Best places to see the eclipse in Tennessee

The Volunteer State will get Totality for 12 minutes from 13:26 pm CT on August 21, 2017

The U.S. has its fair share of megacities, and this eclipse really only crosses one of them; Nashville, Tennessee. It’s by far the largest, most populated area that gets to witness the eclipse, although it’s not on the centerline, so Totality will last less than if you drive either north or, most likely, east towards higher ground. As you go east, you’ll hit the Appalachian Mountains, and so will the eclipse, which could mean clouds, though there are plenty of valleys and plateaus that will make for fantastic viewing points. The Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest will be great places to set-up, but watch for trees blocking your view.

Here’s a great map of the Path of Totality in Tennessee.

Totality can be glimpsed in the far western areas of Tennessee at 13:26 pm CT on August 21, 2017, with the moon shadow leaving Tennessee at 13:38 am CT. Though note that Tennessee has two timezones; Eastern Tennessee is in the Eastern Time Zone, so runs on EDT in August (so add an hour for totality times for Clingman’s Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park). There’s a guide here.

Three places to see the eclipse in Tennessee:
1 – Music City Solar Eclipse, Nashville

The capital of Tennessee, Nashville is all about music in all its guises – bluegrass, blues, gospel and rock, but mostly country music. From the Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s legendary hangout for songwriters, to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville is pure Americana. You can watch the eclipse from anywhere in Nashville, though a city park would make a good choice; Beaman Park, Bells Bend, Cedar Hill Park, Edwin and Percy Warner, Fort Negley, Peeler Park and Shelby Bottoms are all under the centerline of the Path of Totality (and there are more options here).

While anywhere in Nashville will get you a Total Eclipse of the Sun for just under two minutes, there are 40 seconds more of precious Totality on offer to anyone who can drive north-east to Gallatin, or north-west to Springfield.

2 – EPIClipse Experience, EPIC Event Centre, Gallatin

Expect a Celestial Buffet at the EPIClipse Experience, which will take place in the Courtyard of EPIC with indoor options in case of inclement weather. Equipment for safely viewing the eclipse will be provided.

3 – Clingman’s Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Clingman’s Dome is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a great place for hikers wanting to see a Total Solar Eclipse on their way up to 6,643 feet (2,025 m). The highest mountain in the Smokies, in Tennessee, and along the 2,174-mile (3,499 km) Appalachian Trail, Clingman’s Dome provides a tough hike. Clingman’s Dome has one of the world’s coolest observation decks. Built in 1959 by Bebb and Olson, the circular concrete construction on the state border offers a 180-degree panoramic, so should be good for watching the Moon-shadow just before and after the eclipse. However, you do make a slight sacrifice if you come all the way up here; as well as slightly dodgy weather conditions, this is on the northern limit of the track, so you lose over a minute of Totality. But it could well be worth it for the expansive views.

Photo credit: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation


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