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Devil's Throat
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat
Departing the trailhead; Devil's Throat in background (view SW)

Overview

Devil's Throat is an interesting, if somewhat disconcerting, geological feature where the roof of a large cave collapsed, leaving a huge sink hole in the middle of the open desert. For those who think terra firma is firm, this place gives a different point of view.

The ground surface in this area is alluvium (rocks, gravel, sand, and dirt) that eroded off the nearby mountains. The area is, however, underlain by limestone, so it is likely that water moving underground dissolved out a large cavern, which later collapsed. There are, however, gypsum deposits nearby, so it is also possible that a gypsum deposit dissolved to create the cavern. Regardless, the overlying alluvium fell into the cavern and seems to have completely filled it. Thus, all that can be seen on the walls of the sinkhole is alluvium. Note that alluvium is not terribly well consolidated and chunks are falling off the wall into the sinkhole. Don't be standing too close when the next piece falls in.

Link to map.

Devil's Throat
Chainlink fence (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... well, all I can say is don't fall in the hole. Vandals broke the fence nearest the parking area so they can get closer to the edge. Although all who have down so have been successful -- so far, understand that the edge in that area is undercut, and when it goes, it likely will take the fence too. Think of the edge nearest the parking area this way: it is a balcony made of unconsolidated gravel -- stay outside the fence! Staying outside the fence, there is one spot to the left that gives a pretty good view into the bottom of the pit.

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, this is a remote hike, so be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Devil's Throat
Inside the fence is a really bad idea ... (view N)

Getting to the Trailhead

Devil's Throat 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 7.2 miles to Mud Wash Road, a signed turnoff to Devil's Throat and Red Bluff Spring. There are no additional signs to guide visitors, but the chain-link fence surrounding the sink hole can be seen from Gold Butte Road.

Turn right onto Mud Wash Road and drive southwest 0.3 miles to a fork. Devil's Throat Road stays left and quickly arrives at Devil's Throat parking area, which is marked by post and cable fencing. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Devil's Throat
... because the edge is undercut (view NE)

Devil's Throat

From the parking area (Table 1, Site 1672), visitors can walk though a gate and over to the chain-link fence that surrounds the sinkhole. The fence keeps visitors a "safe" distance from the edge, but the entire rim is slowly caving in. Staying outside the fence, visitors can look into the bottom of the pit from one point where the fence is caving in. This spot isn't comforting, but it is the best view into the hole.

This isn't a hike, as it is less than a minute to the sink hole, but visitors can walk all the way around and back to the trailhead, a distance of about 200 yards. The best views into the pit are near the parking area, but looking back from the far side offers an interesting perspective.

Devil's Throat
Edge of the pit (view NE)
Devil's Throat
Looking down into the belly of the beast from outside the fence
Devil's Throat Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat
Across the sink hole to the trailhead (view E)
Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat sink hole is huge!
Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat parking barriers
Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat; this is one big hole!
Devils Throat
Visitor outside the fence (view NE)
Devil's Throat
Fence - don't get too close to the edge
Devil's Throat
Outside the fence (view SW)
Devil's Throat Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat Devil's Throat
Devil's Throat Devils Throat
Devils Throat Devils Throat

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27, UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
1672 Devil's Throat Trailhead 755673 4034961 2,317 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161024

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