LOCAL (NEW)

Towering Monument Valley buttes display sunset spectacle

Mar 31, 2023, 4:20 PM | Updated: 9:16 pm

A sunset spectacle featuring two mitten-shaped rock formations crosses Monument Valley Tribal Park ...

A sunset spectacle featuring two mitten-shaped rock formations crosses Monument Valley Tribal Park from the Visitors Center in Oljato-Monument Valley, Az. on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Vyto Stairnksas)

(AP Photo/Vyto Stairnksas)

MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah (AP) — A sunset spectacle featuring two mitten-shaped rock formations played out this week at Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation along the Arizona and Utah border.

Twice a year, in late March and mid-September, spectators, photographers and videographers get a visual treat. As the sun sinks, the West Mitten Butte’s shadow crawls across the desert valley floor before climbing up the side of the East Mitten Butte.

The spectacle draws people from around the world to Monument Valley Tribal Park, which already is popular with tourists.

TV and movie critic Keith Phipps once described Monument Valley as having “defined what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West.”

It is a frequent filming location, including a number of Westerns by the late American film director John Ford, as well as the 1994 Oscar-winning film “Forest Gump.” In the movie, the character played by Tom Hanks is seen running on the road to Monument Valley, the park’s impressive landscape in the background.

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Towering Monument Valley buttes display sunset spectacle