Eclipse Trips: Central Oregon

March 1, 2017 (Updated July 28, 2017)

Total Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017

The eclipse will take less than 15 minutes to cross the state, with each region in the path of totality experiencing total darkness for only a minute or two. While those few minutes will be worth the journey, this also leaves lots of time to enjoy all the beautiful places and exceptional activities of Oregon. Eclipse festivities provide a starting place to visit these unique, small communities and beyond.


Eclipse chasers from around the world are expected to come to Oregon to see this rare astronomical event. The path of totality spreads across a relatively rural area of the state that isn’t used to such a large numbers of visitors. For this reason, it’s important to show up booked and ready with a plan. To have the best experience, remember these eclipse tips and be aware of Oregon resources available to you.

Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway
Photo credit: Russ Roca

MADRAS/PRINEVILLE/ WARM SPRINGS, 10:19 A.M.

Highway 26 boasts some prime eclipse viewing from Warm Springs to Prineville. Starting from the north, the Warm Springs Indian Reservation is a popular getaway for Oregonians thanks to its Native American culture and fine weather. For a treat, tune in to KWSO 91.9 to learn about the community, hear a few words of the local Ichishkiin, Kiksht and Numu languages, and much more.

Just down the hill from Warm Springs, high-desert Madras greets visitors with practical services surrounded by river gorges, world-class fly-fishing and outdoor adventures galore. In the town itself, you’ll find an aircraft museum, golf and plenty of friendly folks. The Oregon Solarfest will take place here August 18-21 and will celebrate the eclipse with music, food and kid-friendly activities.

Prineville, to the south, is the largest town on this section of the path of totality and wraps you up in more dramatic high-desert scenery. This is Central Oregon’s oldest community, popular with fishermen and rock hounds. To try finding some semi-precious stones yourself, pick up a rock-hound map at the Chamber of Commerce. The forests and lakes surrounding town offer off-the-beaten path camping and exploring.

Deschutes River in Bend

Mt. Bachelor in summer

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EXPLORE NEARBY

BEND

About an hour’s drive from both Madras and Prineville, bustling Bend is the largest town in Central Oregon. Here you’ll find great restaurants, brew pubs and outdoorsy locals who wouldn’t trade their rock-climbing, skiing and rafting territory for anywhere else on earth.

THE ROGUE AND DESCHUTES RIVERS

Hot summer days plus wild rivers equal the perfect formula for a rafting trip. The Deschutes and Rogue rivers hold Oregon’s most famous white water, and you’ll find a plethora of tours for all levels. Of course, if that sounds too adrenaline-heavy, you could always find a nice sandy bank and wade in for a leisurely dip.

CASCADE MOUNTAINS

The Cascade Mountains line this area, starting with Mt. Hood to the north, continuing along Mt. Jefferson to the west and Mt. Bachelor to the south. Mt. Hood has the longest ski season in North America, as well as plenty of hiking and camping opportunities. This year, Timberline Lodge is an official training site for the U.S. Olympic ski and snowboard teams.

Mt. Jefferson (in the path of totality) has more hiking options that blend with other blow-your-mind-beautiful peaks, like Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington. Don’t miss the arty and quaint town of Sisters, which acts as a gateway to this outdoor playground. Mt. Bachelor is known mostly for its excellent winter ski slopes, but the chairlift operates in summer for a vista-filled ride to hiking and mountain-biking trails.

Crater Lake

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Farther afield in Southern Oregon, the state’s only National Park is home to the deepest lake in the United States. The park is at its busiest in August, but the lake, which provides a giant blue mirror of the surrounding forest, is worth braving the traffic. Drive the Crater Lake rim loop, strap on your boots to try a portion of the surrounding 90 miles of trails, or take the ranger-guided trolley rim tour (reserve ahead for this).

KLAMATH FALLS

Forty miles south of Crater Lake National Park, this friendly and well-serviced town is striking distance from the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, home to some of the best bird-watching in the U.S. Bald eagles winter here, but in August you’re most likely to spot waterfowl such as ducks, geese, egrets and pelicans.


Regarding eclipse lodging: The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) recommends that visitors with hotel reservations during the eclipse contact the hotel directly as soon as possible to confirm that their reservations will be honored at the originally advertised price and to make sure that the reservation has not been canceled. Hotels must honor originally advertised prices, regardless of whether the prices are advertised directly by the hotel or through a third party. Any visitors encountering problems with hotel reservations should contact DOJ’s consumer hotline by calling 877-877-9392 or filing an online complaint at https://justice.oregon.gov/complaints/

 

 

About The
Author

Celeste Brash
After 15 years in French Polynesia, Celeste Brash now lives in Portland. She’s contributed to over 60 Lonely Planet books and countless articles in outlets such as Islands Magazine, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel and BBC Travel.

Featured in this story

The Museum at Warm Springs
Warm Springs, Central Oregon
Deschutes Brewery
Mt. Bachelor Ski Area
Crater Lake
Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon
Klamath Basin Birding Trail
Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon