2017 Solar Eclipse
Where can I see the eclipse in the Smokies?The entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the path of totality for the eclipse, providing opportunities for viewing, weather permitting. The park is currently planning organized public viewing events at three locations in the park: Clingmans Dome; Cades Cove; and Oconaluftee.
Clingmans Dome: Clingmans Dome Trailhead parking area will be converted to a special ticketed event site for experiencing the eclipse with the assistance of experts, educational exhibits, and story tellers. Tickets will be available for purchase on a first come first serve basis through a reservation service beginning on a date to be announced in February or March. Clingmans Dome Road will be closed on Sunday, August 20th and Monday, August 21st to accommodate the special event.
Cades Cove and Oconaluftee: The park is currently planning to host informal staff- guided eclipse viewing sites at Cable Mill (Cades Cove) and Oconaluftee Visitor Center. There will be no charge to participate. Vehicle access to these sites, though, may be closed when parking becomes full or roads become congested.
The Park is still working on details for these events, so check back here often for updated information as it becomes available.
Visitors may view the eclipse from other areas of the park on your own, though due to the influx of eclipse viewers during the already-busy season, the Park Service may need to close certain areas on August 21st to reduce gridlock, which may include Newfound Gap Road.
Furthermore, our educational partner, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, is planning a special multi-day Science Camp for high school aged students over the eclipse weekend and event. For more information on this opportunity as details become available go to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont website.
SafetySpecial viewing glasses are required in order to safely view the solar eclipse. A limited number of glasses will be available within the park. It is best to purchase them before you enter the park to ensure you have them for viewing. Advanced purchase of solar glasses is recommended so come back to this webpage to find out when they become available. You may (and should) take them off only during the totality (less than two minutes) or you will miss the highlight of the eclipse!
Planning for the eclipseAugust is typically a busy time of year in the park. The solar eclipse will bring even more visitors to the area, so expect traffic delays, congested parking lots, and the possibility of road closures. Please note that eclipse viewers may need to make special plans to avoid viewing the astronomical event while caught in traffic. Visit the main park web page for alerts and current information.
Campgrounds and hotels in the area will fill up quickly for the eclipse. It is a good idea to book early!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has nine frontcountry campgrounds, some requiring reservations. Visit the park campground page for more information.
Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Visit the park backcountry permit page for more information on backcountry camping.
Permits are required for all commercial photography, videography, and other special uses. Visit the permit page for more information.
Other communities in the area will be hosting events for the total solar eclipse. Visit the links below for information on events in the surrounding communities.
Jackson County, North Carolina
Bryson City, North Carolina
Tennessee State Parks
Other national park sites are planning events for the eclipse. Visit John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Homestead National Monument of America to learn more. Additional links will be added as they become available.