Sun Tunnels – Wendover, Utah - Atlas Obscura

Sun Tunnels

A sculpture for the sun and stars, created by Nancy Holt. 


An artwork by Nancy Holt completed in 1976, consisting of four concrete tubes laid out near the Great Salt Lake in an open X configuration.

While the four nine-foot diameter, 18-foot long concrete “tunnels” pierced by holes of varying sizes may at first seem like minimalist modern art, the work is in fact much more than that - it is a astrological gazing station. Further, the smaller holes drilled into the sides of the tunnels depict the pattern of selected celestial constellations; there is a tunnel for each of the constellations Draco, Perseus, Columba, and Capricorn.

During the summer and winter solstices, on June 21st and December 21st, the sun can be seen on the horizon centered through the tunnels. The sunset is sighted through two of the tunnels, while during the winter solstice the sunset is sighted through the other two. Additionally, the holes drilled in the sides of the tunnels allow patterns of light inside, and in this way you can see the shape of the referenced constellations during the day. 

Know Before You Go

Take I-80 west from Salt Lake City through Wendover to Oasis, Nevada. At Oasis take Nevada Highway 233 through Montello, Nevada (last gas, water, food, lodgings) back into Utah where the road becomes Utah Highway 30. About 10 miles past the state line is a sign for Lucin. There are two gravel roads on the right. Take the first one for five miles to Lucin. Cross the railroad tracks and continue on the same road for about two miles. Turn left and proceed about two miles and then right for 3/4 mile to Sun Tunnels. There is a parking area at the end of the road. Tips for your visit: Consider the time of day and the weather. Fill up your gas tank before you go. Consider bringing a camera, a sketchbook, a blanket, sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, sensible shoes, and a hat. Tell someone where you are going and when to expect your return. A trip out to Sun Tunnels is an unforgettable adventure, but please remember that you are undertaking this journey at your own risk. As with any trip to the desert, be prepared for unpredictable weather or automobile occurrences. Approach possible flash flood areas with caution. Phone reception may be spotty.