The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Will Pass Through the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina

On Monday August 21, millions of Americans will gather along the 70-mile-wide path of the nation’s first total solar eclipse since the 1970s.

Limited Lodging Available

Eclipse FAQ for Visitors

FAQ Updated 7/31

Bryson City, Swain County and much of the Great Smoky Mountains sit squarely in that path of totality. The entire solar experience will last about 3 hours, from 1:06 pm to 4 pm (EDT), gradually changing from daylight to dark and back to daylight, with total darkness in Bryson City at 2:35:17 pm, lasting 1 min, 57 seconds. Recommended by as the spot in North Carolina to watch the eclipse.

What will happen during the total solar eclipse? Is it safe to look at the eclipse?

Useful Eclipse Information

Eclipse Weekend


With the eclipse happening on Monday, you’ll want to make a weekend of it and enjoy the special activities we’re planning leading up to the big event. Check back for updates to this schedule.

INFORMATION - The Visitor Center in the old courthouse is 'eclipse central'. Drop by for information and to purchase eclipse glasses (while supplies last). Open daily.

ALL WEEKEND LONG - Take the 'Eclipse Crawl'. Visit participating merchants with eclipse-themed food and drink offerings.

Merchants Eclipse Crawl


9 am - 1 pm, Farmers Market – Island Street, off Everett at the bridge

7-9 pm. Free, live music at Riverfront Park, which has a large, grassy lawn in front of an outdoor stage. Enjoy sitting at one of the picnic tables or bring a lawn chair or blanket for the grass. 101 Mitchell St. across from train parking and turntable.

8-11 pm. Nantahala Brewing – Hardworker Band (5-piece rock band)


10 am - 4 pm. All Around Town – Eclipse Man will be available for photos and autographs around town and at the Red Caboose at noon and 3 pm.
10 am - 10 pm. Darnell Farms
Swain County Agricultural Fair, complete with judged entries, agricultural demos, petting zoo, bounce house, craft vendors, food trucks and bands. Balsam Range (award-winning bluegrass), 8 - 10 pm
10 am - 4 pm. Bryson City Fire Department
– Free 15-min. planetarium programs Eclipses & NASA Journey to Mars sponsored by the Mariana Black Library (donations welcomed). Main Street.
10 am - 4 pm. Southwestern Community College / Swain Center
– Ceramic Arts Club Pottery Sale. 60 Almond School Rd.
6-9 pm. Mountain Layers Brewing
– Twelfth Fret (classic rock covers)
7-9 pm. Free, live music at Riverfront Park
– The Elderly Brothers (50s-70s music). Large, grassy lawn in front of an outdoor stage. Enjoy sitting at one of the picnic tables or bring a lawn chair or blanket for the grass. 101 Mitchell St. across from train parking and turntable.
8-11 pm. Nantahala Brewing
– Jangling Sparrows (soul to rock)


10 am - 10 pm. Darnell Farms – County Fair style festival complete with petting zoo, bounce house, agricultural demos, craft vendors, food trucks and bands. Darnell Farms (US 19 east of Bryson City).Porch 40 ( rock, R&B & metal), 7 - 9 pm
Noon - 4 pm. Bryson City Fire Department – Free 15-min. planetarium programs Eclipses & NASA Journey to Mars sponsored by the Library (donations welcomed)
7-9 pm. Live music at Riverfront Park – The Caribbean Cowboys (calpyso, reggae, classic rock). Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the grass in front of the outdoor stage.
8-11 pm. Nantahala Brewing – Rick Rushing & The Blues Strangers (Tennessee blues)

MONDAY Eclipse Day

11 am - 3 pm. Bryson City offers a number of excellent open viewing locations, such as:

RR DEPOT (Fry Street) - Block party with live music featuring Grandpa's Cough Medicine, blazing bluegrass tempos (11 - 1 pm) and The Company Stores, modern Appalachian rock and blues band (1 - 3 pm). Restrooms & portable toilets.

IMPORTANT – If you plan on observing the eclipse from downtown Bryson City, please note that all downtown roads will remain open for motorist traffic. There are no planned events on Everett Street and there will be NO street closures with the exception of Fry Street. Please observe the eclipse at the designated event site on Fry Street or from the safety of a pedestrian-friendly sidewalk.

Map to Viewing Venues

SWAIN COUNTY EVENT PARK (live music, food trucks, portable toilets). Musicians include Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats (rock/blues/funk), and Leeda 'Lyric' Jones (5-piece rock/funk/soul band). 1130 Hyatt Creek Road (exit 69 off US 74; or take US 19 toward Cherokee and turn right onto Hyatt Creek Road at East Elementary). Parking fee ($20, $30 or $50 depending on size of car/van/bus), includes viewing glasses for everyone in the vehicle as long as supplies last.

DARNELL FARMS - Open fields. Viewing glasses available. Inflatables for the kids, food vendors. Kick The Robot (hook heavy alt-rock) will play from 1-2 pm and then again from 3-4 pm). 50 primitive campsites available on first-come, first-served basis (no hook-ups available). 828-736-8047. US 19 east of Bryson City.

RIVERFRONT PARK - Live music featuring Frank Lee & Friends (old-time string music). 11 am - 3 pm) Restrooms. Viewing nearby.

SOLAR ECLIPSE TENT CAMPING & VIEWING - Family field open for primitive camping. Nightly bonfire, snow cones, clean porta potties, music, children's activities, on-site security and more. 1031 Arlington Avenue. (take Hughes Branch Rd at Ingles Grocery) 828-736-7112.

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS RAILROAD - Eclipse train to viewing location is Sold Out. 10:30 am Nantahala Gorge Train will stop at Lake Fontana trestle for eclipse viewing. Free viewing glasses.

NANTAHALA BREWING COMPANY - King Corduroy (southern soul), 8 - 11 pm.


With all the outdoor activities Bryson City offers there’s no better place to spend a late summer weekend —

White water rafting and zip lining in the Nantahala Gorge

Riding a scenic excursion on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Trout fishing on dozens of mountain streams and rivers

Lake fishing and boating on Fontana Lake

Tubing on Deep Creek in the Great Smokies National Park

Hiking and mountain biking at Tsali

Stand-up paddleboarding on the Tuck in downtown Bryson City

After activities, relax with a cool one at a local brewery. Or treat the kids to ice cream at a local soda fountain. Then complete the day with dinner at one of many downtown eateries.

Limited lodging is stil available. Visit

Viewing Sites in the National Park are at a Premium

The Clingmans Dome viewing site is sold out. Clingmans Dome road will be closed to all public traffic.

The Park Service has not yet decided about closing Newfound Gap Road (US 441) through the Park. Certainly, there are several overlooks with long-range vistas, but the traffic congestion is bound to be bad. And there's a chance of getting stuck in a place with no good viewing.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center (Cherokee) and Cades Cove will allow free access and parking until spaces fill up or the area becomes congested. National Park info

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