A visit to the Smokies isn’t complete without spending some time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather and mountain views. If you’re in the area on August, 21st, 2017, you can also take in the amazing solar eclipse at one of many locations in the area. The following is some information on the solar eclipse, plus some ideas of the best places to see the 2017 solar eclipse while in the Smokies.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse is not as rare as some believe but these events are something that many people never have the chance to see in their lifetime. The eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun from view. For a moment only the sun’s corona, our outer atmosphere, can be seen. The effects of the eclipse are only visible along a 67-mile wide path through the United States and the effect doesn’t last long. Fortunately for those visiting the Smokies on August 21, 2017, the full effects of the eclipse will be visible from many areas. There are safety glasses designed to be used while viewing the eclipse to prevent damage to the eyes. They should only be removed during the totality of the eclipse to see the complete effect. These glasses can be purchased in and around the park.
Park Organized Events
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting several events throughout the park for eclipse viewing. Tickets for these park-sponsored events are sold through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website. Clingman’s Dome will be hosting a special viewing with experts on hand to offer insight and information on the eclipse. This event is only for ticket-holders and the road to Clingman’s Dome will be closed for the event on August 20th and 21st. There will also be an informal hosting with staff at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. This event is free and requires no ticket. It’s important to note that traffic to the area may be restricted and parking areas may be closed once the area fills up. The last hosted event in the park will be at Cable Mill in Cades Cove. This area will be a popular viewing spot and those who wish to see the eclipse in any part of Cades Cove should be prepared to arrive very early. Cades Cove access may also be closed if traffic gets heavy.
Other Places to View the Eclipse
There are many other places around the Smokies to view the solar eclipse if you wish to avoid the most congested areas. Across the mountains in beautiful Cherokee, North Carolina, they are having a two-day cultural celebration on August 20th and 21st. This special event includes cultural performances related to the Cherokee Indian tribe, souvenirs of this special event, and eclipse viewing. They will also be selling special solar glasses for safety. An event limited to 1000 viewers will be hosted in nearby Maryville, TN, at Montvale. Tickets can be purchased online for this event.