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Seeking a Spot to Watch the Eclipse in Washington

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Aug 15, 2017 01:49 PM |
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If you're hoping to escape the hustle and bustle to watch the eclipse in Washington, skip the commute south and head for a nearby trailhead or park instead. You'll probably still be rewarded with up a 96% total eclipse.

Unlike most celestial events, this year's much-anticipated solar eclipse will take place in the late hours of the morning. Instead of fending off light pollution for a late-night event, eclipse viewers will be faced with the battle of the crowds and the impending traffic headache heading south towards the path of totality. 

Eclipse map by NASA
Most of Washington will be covered by 0.9 magnitude or greater view of the solar eclipse. Photo courtesy of

If you're hoping to escape the hustle and bustle during this once-in-a-lifetime event, skip the southbound traffic and head for a nearby trailhead or public park instead. Almost anywhere you go in Washington, you'll still be rewarded with up to a 96% eclipse.

Where to Watch

Similar to meteor showers and stargazing, you'll want to find a spot with limited tree cover and expansive sky views. Luckily, Washington's wild places have plenty of opportunities for you to find an ideal viewing spot. Be sure to check the local weather forecast before you head out to ensure minimal cloud coverage.

American Camp San Juan Island by Tuck TongpattanakulSet up in the sun at American Camp on San Juan Island. Photo by Tuck Tongpattanakul


If you want to skip out on traffic entirely, seek solace at a local park or sports field. Pack along some yummy snacks to make the most out of the morning. Plus, unlike meadows, parks are full of grass to lay on.

If you plan to be in the mountains, a meadow may appeal as a good clearing to watch the eclipse from. If you plan on heading to a wildflower meadow, remember that meadows are fragile ecosystems. Always stay on trail and adhere to Leave No Trace principles.

Hikes to try:


With over 3,000 miles of shoreline in Washington, there are almost endless opportunities to find a secluded spot for eclipse viewing. though, for best results, try to find an east-facing beach.

Hikes to try:


 Sunrise on Mount Ellinor. Photo by Nate Brown..jpeg
Sunrise on Mount Ellinor. Photo by Nate Brown.

Summits & ridgelines

If you're aiming for an up-close and personal eclipse experience and you can get the day off work, try hitting one of Washington's smaller summits. Once you escape tree line, you'll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views and a completely uninhibited view of the morning sky.

Remember, you'll need to get an early start time in order to reach your destination before the morning eclipse begins.

Hikes to try:

Shrub-Steppe Grasslands

Central and Eastern Washingtonians rejoice—there are plenty more places in Central Washington that will have prime views of the eclipse. With expansive grasslands and minimal tree cover, you can even stick around the backyard for an undisturbed view of the sun. However, if you're looking to get somewhere a bit more out-there, try heading to one of these idyllic places. Just bring your sunscreen and plenty of water.

Hikes to try: