If you ever fancied a road trip around the US Southwest there’s no better time to go than this October. As well as being one of the best times of the year to visit for cooler weather, there also happens to be something on the celestial schedule.
On Saturday, October 14, 2023, a new moon will drift in front of the sun over the course of about three hours. At no point will all of the sun be blocked—this is not a total solar eclipse—but during the peak of the event you’ll be able to see (through solar eclipse glasses only) an incredible “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse. A circular light around the moon will be caused by our natural satellite being slightly further away from Earth than on average.
The entire North American continent will that day see some kind of partial solar eclipse, but only from within a 125 miles wide path through Oregon, California and the US southwest will the “ring of fire” be visible.
It will be seen from a mess of US National Parks:
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada
- Canyonlands National Park, Utah
- Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Camping and lodging facilities in the national parks are more or less full by now. However, there are still lots of options.
From luxury experiences and houseboats to campsites and festivals, here’s how to book a place to stay for the 2023 annular solar eclipse:
How to Find a Hotel in the Path of the Eclipse
The two biggest cities in the path are San Antonio and Albuquerque, the latter of which is “ground zero” for this eclipse due to it also hosting the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. However, hotels can still be found throughout the path, at raised prices in some areas, but incredibly good value in others. Even the honeypot destination of Bryce Canyon National Park has rooms in the vicinity.
How to go Glamping in the Path of the Eclipse
The Beehive State has gone glamping crazy in the last few years and there are still a lot of options for October’s eclipse that can be booked. A casual look on Booking.com reveals this Pinon King Tent, a Western Covered Wagon and a Tipi all in the vicinity of Monticello in southeast Utah.
How to Find a Campsite or RV Park in the Path of the Eclipse
Campgrounds in US National Parks and State Parks may be sold out, but you can still easily book places to stay within—or close to—the path. A great place to see what’s available is on camping website Hipcamp, which has an interactive map that includes the path. The Dyrt and Campendium are also useful when used in conjunction with an interactive Google Map of the eclipse.
Here are five specific locations, events and festivals to consider for the annular solar eclipse:
1. EclipseFest 23, Oregon
Oregon isn’t the best place to go see this eclipse, weather-wise, unless you head to the Beaver State’s southeast corner. However, the chance to see a “ring of fire” reflected in the water at Crater Lake National Park —however risky (there might be snow)—is hard to resists. Sandwiched between the two is Klamath Falls, Oregon, which can access both the lake and the drier southeastern areas. It’s hosting EclipseFest23, a five-day event (October 10–15) that includes camping, music and food trucks.
2. Duke’s Slickrock Campground & RV, Utah
This RV park ($90/night) and campground ($50/night) in Hanksville on the Fremont River, Utah has availability and is guaranteed a view of the “ring of fire” for a 3 mins 40 secs. It’s got its own eclipse website and is well located for visits to Capitol Reef National Park and Goblin Valley State Park. It’s also only 90 minutes drive from Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.
3. ULUM Luxury Resort Moab, Utah
Although this new-for-2022 outdoor desert resort isn’t staging an eclipse event per se, it’s just 35 mins drive from Monticello in southern Utah where the “ring of fire” will last for 2 mins 26 seconds. Think outdoor lounge areas, hot and cool dipping pools, fire pits, a yoga deck and incredible stargazing. Developed by Under Canvas, Suite Tents here cost $649 and come with a rainfall shower, Aesop goodies and a Pendleton blanket. There was plenty of availability for mid-October at the time of writing.
4. Sailing on Lake Powell, Arizona
By a stroke of celestial bad luck, the town of Page, Arizona—famous for access to Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend—lies just south of the southern limit of the eclipse path. It gets a 89% partial solar eclipse, but no “ring of fire.” However, Lake Powell Resort in Page is offering deals on houseboat rentals so you can get yourself into the central shadow. At the other end of the lake, at North Lake Powell, you can stay two nights and on eclipse day take an OHV-guided ride to a scenic location for eclipse-viewing plus lunch ($199 per night).
5. TexEclipse PreParty, Junction, Texas
Two solar eclipses in under six months will be visible from Junction in the Texas Hill Country, which will host the TexEclipse PreParty for the “ring of fire” and, come April 8, 2024, the bigger TexEclipse Music Festival. The chilli-themed TexEclipse PreParty on October 13-14, 2023 costs $20 per day and will feature a chilli cook-off, best salsa contest, best chilli pepper outfit contest a margarita mix-off. It will see a “ring of fire” for 4 minutes 15 seconds.
Disclaimer: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of “The Complete Guide To The Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024.”
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.