Solar Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse Map











On August 21, 2017 at approximately 2:30 pm EDT, a total eclipse of the sun will pass over parts of Western North Carolina. This natural event will pass over 12 states, with the 70 mile wide path of total darkness beginning in Oregon and exiting the U.S. in South Carolina. Areas within this path will experience total darkness for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds. The Nantahala National Forest (Nantahala, Tusquitee, and Cheoah Ranger Districts) and Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah Ranger District) and surrounding communities are within the 70 mile wide total darkness path.

WARNING: Never look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eyewear designed for an eclipse. Regular sunglasses do not offer sufficient protection from the sun and their use can lead to eye damage.


For a printable version of this information, click here


The skies will darken all the way from Oregon to South Carolina along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide called the Path of Totality.  In the Southeast, it will begin to get dark around 1:15 p.m. in Kentucky and totality will occur at about 1:22 p.m.; totality will last just over two minutes. Murphy will see approximately 2.5 minutes of totality at 2:34 PM, as well as Andrews, NC. Franklin will experience totality at 2:35 PM. Asheville and Waynesville are NOT in the path of totality, but viewers will still need eclipse glasses for a partial eclipse.  Information here will highlight the exact time and location in each state as well provide other information including safety.

If you are interested in what the solar eclipse will look like from your vantage point on August 21, here is a simulator that will show you what you will see and when, based on where you will be.


Community Events: The total eclipse path will pass through the Nantahala National Forest in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon, Swain, and Jackson Counties, and through the Pisgah Ranger District in Transylvania and southern Haywood Counties. Communities throughout the area will be hosting celebrations and showcasing local and regional culture. These events are easily accessible and offer various amenities. There are several online sources that offer information about the eclipse and activities in the area, including


The Cradle of Forestry will be hosting The Power of the Sun: Total Solar Eclipse Celebration at their site on the isgah Ranger District. More information about their event can be found here.


National Forests in North Carolina: Some eclipse viewers, many of whom may not be familiar with national forest lands, may wish to observe the eclipse in a more natural setting. We expect our recreation sites and campgrounds to be at capacity on August 21 and the weekend before, with extremely high demand. Most of our sites do not take reservations, and are offered on a first-come basis, so make sure to arrive with alternate plans in mind. Planning your visit ahead of time may help your visit be more enjoyable and safer. Remember that this eclipse can be viewed anywhere the sun is visible - it is not necessary to be on the national forest or even at high elevation to view it.

As eclipse viewers prepare to visit this area, most lodging has become fully booked, and options for camping may be limited due to the high number of visitors. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the area you plan on visiting including camping restrictions.  See for more information.

Much of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests is remote and rugged, often difficult to access. Some locations on these forests have road access concerns, requiring transit over rough/gravel roads that may not be suitable for vehicles without high clearance or 4 wheel drive. Locations outside of developed recreation areas have very limited access and parking, restricted traffic flow, and no facilities with running water. Parking is not allowed in or on roads, and at sites with “No Parking” signs. On August 21, expect high traffic on our narrow roads and crowded areas that might result in a bad experience for you. Forest Service management is focused on public safety and protecting our natural and cultural resources. It may be necessary to control traffic and parking, as well as restrict access to some areas to reduce the potential for damage.

Cell phone service can be limited or unavailable and GPS units are often unreliable in the forest, so plan your route in advance and have a map. Tread lightly, and leave no trace by removing trash and packing out what you packed in. 


Be Safe!

  • Understand risks, respect signs and barriers, and stay within your limits.
  • Most remote areas have limited or no services and facilities.
  • Be prepared for warm temperatures, bring extra water and sun and eye protection.


Know Before You Go

  • Plan ahead to ensure a safe and fun experience.
  • Expect large crowds and congestion.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rules and specific information about the site you are visiting.
  • Cell service will not be available in many locations.
  • Many roads on the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are rough gravel/dirt and may require a high-clearance vehicle.

For more information on what to be aware of before your visit, click here

For a checklist to assist you with camping plans, click here


Recreate Responsibly

  • Help protect our national forest for all to enjoy.
  • Tread lightly and leave no trace. Leave your site better than you found it.
  • Remove all trash and remember to pack it in, pack it out!


Fire Safety

  • The use of, or possession of, fireworks is prohibited on all national forest land.
  • Clear campfire sight down to bare soil.
  • Circle fire pit with rocks.
  • Build campfire away from overhanging branches, logs/stumps, steep slopes, dry grass and leaves/pine needles.
  • Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.
  • NEVER leave a campfire unattended.
  • When putting out a campfire, drown the fire, stir it and drown it until it is dead out!
  • Always have an adult around to supervisor outdoor cooking.
  • Be careful with gas lanterns, barbeques, gas stoves and anything that can be a source of ignition for a wildfire.


Bear Country

In most situations, bears have a natural fear of humans that helps them survive. Black bears are wild and their behavior is sometimes unpredictable. Treat all bear encounters with extreme caution.  Visit here for more black bear information.


DEVELOPED RECREATION SITES: Developed campgrounds are scattered throughout the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, providing visitors with a range of site amenities and services. Most campsites in developed campgrounds are large and level enough to accommodate tents, pop-up campers & RVs.  A table, fire ring, and lantern post are common site features.  The most developed campgrounds offering electric hook-ups and large, level campsites. Visit here for camping information.

Many campsites in developed campgrounds are available on a first come-first served basis, but some can be reserved in advance online at - or by calling:  1-877-444-6777.


DISPERSED CAMPING: For visitors wanting to get away from it all, dispersed camping outside of developed campgrounds is allowed throughout Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests unless posted otherwise.  Dispersed camping is free and no permits are required. Visit Dispersed Camping for more information.

  • Pisgah RD: Be aware that camping is prohibited within 1,000 feet of a road, unless it is at a marked, designated site. Camping is not allowed within Graveyard Fields and bear canisters are required in Shining Rock Wilderness, Middle Prong Wilderness, and along Avery Creek Road (FSR 477, Pisgah Ranger District).
  • Nantahala RD: Be aware that camping is prohibited within 100 feet of water and within 50 feet from a road, unless it is at a marked, designated site.


POSSIBLE ECLIPSE VIEWING LOCATIONS:  National Forest visitors should expect many locations to be heavily visited and congested.  Forest Service management is focused on public safety and protecting the natural and cultural resources.  It may be necessary to control traffic and parking and to restrict vehicular access to some locations.   Areas closed to vehicular traffic will remain open to public entry (foot, bicycle,use, etc.).


If you would like information about other National Forests in the path of the eclipse, click here

For a map of all the National Forests, National Grasslands, and National Receration Areas in the path of the eclipse, click here