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.
Here’s an awesome video with a little better explanation on how it all works from the Symbiosis Gathering
Where to Stay in Sun Valley & Stanley
If you haven’t booked your travel already, finding a place to stay might be extremely challenging. Hotels, Airbnb’s and campsites are nearly all spoken for. We have a list of several lodging resources that you’re welcome to browse if you’re feeling lucky.
If you’re looking to camp, please abide all regulations and be a thoughtful steward!
Best Places to see the Eclipse
- Bald Mountain – hike 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. Lift tickets are SOLD OUT and regular lift access down will not be allowed to non-ticket holders. So, be prepared to hike down if you hike up. Sun Valley Company has put together an excellent informative video on what’s going on from their end that can be viewed here.
- Ketchum & Sun Valley – grab some friends and head for Festival Meadows on the border of Sun Valley & Ketchum where you’ll be surrounded by locals and visitors alike all here to drink in the light show. Click here for the Visitors’ Map that lists all of the designated viewing locations.
- 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
- Click here to see all of the designated viewing locations
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. Don’t forget the water and the sunscreen! The altitude and dry warm summer temperatures can dehydrate and easily cause sunburns if you’re not prepared. Slather the sunscreen and keep the water constantly flowing.
- Available for purchase at: The Elephant’s Perch, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Welcome Center in Hailey and the Idaho Conservation League’s Ketchum office.
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.
Fun Things for Kids to Do in Sun Valley, Idaho
- Complete Calendar of Events
- Night Watch– visual arts exhibition presented by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts | June 30-August 26
- The Wood River Studio Tour | August 15-20
- Huey Lewis & The News – concert | August 19
- Lecture: “Revealing the Hidden, High Energy Sun” with the American Astronnomical Society’s Dr. Rachel Osten | August 20
- Ballet Sun Valley featuring Isabella Boyleston | August 22 & 24
- Wood River Farmers’ Market | August 22
- Yoga on the Mountain | August 26
- Sun Valley on Ice | August 26
The Need-to-Know Details
Here are a few 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)
- General local maps
- Bike path maps
- Detailed Solar Eclipse path map with exact eclipse timing
- Detailed Visitor map for the Ketchum area
- Transportation & Parking
- We’re thrilled to have everyone here for the eclipse! Our roadways will be at capacity and delays are expected. We encourage the use of public transportation and bike riding when and wherever possible!
- Please, please, please DO NOT STOP ON THE ROADS before, during or after the eclipse. Find a proper turnout or designated parking area wherever possible. We want everyone to stay safe out there!
- Paved bike paths
- Mountain Rides bus services & community bike rentals (download the app!)
- Other modes of getting around
- Ketchum parking
- Click here for Idaho Transportation Department WebCams!
- Local & Regional Resources
- Sun Valley Resort eclipse information
- Ketchum eclipse information
- Blaine County Preparation Website
- Blaine County’s story map of Public Facility Locations and Public Safety Locations
- Idaho eclipse information
- National Resources
Video of the solar eclipse path via Nasa: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov
We’re hoping for the smoothest possible experience for everyone during the eclipse. If, by chance, something goes down, here are a few resources for various emergency entities.
- Mobile Alerts App: CodeRed is an awesome mobile alert app that will ping you a message with details on important happenings
- Blaine County Emergency Planning Committee (great planning resource)
- Blaine County Sheriff (for the most current public safety information)
- Sun Valley Police | Sun Valley Fire
- Ketchum Police | Ketchum Fire
- Hailey Police | Hailey Fire
- Sawtooth Ranger Station
- St. Luke’s Wood River Hospital
- Idaho Transportation Department
- For immediate emergencies, dial 911
- For non-emergencies, call 208-788-5555