Bucket List, Summer

Everything You Need to Know for the 2017 Solar Eclipse in Sun Valley, Idaho

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - Sun Valley, idaho

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.

Best place to watch the 2017 solar eclipse - Sun Valley Idaho

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

The Need-to-Know Details

Here are a few take-aways along with more resources for the big day:

Video of the solar eclipse path via Nasa: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov

Emergency Information

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.

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