Most Adventurous Places to See the Ring of Fire Eclipse

Total solar eclipse, mysterious natural phenomenon when Moon passes between planet Earth and Sun, silhouette of withered tree and mountains

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It’s been six years since the last “Ring of Fire” eclipse came to America. On October 14, 2023, the wait will be over. This year’s eclipse will travel over a total of 30 National Park sites and portions of: Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, making it perhaps the most adventurous American eclipse ever. All of the continental United States will be able to see even a slight partial eclipse, with a greater percentage covered as you get closer to the path of annularity.

At Coleman Concierge, we believe in Amazing Adventures for Ordinary People, so we’ve compiled our list of the most adventurous places to see the Ring of Fire eclipse, along with recommendations on how to get there and what you need to do to view the eclipse safely.

Oregon Dunes, Oregon

Looking out over a vast sandy beach at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The Oregon coast is where the 2023 annular eclipse first touches America, which makes the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area a prime viewing area. It is one of the world’s largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes. Usually, the stark, mist-shrouded views of dunes, forests, and ocean in close proximity are rare and hauntingly beautiful. However, during the Ring of Fire Eclipse, they’re otherworldly.

Duration – 4 minutes, 29 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 8:05 am PDT
Annular eclipse begins at 9:15 am PDT
Driving time to Portland Airport – 3:20

Eugene Oregon

Scenic view from the top of popular Eugene Oregon hiking destination, Spencer's Butte.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Christina Bennett, Consumer Travel Expert, Priceline, fills us in on a potential hack to creating an adventure trip out of traveling to see the “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse:

“The most adventurous places to travel and see the eclipse can also be the most affordable. Eugene, Oregon, may not have been on your travel bucket list, but with daily hotel and rental costs averaging $207 and $90, respectively, it offers a budget-friendly and action-packed weekend getaway for the annular solar eclipse. Nature lovers can enjoy the hiking trails of Spencer Butte, which offer panoramic views of the city and surroundings during the day. The more adventurous can take an adrenaline-pumping white-water raft ride on the McKenzie River, where you can navigate thrilling rapids and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Willamette National Forest.”

Duration- 3 minutes, 55 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 8:05 am PDT
Annular eclipse begins at 9:17 am PDT
Driving time to Eugene Airport – Minimal, you are in Eugene!

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Photo Credit:Deposit Photos.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America and one of the most pristine bodies of water in the world. It was formed 7,700 years ago when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. The deep blue water is always beautiful, but imagine how it looks with a blazing ring of fire in the sky!

Since the eclipse begins in the morning, your best views will be looking east across the lake, so we recommend Merriam Point of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.

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Duration- 4 minutes, 24 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 8:05 am PDT
Annular eclipse begins at 9:17 am PDT
Driving time to Eugene Airport – 2:45

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Wheeler Peak stands over Great Basin National Park, Nevada.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The high and clear skies of Great Basin National Park make it a hotbed for dark skies and astronomy. Great Basin will hold a series of extra events in the days leading up to the eclipse and guided viewing the morning of. Usually, October is a quiet time for the park, but they expect large crowds and many visitors, so plan ahead and have alternatives if your plan doesn’t work out!

Duration- 3 minutes, 39 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:07 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:24 am MDT
Driving time to Las Vegas Airport – 4:45

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Beautiful view of male hiker standing between amazing Four Hoodoos sandstone formations in Devil's Garden in beautiful evening light at sunset, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument is a phenomenal display of colorful sandstone cliffs soaring above narrow slot canyons that spread beyond the horizon. It’s the perfect combination of remote and accessible, rugged and reliable. The flaming eclipse will elevate these colors and contradictions into photographic perfection.

Duration- 2 minutes, 55 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:09 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:28 am MDT
Driving time to Salt Lake Airport – 4:30

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The National Park Service says – “Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.” It is another of Utah’s “Might Five” parks where you can see the solar eclipse with ranger activities leading up to the event and many viewing locations in the park.

You can also visit the park prior to the eclipse (and crowds) and go to some of the viewing “parties” in the surrounding area. Snow College in Richfield is hosting an eclipse event with experiments, telescopes, and more. The town of Marysvale is hosting a three-day eclipse event with science demonstrations and more, and the Henry Mountains Field Station of the Bureau of Land Management is planning a viewing area at the Swing Arm City area.

Duration- 4 minutes, 29 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:09 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:27 am MDT
Driving time to Salt Lake Airport – 3:30

Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, USA
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The Canyon of the Ancients National Monument contains the highest known archaeological site density in the United States, with rich, well-preserved evidence of Native American cultures. The Monument is located in the Four Corners region of southwestern Colorado, about 50 miles west of Durango, 10 miles west of Cortez, and 12 miles west of Mesa Verde National Park.

One could only imagine how an eclipse like this would affect ancient cultures. Would it be a sign of the end of days or the wrath of the gods? Watching from an ancient site like this connects to man’s most primordial fears and questions when the universe throws you a curveball.

Duration- 2 minutes, 59 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:11 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:31 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 4:20

Lake Powell, Arizona

Lake Powell, Arizona
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Lake Powell is a significant vacation destination that approximately two million people visit annually. It’s the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., with many miles of shoreline, arms, and coves. If you’re a boater, you’re sure to find a secluded spot to view the eclipse glowing above the red rock cliffs and blue water.

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Duration (Rainbow Bridge)- 3 minutes, 18 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:09 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 1028 am MDT

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The Navajo Nation describes an average trip to Monument Valley as follows: “You are experiencing one of the most majestic – and most photographed – points on earth. This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet, framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding.”

Now, imagine that description during the ring of fire eclipse – in a word, spellbinding. Be warned that entry to the 17-mile loop road is based on “First come, First served,” with a possibility of significant traffic and congestion during the event.

Duration- 4 minutes, 28 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:10 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:29 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 5:00

Four Corners – UT/AZ/CO/NM

The Four Corners is the only place in the United States where four states come together at one place. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet at the Four Corners. Here a person can put each of their hands and feet in four states at the same time. The unique landmark is on Navajo Nation land and is open for visits from the public.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Viewing a solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so why not see it from four states instead of just one? The Four Corners Monument is the only place where four states meet: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. It’s a remote destination with limited services, but there is a newly created vendor marketplace where you can purchase native artwork directly from the artisans.

Duration- 4 minutes, 30 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:11 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:30 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 4:00

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

Fajada Butte in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, USA
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Between 850 and 1250 CE, Chaco was at the center of an ancient world. Today, the massive buildings of the Ancestral Puebloan people still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. Many night sky enthusiasts have long considered Chaco one of the best places in America to stargaze, which means it’s an excellent place to view the solar eclipse during the day.

Duration- 4 minutes, 42 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:12 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:32 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 3:00

Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

Idyllic scene of a stream flowing through a canyon with lush meadows and fir and spruce trees
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Valles Caldera is a 13.7-mile-wide volcanic caldera in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. The magma beneath the surface creates hot springs, streams, fumaroles, natural gas seeps, and volcanic domes that dot the caldera floor landscape. Despite its rugged beauty, it’s surprisingly close to the city.

Duration- 3 minutes, 30 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:13 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:35 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 2:20

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA via Deposit Photos
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Santa Fe has earned its reputation as a sanctuary for artists and creatives. The vibrant town will be in full swing during the eclipse, but perhaps the most adventurous way to enjoy the event is a ride on the Sky Railway Eclipse Train. Now, tickets for this special ride have been sold out for a long time, but, as the spiritualists will tell you, the universe will find a way if it’s your destiny.

Duration- 2 minutes, 33 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:13 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:35 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 1:30

Albuquerque, New Mexico

albuquerque international balloon fiesta
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Albuquerque, the Duke City, is always busy in October because of the massive Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. With the fiesta overlapping the Ring of Fire Eclipse this year, it will be off the hook.

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Brenna Moore, Director of Communications & Public Relations for Visit Albuquerque, says:

“The eclipse takes place during the second Saturday of Fiesta, where more than 550 hot air balloons will take to the skies in a kaleidoscope of colors. Even visitors who stay grounded during Balloon Fiesta will experience two shows in Albuquerque’s sky this year – hundreds of balloons followed by the “ring of fire” eclipse.” Somehow, night glows and morning mass ascents perfectly complement celestial light shows.

Duration- 4 minutes, 21 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:13 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:34 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – n/a

Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell, NM, USA - April 21, 2018: A welcoming signboard at the entry point of the town
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

The “Roswell Incident” occurred in July 1947. Debris was recovered by Roswell Army Air Field personnel, who issued a press release announcing the possession of a “flying disc.” The United States Air Force published a report in 1994 concluding the crashed object was a top-secret nuclear test surveillance balloon from Project Mogul. Still, conspiracy theories maintain it was a crashed alien craft followed by a government cover-up. Either way, Roswell leans into its “alien” past with UFO-themed everything, including viewing the Ring of Fire Eclipse.

Duration- 4 minutes, 28 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 9:15 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 10:38 am MDT
Driving time to Albuquerque Airport – 3:00

The Alamo at San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

SeaWorld San Antonio is hosting an eclipse viewing party, but adventurers would do well to remember the Alamo. Metro San Antonio makes an excellent choice for eclipse viewing because of the pedestrian-friendly downtown. With the relatively late eclipse time (almost high-noon), the sun will be higher in the sky, and you will not have to fight traffic after the event. Just continue on foot and enjoy everything San Antonio offers.

Duration- 4 minutes, 05 seconds
Partial eclipse begins at 10:23 am MDT
Annular eclipse begins at 11:52 am MDT
Driving time to San Antonio Airport – 15 minutes

What’s The Best Way To Get To The Eclipse?

Priceline Data Ring of Fire Eclipse
Photo Credit: Priceline.

Our friends at Priceline compiled this data for the average hotel, flight, and rental car costs over the October 14 weekend in 10 U.S. cities near the center of the path. So fly into a gateway city, rent a car, and enjoy that otherworldly glow of this rare celestial event.

We noticed a few highlights from this list. Las Vegas was the best-priced gateway city, and Albuquerque was the most expensive (thank you, Balloon Fiesta). San Antonio sounds appealing because you don’t need to rent a car, but it might not even out with the airfare.

Figure above: The Costs of Traveling To Watch The Annular Solar Eclipse, According to Priceline: Annular Solar Eclipse Weekend (October 13-16, 2023) Booking Period (7/25-8/25/2023)

Tips to View the Solar Eclipse

Coeur d' Alene, Idaho - August 21 : Couple enjoying the eclipse together. August 21 2017, Coeur d' Alene Idaho.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The National Park Service offers this advice on how to view a solar eclipse safely-

“The only safe way to look directly at the sun during an eclipse is through special-purpose solar filters, like eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers.”

Remember, the only safe time to look at the sun without solar filters is during the 2-4 minutes of total eclipse. It is never safe to look at the sun without solar filters during any other eclipse phases or if you are viewing a partial or annular eclipse.

Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are unsafe for looking at the sun.

 

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