Letter-Sized Adventures | Spiral Jetty + Sun Tunnels

September 29, 2016

This summer we've gone on so many awesome family adventures thanks to our own bucket list and the recently discovered website Atlas Obscura which has over 50 hidden gems and unusual things to do in Utah listed on it.

Looking through our photos from this summer I can't help but realize how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful state, whose landscapes are so diverse and remarkable.  However this spur of the moment trip to the northwest region of Utah might have been one of our favorite family adventures of them all!

The Spiral Jetty

Corrine, UT

The Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture built by Robert Smithson in the Great Salt Lake and it only reemerges during a drought. Built  in 1970 of mud, salt crystals, basalt, and dirt, the jetty is 1500 feet long and extends far out into the Great Salt Lake.

However, no one saw this work for over 30 years. Built during a drought by Robert Smithson, once the water levels returned to normal the spiral was then submerged for three decades, reemerging during another drought in 2004 and then again in 2008. - Atlas Obscura

I strongly urge anyone living in Northern Utah or Southern Idaho to find the time to take a small day trip to this hidden gem. It truly is an amazing place to see, photograph and experience.


The Sun Tunnels

Lucin, UT

Northwest of the jetty near the ghost town of Lucin, UT literally out in the middle of nowhere, you will find an art installation by Nancy Holt that consists of four concrete tubes laid out near the Great Salt Lake in an open cross configuration.

"While the nine-foot diameter, 18 foot long “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 an 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 solstice 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." - Atlas Obscura

On our way to the sun tunnels from Corrine, there are also a few other historic sites and ghost towns to see that we visited on other days. And on the drive home we took the long way around into Wendover, if only to be able to say that we had visited three states in one day.

We went close to the summer solstice, but truthfully you could almost go anytime of year, weather-permitting and gett some really great photos - especially around sunset! 


Though these hidden gems are a bit out of the way they were both totally worth the gas and the time to see them. Our family had so much fun and we got lots of great photos.  If you make the drive out there I definitely recommend checking the links I provided above to Atlas Obscure, they'll provide you with some great travel info on each of these spots as far as directions and other important things to know before going. 

I made the following scrapbook page to add to our "Family Adventure Album" along with a full page story about this awesome day trip!

Spiral Jetty + Sun Tunnels by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Sahin Designs: Jaunt; Allison Pennington Wild.

Happy Adventures!

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  1. I've spent time in Utah over the years, especially the 4 years I lived in Northern Arizona, and it is indeed a beautiful state! I really enjoyed seeing the "hidden gems," particularly the Spiral Jetty. Love the layout you did about that day - I like how you did the three horizontal bands, the sandy-colored strips in the bottom band, and the use of a black-and-white and a color photo.


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