels. Regardless, this is the bottom end of the Grand Canyon where the river flows out of deep canyons and into the open desert. The watery cove formed by the rocky ridge is Devils Cove.

From the end of the road (depending on water levels), the 1.7-mile route follows the ridge out to the river (a bit of Class 2 terrain near the end), then loops back staying on the highest ridges until dropping back into the Devils Cove parking area.

Link to map.

Devils Finger
Use-trail onto hillside (view SW)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a wild and remote area. I encountered no unusual hazards, but be careful near the water as a twisted ankle out here would be more serious than in less-remote areas. Upper Devils Cove Road is graded, but the lower canyon is sandy, rocky, subject to wash outs, and requires a 4WD vehicle, so drive carefully.

This is a wild and remote area without services of any kind (no restrooms, no water, no gas, no food). Bring what you need to survive. Be prepared and be self-reliant. Someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two. Cell phones only work along parts of the paved road.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, in this remote hike, be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Devils Finger
Use-trail along hillside (view S)

Getting to the Trailhead

Devils Finger is located out in the Gold Butte region at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area at the edge of the Colorado River (or Lake Mead if water levels ever come back up.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte National Monument. From Whitney Pocket, continue south on Gold Butte Road for 16.2 miles to a fork in the road. Stay left onto Devils Cove Road and drive southeast for an additional 14.5 miles to the end of the road (Site 0595). Note that Devil's Cove Road requires a 4WD vehicle at about 10 miles out.

Park here; this is the trailhead, but don't get stuck in the deep mud near the edge of the water.

For details of the roads and GPS data, see the road descriptions linked above.

Devils Finger
Use-trail along hillside (view S)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the route climbs onto the side of the ridge to the west following a use-trail. After climbing a few yards of elevation (Wpt. 02), the use-trail contours out along the hillside following an old lakeshore, which makes a nice, flat, and level trail, although the outside edge can be soft.

Gullies can be contoured around or hiked across by busting through formerly floating debris (brush, logs, pieces of boats) deposited when the water level was higher. Eventually, however, the sidehill becomes so steep that hikers are forced onto the ridgetop (Wpt. 03).

Devils Finger
Use-trail along hillside (view S)

Continuing out, the route climbs over a highpoint (Wpt. 04) with grand views over the surrounding territory, then descends a narrow, rocky ridge to the edge of the water (Wpt. 05), which is the Devils Finger Tip. Depending on the situation, hikers might take a swim or just dip a toe in the mighty Colorado, but be careful not to get swept downstream in the cold current.

When ready, return to the highpoint (Wpt. 04), then continue north atop the ridge (Wpt. 03). After climbing a sand dune on the ridgeline ahead, hikers gain the top (Wpt. 06) of fairly flat, rolling terrain with monuments of various sorts and use-trails that all lead northward. Along the east edge of the ridge, hikers can look down and see the trailhead. Continuing a bit farther north (Wpt. 07), the use-trail descends the steep hillside into Devils Cove Wash (Wpt. 08). A few minutes of walking down the wash returns hikers to the trailhead (Wpt. 01).

Devils Finger
Use-trail along hillside (view S)
Devils Finger
Atop ridgeline (view S towards highpoint)
Devils Finger
Highpoint (view SE into the Grand Canyon)
Devils Finger
Highpoint (view SW towards Lake Mead)
Devils Finger
Descending narrow ridgeline (view SE from near highpoint)
Devils Finger
Ridgeline (view SE into the Grand Canyon)
Devils Finger
Ridgeline (view SE into the Grand Canyon)
Devils Finger
Ridgeline (view S into the Colorado River)
Devils Finger
Ridgeline (view SW towards Lake Mead)
Devils Finger
The tip of Devils Finger (view S into Colorado River)
Devils Finger
The tip of Devils Finger (view SE into Grand Canyon)
Devils Finger
The tip of Devils Finger (view NE into Devils Cove)
Devils Finger
The tip of Devils Finger (view NE into Devils Cove)
Devils Finger
Dipping a toe into the mighty Colorado River
Devils Finger
The tip of Devils Finger (view SE into Lake Mead)
Devils Finger
Returning: Highpoint (view N towards Devils Cove)
Devils Finger
Monument overlooking the lake (view SW)
Devils Finger
Returning: looking back (view S towards Highpoint)
Devils Finger
Returning: use-trail on desert flats (view N)
Devils Finger
Returning: blooming cactus on desert flats (view NE)
Devils Finger
Returning: looking down on trailhead (view E)
Devils Finger
Returning: use-trail descending steep hillside (view N)
Devils Finger
Looking back up use-trail (view SW from Devils Cove Wash)
Devils Finger
more to come ...

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates 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 Devils Finger Trailhead 761162 4004991 1,141 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Route Starts Up Hillside 761166 4004959 1,137 0.04 0.04 GPS
03 Ridgetop 761441 4004558 1,172 0.41 0.45 GPS
04 Highpoint 761557 4004439 1,230 0.12 0.57 GPS
05 Devils Finger Tip 761757 4004369 1,111 0.17 0.74 GPS
04 Highpoint 761557 4004439 1,230 0.15 0.89 GPS
03 Ridgetop 761441 4004558 1,172 0.11 1.00 GPS
06 Knob 761370 4004621 1,254 0.10 1.10 GPS
07 Top of Hillside 761093 4004905 1,267 0.28 1.38 GPS
08 Base of Hillside 760951 4005031 1,161 0.14 1.52 GPS
01 Devils Finger Trailhead 761162 4004991 1,141 0.15 1.67 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150821

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