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15 Fun Places to See the Solar Eclipse in the Great Smoky Mountains

For the first time in over 100 years, Tennessee will experience a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. It’s an amazing event that you don’t want to miss, and one of the best places to experience the solar eclipse is here in the Great Smoky Mountains. From Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, you’ll be able to experience greater than 99% obscuration. And, in Wears Valley, Townsend, and Maryville, and the western half of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll be able to see the 100% obscuration! So, to help you get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime (for most of us) event, here’s a list of many of the events hosted here in the Smokies.

Free Eclipse Viewing Events in the Smokies

There are several events happening throughout the Smokies where you can experience the eclipse for free! Many of these events offer free perks, like music or eclipse glasses. After our free events section, you can find a list of paid events celebrating the eclipse in the Smokies.

Click here for the list of paid events in the Smokies

Where to See the Eclipse in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The eclipse is the perfect time to explore the most visited national park in the United States. The entire western half of the park will experience 100% obscuration. Whereas, the eastern half will still enjoy more than 99% obscuration. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be hosting viewing events at three locations in the park: Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove, and Oconaluftee. While the event at Clingmans Dome is a ticketed event, the gatherings at Cades Cove and Ocanaluftee are free and open to the public.

solar eclipse event will be held at Clingmans Dome

 

The first event, at Clingmans Dome is set to be an amazing experience. But, unfortunately for those of you who haven’t yet secured a ticket, the event is sold out. The GSMNP does note on its site, though, that canceled tickets will be made available online for purchase here. For the event, the parking area at Clingmans Dome Trailhead parking will be converted into a special ticketed site to experience the eclipse. You’ll be able to hear from experts leading up to the event, and enjoy educational exhibits and storytellers.

A solar eclipse viewing event will be held at Cades Cove

The National Park will host informal events at Cable Mill in Cades Cove and the Ocanaluftee Visitor Center

 

The park will also be hosting two additional informal events at Cable Mill in Cades Cove and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in North Carolina. During these events, staff will guide visitors at viewing sites. And, there is no charge to participate in these events. Be aware, though, that vehical access to these sites may be closed when parking becomes full or roads become congested. Park staff at these events will also be assisted by students participating in the Tremont Institutes special science camp for the eclipse.

An alternative to gathering at the two informal events would also be to take a hike! There is nothing stopping you from making a hiking excursion leading up to the eclipse. Imagine seeing the eclipse from Gregory Bald or along Rich Mountain Loop.

Free Eclipse Viewing Events at Local Libraries

We’re proud that our local libraries do so much to educate and empower the youth of our area. The libraries of the Smokies regularly host many awesome events for young people and adults alike. They’re continuing that tradition by hosting free eclipse parties for the public!

Eclipse Viewing Party at the Pigeon Forge Public Library

The Pigeon Forge Public Library will host a special eclipse viwing party from 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm. During the event, kids can enjoy interactive displays, games, and snacks. Eclipse glasses will also be on sale for only $2.00 each.

Magnitude: 0.996
Obscuration: 99.81%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Maximum eclipse at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at at 3:59 pm

The Pigeon Forge Library is more exciting than you might think

The Pigeon Forge Public Library will host an eclipse viewing party in its parking lot

 

Solar Eclipse Family Viewing Party at the King Family Library

The King Family Library will host an eclipse viewing party for families in their parking lot from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Attendees will be able to enjoy crafts and fun solar system activities. The library will also be providing eclipse glasses to its attendees, courtesy of StarNet.

Magnitude: 0.996
Obscuration: 99.81%
Starts at 1:05 pm
Maximum eclipse at 2:35 pm
End of partial eclipse is at 3:59 pm

Blount County Library’s Total Solar Eclipse Viewing

Whereas the Pigeon Forge and Sevierville libraries will only enjoy up to 99.8% obscuration, the Blount County Library in Maryville, TN will experience 100% obscuration! This is a great event, from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm, to check out if you’re looking to see the total eclipse in all its glory. The event is 100% free, and will offer free eclipse viewing glasses to the first 100 participants. If you come early, you can also get the chance to make your very own pinhole cameras to view the eclipse.

Magnitude: 1.003
Obscuration: 100%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:04 pm
Total eclispe starts at 2:33 pm
Maximum eclipse starts at 2:34 pm
Total eclipse ends at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at 3:59 pm

Totally Baked Eclipse Party at Ben & Jerry’s in the Tanger Outlets

You can celebrate the eclipse while treating yourself with a day at the Tanger Outlets! You’ll be able to grab a free sample from Ben & Jerry’s to enjoy during the event. Also, the shopping outlet will have giveaways, music, and the first 200 attendees will recieve free eclipse glasses.

Tanger Outlets will host a solar eclipse viewing event

The Tanger event will feature music and free eclipse glasses.

 

McClung Muesum of Natural History and Culture Social Eclipse Activity

Magnitude: 0.997
Obscuration: 99.87%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:04 pm
Maximum eclipse at 2:34 pm
Partial eclipse ends at at 3:58 pm

From 9:00 am until 11:00 pm the this University of Tennessee museum will host an eclipse party for its attendees. There will be free educational activies that morning for folks to learn more about the eclipse. Attendees will also get a chance to make a craft to take home and can purchase eclipse glasses in the museum store.

Tailgating in Totality Party at Pellissippi State Community College

From 12:00 pm until 3:00 pm, Pellissippi State Community College’s Blout County campus will host a tailgating part to celebrate the eclipse. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, suncreen, and food and beverages. There will be a food truck on site to provide some delicous grub. Eclipse viewing glasses will be provided to attendees as supplies last. But, pets and alcohol are not allowed. The Pellissippi bluegrass band Hardin Valley Thunder will perform from 1:15 until 2:00 pm. Finally, the college will show live footage from a high altitude baloon during the eclipse that Pellissippi students are launching as part of a partnership with NASA.

Magnitudue: 1.002
Obscuration: 100%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Total eclispe starts at 2:34 pm
Maximum eclipse starts at 2:35 pm
Total eclipse ends at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at 3:59 pm

Eclipse Viewing Event at Oak Ridge Manhattan Project Naitonal Historic Museum

This national historic park will be hosting an eclipse viewing eclipse at the Manhattan Project National Historic Museum. Park rangers will be there to help educate attendees about the eclipse. This event is 100% free, and free eclipse viewing glasses will be distributed to attendees as supplies last.

Magnitude: 1.000
Obscuration: 100%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:04 pm
Total eclispe starts at 2:33 pm
Maximum eclipse starts at 2:33 pm
Total eclipse ends at 2:33 pm
Partial eclipse ends at 3:58 pm

Paid Eclipse Events in the Great Smoky Mountains

In addition to free events, many of your favorite attractions in the Smokies are offering special packages for the eclipse. From the bow of the Titanic to tubing on the river, there’s lots of places to experience the eclipse!

See the Eclipse from the Titanic Bow

To celebrate this amazing eclipse, the Titanic Museum Attraction is hosting a very special eclipse viewing party. Tickets for the event are $65, but that includes a lot! Attendees will enjoy a casual lunch in Titanic’s secret private dining room before taking a tour of the ship (where you’ll be able to see the special exhibit featuring costumes from the movie Titanic). Afterwards, you’ll be able to experience the eclipse in all its glory from the bow of the ship!

This is the very first time in the museum’s history that people have been allowed on the bow! In addition to all the aforementioned amenities, attendees will also recieve special eclipse glasses. The event kicks off at 1:00 pm, so be sure to call (800) 381-7670 to reserve yours spot.

Magnitude: 0.996
Obscuration: 99.81%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Maximum eclipse at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at at 3:59 pm

Titanic Museum Eclipse Event

For the first time ever, folks will be allowed to be on the Titanic bow!

 

Solar Eclipse Garden Party at the Park Vista

Park Vista of Gatlinburg will be hosting a very special garden party for the public to view the eclipse. The event is scheduled to kick-off opening ceremonies at 12:00 pm and continue until 3:00 pm. For $40 per person, you will be able to enjoy an eclipse-inspired lunch buffet, as well as live entertainment and a special viewing area on the Park Vista lawn and garden. Eclipse glasses will also be provided to attendees at no additional charge. You can call 865-436-9211 to reserve your spot now!

Magnitude: 0.999
Obscuration: 99.95%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Maximum eclipse at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at at 3:59 pm

 

Tube the Eclipse and Solar Social with River Rat Tubing in Townsend

There are lots of events celebrating the eclipse in the Smokies, but this is definitely one of the most unique ones. River Rat Tubing of Townsend, TN will be hosting a very unique way to see the eclipse: while tubing down the river! For $25, you will receive a wristband for all-day tubing, a glow in the dark River Rat Eclipse 2017 t-shirt, special viewing glasses, and access to the Solar Social after the eclipse! The Solar Social will feature live music from Larry Blair of The Blair Experience as well as kids activities. Reserve your spot here

Magnitudue: 1.002
Obscuration: 100%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Total eclispe starts at 2:34 pm
Maximum eclipse starts at 2:35 pm
Total eclipse ends at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at 3:59 pm

Zip the Eclipse at FoxFire Mountain Adventure Park

As the home of the tallest zipline on the East Coast and the longest swinging bridge in the United States, you know an eclipse viewing party at Foxfire Mountain will be an adventure! This special event will offer free specialty eclipse glasses for the first 100 guests. It will also feature live bluegrass music from the Steve Brown & Hurricane Ridge Band from 12:00 – 3:00 pm and free tastings and open cash bar at Wylie Cider.

Magnitude: 0.999
Obscuration: 99.95%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Maximum eclipse at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at at 3:59 pm

zip the eclipse at Foxfire Mountain

Foxfire Mountain is bringing ziplines and the eclipse together

 

Off-Road Eclipse Viewing with Mtn Trax

Mtn Trax will be hosting another unique event to celebrate the eclipse on August 21. Mtn Trax is an adventure company based out of Townsend, TN that offers street-legal UTV rentals as well as a guided off-road UTV experience. For this event, you’ll get the chance to experience the solar eclipse by way of a guided UTV tour to a private viewing area in Townsend, TN. After the eclipse is over, you’ll get the chance to enjoy an off-road tour on Mtn Trax’s private trail. Every attendee will recieve eclipse viewing glasses and a bottle of water. This is definitely a fun, adventurous way to experience the eclipse! Give Mtn Trax a call today to secure your spot at 865-365-8654.

Magnitudue: 1.002
Obscuration: 100%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:05 pm
Total eclispe starts at 2:34 pm
Maximum eclipse starts at 2:35 pm
Total eclipse ends at 2:35 pm
Partial eclipse ends at 3:59 pm

Take An Off-Road Tour with Mtn Trax

Mtn Trax UTV Rentals Townsend, TN is offering the ultimate outdoor adventure with their off-road tours! You’re in the driver’s seat as you explore forest, streams, mud bogs, and more

Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cherokee’s Cultural Eclipse Celebration

Cherokee, NC, located on the southern border of the GSMNP, is an amazing destination for anyone looking to explore the history and culture of the Smokies. Cherokee is home to the Eastern Tribe of the Cherokee, and hosts many cultural events celebrating its Native American culture. For the eclipse, the city is hosting a two-day celebration that honors the Cherokee folklore surrounding solar eclipses.

The ancient Cherokee believed that a solar eclipse was caused by a giant frog that lived in the sky trying to swallow the sun. The Cherokee and other tribes would gather and fire guns, beat drums, and make as much noise as possible to drive away the frog.

The Cherokee event will include a recreation of this event, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own noisemakers. For $25 per person for each day, you’ll be able to enjoy an event complete with the Warriors of AniKituhwa, Native American performances, storytelling, food vendors, musical entertainment, and a certified pair of eclipse glasses for every attendee.

Magnitude: 1.003
Obscuration: 100%
Partial eclipse starts at 1:06 pm
Total eclispe starts at 2:35 pm
Maximum eclipse starts at 2:36 pm
Total eclipse ends at 2:37 pm
Partial eclipse ends at 4:00 pm