Jackson Hole’s Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

What do I Need to Know About Jackson Hole’s Total Solar Eclipse?

Jackson Hole’s Total Solar EclipseAre you planning to come to Jackson Hole for the August 21st, 2017 Solar Eclipse? We have compiled some information about everything you might need to know about the solar eclipse in Jackson Hole this summer.

What is it and when did it last happen? A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun align and the moon’s size completely blocks out the sun. The last time this type of eclipse crossed the continental United States was on June 8, 1918, when it took a similar path to the eclipse this August. The moon will thus create a shadow on the United States. For a glimpse of the moon’s path and the area near Jackson covered by the total solar eclipse, visit Michael Zeiler’s description at GreatAmericanEclipse.com to see the moon racing across our planet.

When will it happen? The total solar eclipse will happen on Monday, August 21st, 2017. It will start in Jackson Hole around 10:17 AM and end around 12:56 AM. Totality will occur around 11:36 AM.

Jackson Hole's Total Solar EclipseWhere can I see it in the sky?  While the sun is mostly overhead on August 21st in Jackson Hole, it does slip slightly into the southern sky. For that reason, we would suggest moving slightly out away from the north-facing mountain slopes. These slopes might block your view of the approaching sun. Otherwise, all you need to do to see the eclipse is to start looking up around 10:17 AM.

If there is an overcast sky
in Jackson on August 21st, will I be able to see the eclipse?
While it is common to get afternoon storms caused by a season wind pattern in Jackson after 3:00 PM, it’s unlikely that it will be overcast in the late morning in August. In the off chance that we have a storm come through, you will not be able to see the sun, but you will still have the experience of the eclipse. The moon will completely block out the sun and the entire valley that is called “Jackson Hole” will go completely dark, as if it is nighttime.

Where to watch? You should watch the eclipse where you would like to be after it is over. Everywhere in Jackson Hole is breathtaking. Jackson Hole, however, is small and has three major highways. With a number of people who are planning to come for the eclipse, our roads will be crowded. We would suggest watching the eclipse where you would like to be after it happens and suggest getting up early to get there. Try Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park for a nice reflective view. Slide Lake in the Gros Ventre Range near Kelly will also offer a nice reflective view with a pretty landscape.

2017 solar eclipse racing over Grand Teton National Monument, Wyoming from Michael Zeiler on Vimeo.

What are the best hikes for viewing the solar eclipse in Jackson Hole? You will want to be in open areas to view the eclipse. Thus, a handful of hikes in Grand Teton Park have some good vantage points that would make for awesome views of both the sky and the surrounding area. Phelps Lake has a jumping rock that you can hike to and offers an open view to the southern sky. Inspiration Point at Jenny Lake is wide open and offers you a view of the Cathedral Group and a wide open view of the sun. Emma Matilda and Two Oceans Lakes are both flat and you will easily be able to see the sky from their northern shores. The Rockefeller Trail off Moose Wilson Road has a big open field that allows for easy viewing of the sky and is a delightful trail for small children. And if you are feeling especially athletic, try for Amphitheater Lake under the Grand Teton. But in order to make it to the lake in time for the eclipse, you will have to get up really early.

Inspiration Point, Grand Teton National Park

Where can I stay? Rentals and hotels have been booked in our area for several months. While you can always check our website for last minute cancellations, you should not rely on this. At this point in time, your options may be camping. While there are several campsites in the park and surrounding area, they are a first come, first serve set up. Please plan ahead.

How can I view it? To view the eclipse, you must never look at the sun directly but rather through special solar filters. Several of our gas stations are selling these specialized glasses and you can also order them online at Amazon.  NASA has provided an excellent description of how to view the eclipse. Be sure to use a specialized solar filter on your camera if you plan to take a shot of the eclipse. You can also view the eclipse by “taking a selfie” with the sun on your phone. Finally, you can make a pinhole projector that will show you the stages of the solar eclipse.

American Paper Optics’s Eclipse Glasses – CE Certified Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses on Amazon


What else do I need to know? As Jackson Hole and the surrounding area are in the prime path, there will be many visitors. Plan ahead by buying groceries in advance as our groceries stores will be crowded. Leave early for scheduled events. For more information about how the eclipse actually works, please visit the NASA website.