Aug 18

Counting Down to the Solar Eclipse

On August 21, 2017—for the first time in almost 40 years—the United States will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse. Yellowstone National Park lies just outside the small geographic band known as the “path of totality,” or the area in which the moon will completely block out the sun.

Visitors in the park will enjoy 90% totality where the moon will almost entirely block the sun—plunging the world’s first national park into spectacular mid-day darkness.

Are you heading to Yellowstone to join in on the fun? Read on for our guide for viewing the “Great American Solar Eclipse,” including our list of helpful tips and educational resources.

Where to see the eclipse in Yellowstone

The eclipse will occur between 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. MT and will be partially visible anywhere in Yellowstone National Park. It will “peak” at approximately 11:36 a.m. for a little over two minutes.

Yellowstone’s South Entrance will be the closest area in the park to the path of totality, though the total eclipse will still not be visible from there. National Park officials expect this area to be especially busy, and remind visitors to pack their patience and allow plenty of time to travel to and from their destinations. The NPS website offers even more tips for watching the eclipse in Yellowstone.

Learn about the eclipse

Yellowstone Forever’s Park Stores offer several books and mementos that are all about the solar eclipse. Kids will enjoy learning about eclipses—and how to protect their eyes so they can fully experience this rare event—in The Big Eclipse book. Older audiences can brush up on the science behind solar eclipses with the booklet “See the Great American Solar Eclipse” by cartographer Michael Zeiler. You can also pick up a solar eclipse-themed bookmark or poster. Stop by one of Yellowstone Forever’s 11 educational Park Stores to purchase these items and more. Proceeds benefit Yellowstone National Park.

Safe viewing

Proper eye protection is necessary to look directly at the sun! The sun’s rays can cause severe eye injury. You can buy a pair of eclipse glasses ahead of time in one of our Park Store locations (supplies extremely limited and likely to run out in the days before the eclipse).

Expect heavy traffic in Yellowstone National Park on the day of the eclipse. Yellowstone reminds visitors to park in designated pullouts and parking lots, taking care not to block traffic, while watching the eclipse. Check out Yellowstone’s Solar Eclipse FAQs page for more tips and information.

Have fun!

A solar eclipse like this one will not happen again until 2024. Pack your patience and keep the safety of yourself and others in mind, then grab your protective eyewear and get ready for an unforgettable experience!

Other Resources
Photographing the Eclipse
NASA’s Solar Eclipse site
Family Activity: Solar Eclipse


Photo credits: Cover image – NPS. “See the Great American Eclipse” image – Yellowstone Forever. All others – courtesy of NASA.