Blue Ridge Parkway Viewing Of Solar Eclipse

Blue Ridge Parkway Viewing Of Solar Eclipse

How and where to go for Blue Ridge Parkway viewing of solar eclipse in North Carolina. Parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina will be in the path of the total solar eclipse. On August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse will take place in the continental United States. It will be visible from West Coast to East Coast from Oregon to South Carolina. The path does include the far western section of North Carolina including sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is the first time in 38 years that a total eclipse has been possible to see in the continental United States. The next total solar eclipse in the continental United States will not be again until 2024. The total solar eclipse in NC will be in the far western portion of the state.This is a huge event and very exciting for North Carolina to be in the path of a total solar eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse In NC August 21, 2017 Viewing

Total Solar Eclipse In NC August 21, 2017 Viewing

The time for the total eclipse portion of for the western area of the state of NC and the Blue Ridge Parkway will be about 2:35PM and last about 2 1/2 minutes. The entire event will take about 3 hours from start to finish. So it will start just minutes after 1:00pm and be over about 4:00pm. But the sun being totally blocked by the moon will only last about 2 1/2 minutes from 2:35:04PM until 2:36:37PM. The darkness or shadow of the moon blocking the sun will cause the earth to become dark in the middle of the day. On Monday August 21, 2017 the day will turn to night and then night to turn to day!

The areas in the path of totality will experience darkness in the middle of the afternoon for about 2 1/2 minutes. NASA has stated that those people located ” in the path of  totality will see stars and planets become visible in what is normally a sunlit sky.” The area for a total solar eclipse will happen in about a 100-mile wide corridor from Oregon across the United States toward South Carolina. Earth’s moon will pass directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking out the sun’s light and making it dark as night for a short period of time that afternoon. From beginning to  end in any one location the entire process will last about 3 hours. That includes both partial phases, one as it begins, totality and one as it ends.


How and Where to go for Blue Ridge Parking viewing of solar eclipse

Blue Ridge Parkway in Path of Total Solar Eclipse in NC

Blue Ridge Parkway in Path of Total Solar Eclipse in NC

Some of the best places in North Carolina to view the 100 percent total solar eclipse will be from high elevations located in the NC mountains. This includes the southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC.  The Blue Ridge Parkway‘s southern end from milepost 418 to milepost 469 falls in the path of totality. Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam, Sam Knob, Devil’s Courthouse, and Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway are all in the path of totality. Other mountain sites in the path of totality in Western North Carolina include John Rock in Pisgah National Forest, Wayah Bald and Wesser Bald in Nantahala National Forest, and Whiteside Mountain near Cashiers. Crowds are expected so arrive early.


Good Places To Watch Solar Eclipse Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

Graveyard Fields MP 418.8

Black Balsam Trailhead  MP 420.2

Sam Knob   MP 420.2

Devil’s Courthouse   MP 422.4

Caney Fork Overlook   MP 428

Bear Trail Ridge Overlook   MP 430.4

Cowee Mountain Overlook   MP 430.7

Richland Balsam Overlook   MP 431.4 (the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Flat Gap Overlook  MP 435.2

Scenic Overlook  MP 441.3

Mt. Lynn Lowry Overlook   MP 445.2

Yellow Face Overlook  MP 446.4

Waterrock Knob Overlook   MP 451.2  (near Cherokee, NC)


Events Taking Place For The Solar Eclipse in NC

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville lies just north of that narrow band that will have 100% totality. The city will see a 99% solar eclipse and is just 50 miles north from the “path of totality,” where there will be a 100 percent eclipse. Asheville is having many special events but one is the Asheville’s Solar Eclipse Festival on August 21, 2017 from 12:00 noon until 3 p.m. The festival takes place in the heart of downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. There will be music, food, eclipse related activities as well as safe eyewear to view the solar eclipse. This event is FREE!

Black Mountain is having Rock the Eclipse in Black Mountain August 19-21, 2017. Historic downtown Black Mountain will host many events all weekend long and on Monday the day of the solar eclipse. Black Mountain will experience a 98.9 percent solar eclipse.

Other towns are also having special viewing events. Sylva (in the path of totality) is having special events all weekend long and on Monday they plan a big celebration. Astronomy experts will have educational talks and demonstrations leading up to the time of the eclipse.

Dillsboro is having a family friendly party in Monteith Park. A free shuttle will run to shops and restaurants in the small town for people to use to easily get around.

Cashiers and the nearby Gorges State Park will have three days of free activities for the eclipse.  Again arrive early because the park will close on Monday when capacity is reached. In Cashiers, the Village Green will have food trucks and live music 12-4 p.m. Monday August 24 the day of the big event.

In Downtown Bryson City just south and on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park the city turns into a huge block party Monday afternoon. There will be live music and other special events taking place.

In Cherokee, gateway of the south to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there will be events held. They plan to have demonstrations of Warrior Dancers, storytellers and craft demonstration at the Fairgrounds and Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Tickets will cost $25.

Expect Crowds On The Blue Ridge Parkway

Here are some reminders to keep in mind for travel on the parkway that Monday. Traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway that day will be very busy. Parking areas will fill up quickly. Visitors centers and public restrooms will also be crowded.The National Park Service does allows people to park vehicles anywhere on the Parkway as long as it is off the roadway. This means you can park in open fields, gullies, and unofficial scenic overlooks but please be sure you are parking on parkway property and not on any private property.

The maximum speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45mph. Some sections are marked at 35mph. The parkway is made to be driven at a slow leisurely speed limit. Do not be in a hurry. The parkway is a two-lane road that does allow passing in many areas, but long stretches of no passing are marked due to the winding mountainous terrain. Traffic on Monday August 21 will probably even be slower and very congested due to the total solar eclipse taking place that afternoon.

Protect Your Eyes

No matter where you are to view this event make sure you protect your eyes. You must wear proper sunglasses to view a solar eclipse. Not all sunglass are safe to use for this type of event. Make sure the sunglasses you use to view a total eclipse are marked “Made in USA” by either Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks, TSE or American Paper Optics. This will be printed on safe sunglasses to use “ISO 12312-2” or “ISO 12312-2:2015”. Sunglasses, eclipse shades or handheld viewers should meet the ISO safety standard. They also need to be in good condition, no tears, scratches, or  punctures.

What to do and how to prepare…





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