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The Great American Solar Eclipse: Where Will You Watch It?

On Monday August 21st, 2017 a total solar eclipse will pass over the United States. Where will you be to watch it?

By: Dan Barr + Save to a List

Summer 2017 quickly approaches, believe it or not, and with that comes the planning of another season of adventure. And at the top of my list of adventures this year is an event that, for us here in the United States, is an event we get very few opportunities to witness. I’m of course referring to what’s being dubbed as “The Great American Solar Eclipse”. 

On Monday, August 21st, 2017 a total solar eclipse will pass over the continental United States, meaning that for a narrow band of the country, the sun will be completely darkened for a few minutes. This is different from an annular solar eclipse, where a thin ring of light still is visible in the sky. When this solar eclipse passes over the centerline of the eclipse's path, or path of totality, the sky will be 100% dark. For comparison, the last total solar eclipse to pass over the United States was nearly 38 years ago in 1979, and was only visible in the Pacific Northwest in poor weather. Before that it was 47 years ago, in 1970, as it passed over the eastern seaboard of the United States.

The upcoming solar eclipse will begin on the west coast in Oregon and slowly move eastward through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and finally South Carolina before moving out to sea and vanishing, making this a truly nationwide event.

So, for those interested in witnessing such a rare astrological event, you may want to consider some of the following locations featured here on the Outbound to be the backdrop of your viewing of The Great American Solar Eclipse. All of the following locations will be directly in the path of the eclipse's total darkness.


Capturing Painted Hills

Photo Credit: Lorene Voskinarian


Climb Mount Borah

Photo Credit: Chris Bruin


Watch a Sunset at Schwabacher Landing

Photo Credit: Christina Adele Warburg


Bouldering at Elephant Rock State Park

Photo Credit: Alaina Donovan


Hike the Garden of the Gods Observation Trail

Photo Credit: Sunshine LeMontree

Tennessee/North Carolina

Hike to Clingmans Dome

Photo Credit: Spenser Reid

South Carolina

Summit Sassafras Mountain

Photo Credit: David Ellis

Wherever you find yourself on August 21st, be certain to be outside and to get a good glimpse of the solar eclipse: At least 50% of the sun will be blocked for the entire Lower 48 at some point in the day, so even if you can't make it to one of the places above that lies within the 70 mile wide zone of total darkness, you'll still be witness to an extremely cool and rare astronomical event!

For more information on the 2017 American Total Solar Eclipse, including the local times for when it will be occurring, check out NASA's webpage for the details: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

Cover photo: Lorene Voskinarian

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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