At first glance, the Sun Tunnels appear to be four random concrete tunnels with odd holes drilled into the sides. But for the late artist Nancy Holt, the tunnels respond to the orientation of the earth and celestial bodies.
The Sun Tunnels are located in Lucin, Utah in the Great Basin Desert. These tunnels begin to frame the sun during each of the solstices. Roadside America describes the monuments as, “remote, but meant to be visited” as the Sun Tunnels are located about four hours away from Provo.
The Sun Tunnels have holes drilled into them because each of these holes are formed in the shape of constellations such as Draco, Perseus, Columba and Capricorn. The holes and the tunnels act as frames for viewers to enjoy the skies and landscapes of the Great Basin Desert, according to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA).
The UMFA has a self-guide to enjoying the land art and what to do at Sun Tunnels. The first thing UMFA advises visitors to do is to walk around the Sun Tunnels.
“As you walk, spend some time surveying the tunnels from up close and from a distance,” UMFA suggested.
The UMFA self-guide also suggested to “look through them (tunnels and holes). Experience the interior of the tunnels and the perforations in them. Listen. Notice the way the change in the time of day, weather, or angle of the sun affect your perception.”
The Sun Tunnels are more popular during the solstices, but BYU Hawaii grad Hailey Rasmussen visited the Sun Tunnels the day after the summer solstice and said she got the same picture as those who visited the previous day.
Rasmussen and her friend Vlad Tropnikov made the trip to the the Sun Tunnels form Provo when they heard that it was a good place for taking pictures.
“There’s nothing else around (the Sun Tunnels) so it is not really entertaining unless you make your own fun,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen recalled seeing hammocks mounted inside the tunnels, a family playing in the sand and other groups that gathered to watch the sunset.
“The Sun Tunnels were more enjoyable because there were more people,” Rasmussen said. “Even though we were all a diverse group of people, we all shared the same experience (of watching the sunset) and everyone made sure everyone could enjoy it.”