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Devil's Nostril
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril trailhead parking (view SW)


Devil's Nostril is an interesting, if somewhat disconcerting, geological feature where apparently the roof of a limestone cave collapsed, leaving a narrow sinkhole in the middle of the open desert. For those who think terra firma is firm, this is an educational place that gives a different point of view.

This sinkhole is about 3 air-miles north-northwest of Devil's Throat, the much larger and better known sinkhole in Gold Butte National Monument. As such, the tiny Devil's Nostril is a place to stop and visit while driving along Mud Wash North Road, but this is not a destination.

Link to map.

Devil's Nostril
Short trail to Devil's Nostril (view SW)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... well, all I can say is don't fall in the hole. A fence surrounds the area, but it is too far back to see into the pit, so everyone steps through the fence and walks up closer. Be careful near the edge because it could collapse, and of course, the entire area could sink into a new hole.

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 don't work here.

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

Devil's Nostril
Trail to Devil's Nostril; notice wire fence (view SW)

Getting to the Trailhead

Devil's Nostril is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 2.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte National Monument. From Whitney Pocket, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 3.9 miles to Mud Wash North Road, on the right (watch for directional road signs).

Turn right onto Mud Wash North Road and drive southwest 1.1 miles to a wide spot in the wash (Table 1, Site 1775). This is just past where the road bends hard to the right and before it bends back hard to the left. Pull over to the left and park here; this is the trailhead.

For people who miss the pullout, after making the hard left turn, the fence surrounding the sinkhole is visible on the left. Park along the wash and hike in from there.

Devil's Nostril
It is never safe to enter holes in the ground (view SE)

Devil's Nostril

From the trailhead parking (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the route heads southwest following a side channel of the main wash. About 40 yards out, a trail emerges from the wash and climbs the bank on the left. Walking along the trail, the wire fence surrounding the sinkhole becomes apparent, as does a "danger" sign just ahead.

From the sign (about 100 yards out), the fence keeps visitors a "safe" distance from the edge because the entire area could cave in. Staying outside the fence, visitors can look and see the sinkhole, but everyone probably steps through the fence and walks up closer to look down into the abyss (Wpt. 02). This can't be safe, so don't get too close.

This isn't a hike, as it is only a minute or two to the sink hole, but looking into the abyss offers an interesting perspective on what otherwise appears to be solid ground.

Devil's Nostril
Approaching Devil's Nostril (view SE)
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril (view SE)
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril (view down)
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril (view down)
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril (view N towards trailhead)
Devil's Nostril
Don't get too close! (view NW)
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril on hillside (view E from farther down the road)
Devil's Nostril
Devil's Nostril on hillside (view E from farther down the road; zoom)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft)
1775 Devils Nostril Sinkhole Trailhead Parking 753221 4039045 36.46507 114.17414 2,314

Table 2. 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)
01 Devils Nostril Sinkhole Trailhead 753216 4039039 2,314 0.00 0.00
02 Devils Nostril Sinkhole 753188 4038970 2,322 0.05 0.05
01 Devils Nostril Sinkhole Trailhead 753216 4039039 2,314 0.05 0.11

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161112

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