We’re just days away from the first total solar eclipse the contiguous United States will have experienced in nearly 40 years. And the cool part is that much of our East Tennessee and Smoky Mountains region lies in the zone of totality, which is the area that falls in the shadow cast by the moon as it passes between earth and the sun.
This is a big deal that a lot of folks around here have been looking forward to for months. People have been buying their safety glasses and picking out where they want to watch the eclipse from, but if you happen to be vacationing in the Smokies on Monday, August 21, you might not have many clear ideas about the best ways to participate in this event.
If you’re staying in one of our cabins in Wears Valley, one option to consider is attending a free viewing event in the Cades Cove section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which you can easily access by taking the Wears Valley entrance into the park (via Line Springs Rd.). Once you hit the main park road near the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, head west toward Cades Cove. It’s only a few minutes’ drive away from there.
Once at the cove, park staff will oversee guided viewings of the eclipse, but make sure you have the proper safety eyewear if you plan to look directly at the sun. Naked eyes and sunglasses are no-nos. Instead, plan on getting a pair of special filtered glasses made just for this purpose. Or watch the event on TV or online.
Be cautioned, however, that if traffic gets to be too heavy around Cades Cove, park officials may close the roads. So maybe plan on getting there early in the day and expect to stay long after the eclipse as traffic thins out.
Another option might be travel to nearby Townsend, TN, on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.” There are a lot of wide-open spaces along the stretch of U.S. 321 that runs through Townsend, so you should have no trouble finding a spot with a clear view of the sun. Of course, we can’t predict how heavy traffic will be in any particular area of the Smokies on Monday, so wherever you decide to go, don’t wait until the last minute to head there.
Depending on which of our cabins you’re staying in, you might have a direct observable view of the eclipse from your porch or deck, but many of our properties are located in shaded areas, so your results may vary.
If you’re not planning on being in the Smokies next week, that’s OK, but don’t wait until the next eclipse occurs in East Tennessee to pay us a visit. The next one may not happen for several hundred years, and we don’t think we can wait that long to see you here at Timbercreek Cabins.