Countdown to the SOLAR Eclipse at Smith Rock

July 21, 2017

In case you've just landed on Earth and wonder what all the fuss is about, yes—Smith Rock State Park is in the Path of Totality for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017. Estimates range for total time the sun is blocked out by the moon from 1 minute and 23 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds. 

Either way, it's going to be a spectacular event, when daylight is replaced by an eerie dusk and the night stars and planets come out to play as the moon passes between us and the sun. And be prepared for a sudden chill, as the temperature drops by 12° or more, starting 20 minutes before totality. Plants close up, birds return to roost until a burst of sunlight appears along the edge of the sun as totality ends.  

Event times for Smith Rock

Start:                     9:06:29 AM
Start Totality:   10:19:42 AM
Max Eclipse:        10:20:25 AM
End Totality:       10:21:11 AM
End Time:              11:41:03 AM

Source: National Solar Observatory Eclipse Map

The moment you can take your safety glasses off

The moment you can take your safety glasses off

Only during totality is it safe to remove your solar glasses and view the Sun directly. You’ll WANT to do this as it’s the only time to view the Sun’s outer atmosphere called the corona.
— National Solar Observatory

This video "follows" the moon's shadow as it sweeps over the surface of the USA on August 21, 2017. Production details are in the end credits. Check out for more details on the eclipse!

There has not been a total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. since 1979, and only a small part of the west enjoyed that one. This year the path is 70 miles wide and runs from west to east across 12 states. The total event will be 90 minutes long for the moon's shadow to cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina at 1700 mph, or 2.5 x faster than a supersonic jet.

Here in Oregon, Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, and Madras are some of the main cities in the totality path. Little Terrebonne didn't make it on the map, but people heard about it anyway, and people are coming to Smith Rock from near and far to experience it in such an amazing venue.

if you come to Smith Rock State Park to view the eclipse:

  • Expect Highway 97 to be a parking lot coming from Bend to Terrebonne the day of the event. From Portland you probably won't make it through (or to) Madras that morning.
  • The park opens officially at dawn. The earliest they are letting people into the park is a half hour before sunrise. 
  • FOR SATURDAY 8-19 THROUGH MONDAY 8-21: As soon as the parking lots fill up, including the overflow grass parking by the Turnaround Fee Station, the roads to the park at Wilcox and Crooked River Drive as well as Smith Rock Loop will be barricaded. Total capacity of all the day use lots is 330 spots. 
  • There is no parking on the side of any county road. You may be towed if you park over the "fog" or white side line on Wilcox or other nearby roads.
  • Park personnel and the Deschutes County Road Department will be monitoring a list to allow only neighbors and their visitors as well as contractors through barricades to keep the area accessible for emergency services.
  • Coming by bike? You are welcome to bypass the barricade and lock up your bike anywhere that is not attached to a handrail or trail. The split rail fences are OK.
  • If you're planning to camp at The Bivy, plan on getting here 3-5 days in advance and staying the night of the event. Maximum stay is 14 nights. Contrary to some of the calls we've been getting there is no camping outside of the Bivy campground in the park.
  • Reserved camping from sales back in the spring are from Friday, August 18 through Tuesday, August 22. They are the people you see in the RV parking lot. 
  • There is no sleeping allowed in your vehicles the night before. The lots will be monitored the night before by security guards and tickets will be sent in the mail based on your license plate. ($110) Restrooms in the Day Use areas will be locked from dusk to dawn.
  • The park will have additional staff and volunteers on duty from Friday the 18th through Tuesday the 23rd to help care for the park and answer questions. Look for volunteers stationed by the bridge and the Welcome Center.
  • The Welcome Center hours for Saturday, 8/19 through Monday, 8/21 will be extended from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, closed for a half hour during the totality phase from 10:00-10:30.
  • Drones are not allowed in the park on any day. To make this a serene experience for all, leave yours at home or face a $110 ticket.
  • NO SMOKING is ever allowed in the park, except in your vehicle. With the extreme danger of fire with increased traffic, bring your nicotine gum.
  • Dogs are allowed, as always, controlled on a leash and picked up after. This means throwing those used doggy bags in trash cans.
  • There will be a first aid/emergency response pop-up in the picnic area by the Welcome Center, as well as an additional landing zone for helicopters.
  • Planning to make the trek with the dozens of others to view from the top of Misery Ridge? Make sure all in your party are capable of handling the steep and gravelly terrain, and be prepared to hang out for 90 minutes with lots of water and sunscreen. Don't be a statistic on the most rescue-prone trail in the park.
  • Eclipse merchandise and bottled water will be on sale at the Welcome Center, including safety glasses. The glasses are in a limited quantity so best to bring your own. 3 volunteers will be on-hand with tips on how to best view the event.
  • Additional porta-potties will be scattered around the rim area.


If you don't make it to the park, don't fret. It's still going to be an awesome sight. Anywhere in the US, Canada, and Mexico, you will see a partial eclipse. Just be sure to have your SAFE SOLAR eclipse glasses on.