East Tennessee Guide To The Solar Eclipse

On August 21, 2017 the western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will lie within the path of totality during the first total solar eclipse observed from the continental United States in 38 years. Totality within the park will range from 30 seconds to almost 2 1/2 minutes at some locations.

Solar Eclipse

East Tennessee

No matter where you are in the United States, you will be able to see a partial solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. But the “totality” of it is about 70 miles wide, and for the first time in over 500 years, a large portion of the state of Tennessee will be able to witness a total eclipse of the sun. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that you don’t want to miss. You can use this handy tool to figure out the precise time to see the eclipse based on your zip code.

Solar Eclipse

Pigeon Forge

The heart of Pigeon Forge is just outside the totality of the moon’s shadow, but you will still be able to see a partial solar eclipse from the city. Even from this limited view, the moon will still obscure 99.9% of the sun! To see the full eclipse, you will only need to travel about 6 miles southwest.

Peak: 2:35 pm EDT

In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the path of totality for the eclipse. The park is planning organized public viewing events at Clingman’s Dome, Cades Cove, and Oconaluftee. You can visit the Great Smoky Mountains Association page to buy an regional map for eclipse viewing.

Solar Eclipse

Clingman’s Dome

Clingman’s Dome Trailhead parking area will be converted to a ticketed event site for viewing the eclipse with the assistance of experts, educational exhibits, and storytellers, but you must have a ticket for this event. NASA will be streaming live from Clingman’s Dome among other locations around the country. Clingman’s Dome Road will be closed on August 20th and 21st to accommodate the event. You can call (865) 436-1585 with questions about attendance.

Cades Cove & Oconaluftee

The park is planning to host informal staff-guided eclipse viewing sites at Cable Mill (Cades Cove) and Oconaluftee Visitor Center. You can participate free of charge, but vehicle access to these sites may be closed when parking becomes full or roads become congested. Details for these events are still being worked out, so check back for updated information.

Visitors may view the eclipse from other areas of the park, though due to traffic of eclipse viewers during the already busy season, the Park Service may need to close certain areas on August 21st. These areas may include Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove.

Solar Eclipse


Special viewing glasses are required in order to 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. You may (and should) take them off only during the totality (less than two minutes) or you will miss the highlight of the eclipse!

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