Best Place to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse – Sun Valley Idaho
Best Place to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse – Sun Valley Idaho | words: Sara Sheehy
What are you doing this August?
Quick, check your calendar. Where will you be on Monday, August 21, 2017? If it’s not Sun Valley, you’d better start making plans. Trust me, Sun Valley is exactly where you’ll want to be.
August 21, 2017 brings the first total solar eclipse to North America in over 38 years, making it more rare than the coveted snowfall of a Pineapple Express. Everything has to be perfect, with the sun, moon and Earth lined up just so.
How it Works
A solar eclipse works like this: the moon passes in front of the sun, gradually blocking the sun’s rays from reaching Earth. After about an hour, for those standing directly in the path of the eclipse, the moon will completely block the sun from view, casting the earth into twilight. After one to two minutes, the sun will slowly start to reappear.
Every location in the continental United States will see some portion of this spectacular celestial show, but most will see a partial eclipse. Only those in the “path of totality” will completely lose sight of the sun. The path of totality is a narrow band, 70 miles across, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.
The icing on this cosmic cake, if you haven’t guessed it already: Sun Valley and Stanley, our neighbor to the north, are both in the path of totality. Imagine, paddle boarding on Redfish Lake and watching twilight fall on the Sawtooth Mountains. Or sitting on the steps of Pioneer Cabin and seeing the ghostly glow of daytime darkness at 9,500 feet. Does it get any better than that? And you since you can’t see the eclipse on a clouy day, picking a location with over 250 days of sun a year is a wise gamble.
Now that you know where you need to be on August 21st, it’s time to start planning. Celestial buffs have had their plans in place for years, and thousands of others have already booked to witness this rare spectacle. I don’t mean to cause a panic, but towns on the path of totality are expecting tens of thousands of visitors. Now is the time to book a hotel, a house, a campsite, or beg for a spot on a friend’s couch. Check out our resources below to help…except for that spot on your friend’s couch. You’re on your own for that one.
Where to Stay in Sun Valley & Stanley
Now that you know that Sun Valley & Stanley are the places to be for the solar eclipse, here are a few resources for accommodations in the area. Rooms will fill up fast so plan ahead!
Best Places to see the Eclipse
- Bald Mountain – hike, bike or take the lifts up to the top of Bald Mountain for unobstructed 360* views of Sun Valley. This close and user friendly access is a great opportunity for some epic expanses
- Downtown Ketchum – grab some friends and head for Town Square where you’ll be surrounded by locals and visitors alike all here to drink in the light show
- Stanley – the Sawtooth Mountains and the surrounding lakes invite viewers to kick back and drink-in nature at its finest
- Mt. Borah – for the ambitious types, Mt. Borah is the spot to be. Smack dab in the path of totality, the tallest peak in Idaho (12,667′) will truly be an unparalleled vantage point. Hiking Mt. Borah is no cake walk. Be sure to plan ahead and be prepared
The Recommended Gear
Watching a solar eclipse doesn’t require a lot of gear, but you can’t do it with your bare eyes. Staring at the sun is a horrible idea any day, and you definitely shouldn’t do it the day of the eclipse…it would be hard to see the beauty of Idaho with permanent eye damage. Order a pair of eclipse glasses online well in advance, before they sell out.
Grabbing a photo of this momentous occasion might be a top priority for many of but it can be a bit trickier than you think. Having a DSLR camera with adjustable settings and a tripod are two items that will increase your odds of a NatGeo style photo. For more pointers, check out this page to nail the shot.
Other Events Happening in Sun Valley during the Eclipse
The solar eclipse will be the star of the show despite the less than 2 minute long duration. Fortunately, there are heaps of other activities and events to keep you entertained while you’re here. Check out our list of must-do activities and our calendar of events to plan out the perfect trip.
The Need-to-Know Details
Here are a few quick take-aways along with more resources for the big day:
- Date: Monday – August 21, 2017
- Times in Sun Valley, Idaho: start of partial eclipse – 10:15am | total eclipse – 11:30am | end of partial eclipse – 12:50pm (Note: we are 7hrs behind GMT/UTC time)
- Sun Valley, Idaho Weather
- Detailed map with exact eclipse timing
- All things solar eclipse related
There will be no bad place to watch the eclipse, but you’ll find us raising a glass of whiskey to the cosmos from the summit of Bald Mountain. Where do you think the prime Sun Valley eclipse viewing spot will be?
Video of the solar eclipse path via Nasa: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov