Total Solar Eclipse: Know Before You Go

November 19, 2016 (Updated July 3, 2017)

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. Here are some tips to ensure a good time for all.

Reserve accommodations.

Many hotels and campsites have been booked out for months or even years. If you don’t have lodging reservations already, consider staying farther from the path of totality. 

Be prepared for traffic.

Many small communities have only one road leading in and out. These will inevitably get backed up, making traffic a real problem. To reduce congestion, plan to arrive at least one full day, and ideally several days, in advance of the event. Avoid traveling into the path of totality on the day of the eclipse, August 21, 2017.

Bring a map.

Cell phone and GPS reception isn’t great through rural Oregon at the best of times. The increase of cell phone usage will overwork services and make connections tougher. Know where you’re going, and don’t expect to rely on your phone or online maps. You can order a highway map online at

Fuel up.

Oregon law doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas, so sit back and let the attendant do it for you. With long distances between gas stations through rural areas, make sure you calculate your fuel needs.

Pack provisions.

There are a limited number of restaurants in some of Oregon’s beautiful, remote places, and these eateries may run out of food. Make sure you have picnic supplies, snacks, water and anything else that will help you stay happy if you can’t find a meal.

Bring eclipse glasses.

You’ll find one pair glued to this guide. But to watch the eclipse safely, everyone will need these eclipse-viewing glasses, which block harmful light from damaging your vision. You can get more at welcome centers around the state (see p. X for more information).

Carry some cash.

The ATMs in these small to medium towns won’t be accustomed to dispensing so many bills. While most services in Oregon take credit cards, there are places in rural areas that only take cash.

Prepare for sun and hot temperatures.

Temps can reach over 100 degrees in summer, and inland destinations especially could be scorching. Pack hats, sunscreen, ice water or whatever you can to help beat the heat.

Act local.

Oregonians are pretty nice. Smile, say hello, wait your turn at stop signs and go gentle on the horn.

Top Safety Tips

  • Leave No Trace: When traveling around Oregon, it’s important to practice “Leave No Trace” ethics, which includes leaving sites as you found them, disposing of waste responsibly, respecting wildlife and being considerate of other visitors.
  • Don’t Trespass: Many public buildings and private properties are not able to accommodate visitors. Make sure you are not trespassing.
  • Wildfire Prevention: August is peak wildfire season in Oregon, so please be vigilant about extinguishing and disposing cigarettes. Know fire risks and respect fire restrictions, including campfire bans. Avoid parking or driving on dry grass, as your vehicle can spark a wildfire. In many areas drivers are required to carry a shovel and fire extinguisher or gallon of water in their cars.
  • Avoid Excessive Waste: Consider packing large water containers and refilling them with tap water. Oregon’s water is some of the best in the world, so there’s no need to buy bottled water.

Learn more about the 2017 total solar eclipse here.

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

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