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Towering Monument Valley buttes provide a sunset spectacle


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

Twice a year, in late March and mid-September, spectators, photographers and videographers are given a visual treat. As the sun sets, the shadow of the West Mitten Butte creeps across the floor of the desert valley before climbing up the East Mitten Butte side.

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

TV and film critic Keith Phipps once described Monument Valley as “defined what dozens 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 film, the character played by Tom Hanks can be seen running on the road to Monument Valley , the impressive landscape of the park in the background.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.