« Return to this article

for people who care about the West

Your guide to the solar eclipse

Totality, traffic, telescopes: How ready are you for the event of the century?

 

On Aug. 21 in the West, a total solar eclipse will pass over Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and a tiny sliver in Montana. It’s been almost 100 years since a full eclipse swept coast-to-coast within the continental U.S. You’ll have to be in a 70-mile-wide band called the “path of totality”— and wade through hordes of gawkers — to see it, and that won’t be easy. So we’ve put together a little guide to help you find your way.

Start here!

Are you in the path of totality?

Heck yes!

No

But do you have a

nice view of the sky?

Yep, I’m cool like that

(brushes off shoulder).

No, there’s a stupid

building in the way.

You’re set! Now…

How does a vacation sound?

Sounds good!

Not a good time.

Find a viewing party

near you. Listings

by state are here

and more events

listed here.

Yeah!

Solar glasses: Get a

pair of these. Bonus

points for 1980s retro.

How about

a night out?

 

 

Into camping?

Know what time the

eclipse will happen

and for how long from

your vantage point.

NASA has great

information here.

Nah, I’ll stay in.

My tent’s already

at the door!

Not this time.

Do you have a

solar telescope?

No.

Yes!

Hurry! Public

camping spaces are

limited, though

federal land agencies

are creating more

options. In Oregon,

the Forest Service

has opened up more

campsites through-

out the state. The

Bureau of Land

Management has a

list of potential

viewing areas. And

the National Park

Service has a list of

places to watch

the eclipse.

Get a hotel. Bookings

are limited, but here

are a few last-minute

options to check out:

First, a guide to all

of the hamlets,

burgs, towns and

cities in the path

(plus how long the

eclipse will last in

each place); avail-

able hotels; tips to

avoid price-gouging;

enviable vantage

points if price isn’t

a problem — and

where not to go.

Are clouds going to

ruin your view?

Check this historical

cloud cover map,

which provides

average August cloud

cover on the eclipse

track. On the days

leading up to the

eclipse, check this

eclipse cloud

forecaster.

Create a pin-hole

viewer that will

project the eclipse

no matter where you

are. NASA has some

great tips. Or — view

the eclipse with

something you

probably already

have at home:

a colander.

Phew! All good.

Gulp. Clouds

are rollin’ in!

Sweet!

Seems weird.

I don’t want to.

Beware! Expect

two- to four-hour

traffic delays

within the eclipse

path. Allow your-

self extra travel

time — unless you

don’t mind

watching the

eclipse from

the back of your

truck or hood of

your car.

Check out photos of

the eclipse:

#HCNsolareclipse

 

Livestream the

eclipse from your

computer, thanks to

NASA.

Bonus: During the

eclipse, pay attention

to birds and

nocuturnal creatures

reacting to the

unexpected darkness.

You’re ready! Sit back, and get ready to play Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse,”

Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” or maybe

Bonnie Prince Billy’s “I See a Darkness.”

.

By Paige Blankenbuehler and Brooke Warren | Photos: Anton Bielousov/Wikimedia Commons, By sancho_panza/Wikimedia Commons, BBC,

Where are you heading for the solar eclipse? Tell us — and we’ll add your destination to our map.

Note: This story has been updated.

Paige Blankenbuehler is an assistant editor at High Country News.