Visit Bend Blog

What you should know about the 2017 solar eclipse in Bend

May 25th, 2017

Three years ago, a hotelier in a town near Bend told me every room in their small city was already booked for the 2017 solar eclipse. Pretty sure I’d heard wrong, I asked him to repeat that.

“We started getting calls from all over the world back in 2011,” he said somberly. “It’s going to be huge.”

The path of totality for the 2017 solar eclipse in Oregon.
Graphic courtesy of Xavier Jubier/Eclipse2017.org

No kidding.

While the Total Solar Eclipse happening August 21, 2017 will be viewable all over North America (and even in parts of South America, Africa, and Europe), Central Oregon has been touted as one of the best spots on earth to see it. It’s partly our reputation for cloudless summertime skies, and partly that Madras, Oregon (45 miles northeast of Bend) is smack-dab in the direct line of totality. That means they’ll see approximately two minutes and two seconds of complete darkness around 10:19 a.m.

Crazy, right?

It’s the first Total Solar Eclipse since 1979, and there won’t be another viewable from the U.S. until 2024. Here’s what you need to know about seeing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Central Oregon.

 

Got a place to stay?

What that hotel owner told me three years ago wasn’t an exaggeration. Hotels in Madras, Prineville, Redmond, Bend, and La Pine have been fully booked for ages. Ditto that for campgrounds at all the state parks.

There’s a slim, slim chance you can still find a few private campgrounds with spots available, and I’ve seen several Central Oregon ranchers offering “self-contained RV sites” on their property.

Make sure you’ve booked ahead for your campsite during the eclipse!

If someone cancels a hotel room and you’re lucky enough to snag it, expect to pay a premium. Supply and demand is in full force, and I’ll admit I’m mind-boggled by the prices I’m seeing for rooms.

EDIT: A few lodging options have popped up in the comments on this blog post, so you may want to check there to see if they’ve booked up since then.

 

So where can I watch?

While the eclipse will be viewable from towns all over Oregon, it’s Madras that’s getting all the press as the town in the line of totality. As the moon begins to pass between the sun and the earth starting around 9:06 a.m., viewers in Madras will witness the shadow darkening the peak of nearby Mt. Jefferson before everything goes black and the area is plunged into total darkness for about two minutes at 10:19 a.m.

Sounds awesome, but getting there will be the trick. If you’re staying in an outlying town like Bend or Sunriver, don’t expect to jump in your car that morning and cruise to Madras. Experts predict traffic will be at a standstill, and a drive that would normally take an hour could take nine or ten hours. Seriously.

You can try driving out the previous evening, or you can settle for chilling at your hotel or campsite in Bend or surrounding areas and enjoying what will still be pretty darn fine views of the eclipse.

If you’re dead set on being on the line of totality, visit http://madraseclipse.com/ for everything you could possibly want to know about festivals, amenities, transportation, and more.

 

Traffic will be nuts, guys

I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one—traffic is going to be insane. Our towns in Central Oregon are small, which is why most of us love it here. The roadways weren’t designed for an influx of 100,000 to 500,000 vehicles in one weekend (which is what experts currently predict).

Bringing or renting a pedal-powered or electric bike is a great way to beat traffic and get around town easily during the eclipse.

Fortunately, Bend is a pretty bike-friendly town, and weather in August lends itself to cruising everywhere on two wheels. Bring your bike from home, or make a reservation to rent a ride from one of our local bike shops.

Not sure you’re up for quite so much pedaling? Both Let It Ride and Bend Electric Bikes have electric bikes for rent that’ll let you choose between pedal power and revving the throttle.

Fighting traffic to get into Central Oregon before the eclipse will be challenging, but authorities predict getting out after the eclipse will actually be trickiest. Pro tip: If you can remain in Bend for a few days after August 21, you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration fighting traffic. Besides, it’s a pretty awesome place to hunker down.

 

How can I prepare?

Central Oregon authorities are regarding eclipse preparations like the ramp-up to a natural disaster, but their advice is spot-on. We don’t really know what to expect, so it’s smart to be ready for anything.

Following the tips from our Visit Like a Local page (like leashing your dog or using reusable water bottles) is a great way to ensure you have a pleasant Central Oregon visit.

If possible, fill your gas tank 5-7 days before the eclipse, since there’s a possibility of shortages or super-long lines. Ditto that for stocking up on things like groceries, medications, or any supplies you might need for your trip.

Most importantly, be flexible and patient. There will be thousands of folks here vying for tables at restaurants, spots on coveted tours, and viewpoints at major landmarks. Just go with the flow and use the opportunity to put our Visit Like a Local tips into practice.

 

Need more info?

To learn more about the eclipse and to see the source of the map we shared above explaining the path of totality, check out this site: http://www.eclipse2017.org/ 

If you’re planning to stay in Bend, bookmark www.visitbend.com for everything you could possibly want to know about shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation in Bend, Oregon.

Want to check traffic conditions en route to, from, or around Central Oregon in the days surrounding the eclipse? The Oregon Department of Transportation’s TripCheck site is a great resource: https://tripcheck.com/Pages/RCMap.asp

And once again (because I can’t say it enough) this really is an awesome site dedicated to seeing the eclipse along the line of totality in Madras: http://madraseclipse.com/

 


7 responses to “What you should know about the 2017 solar eclipse in Bend”

  1. Lauren Teague writes:

    Another solar eclipse event is the Moonshadow Festival hosted by Wine Down Ranch, between Prineville and Madras. The ranch will see about 1m45s of total eclipse on August 21st, and is offering 4-night camping and day passes through the weekend for guests of all ages. Live music (including bands Wayward Soul, Crow and the Canyon, The Talbott Brothers and There is No Mountain), hiking, yoga, markets and vendors will be open to all. Details at MoonshadowFestival.com

  2. oregon eclipse festival writes:

    we have campsite available please see our website
    food vendors availble
    live music
    and 3 nights with a great view of the eclipse
    all for $ 200 per person

  3. Janet berg writes:

    Our 3 bed. 2.5 bath King, queen,queen Sunriver home sleeps 8 (queen blow-up ). Includes 8 single use sharc passes. Hot tub, bikes still has availability August 19-25! For 595.00/ night plus tax and 150. Cleaning fee.
    Mainsailgifts@charter.net contact janet

  4. Christina Carpenter writes:

    Thank you for this article! People really need to understand that they won’t be able to hop in their car and drive to madras Monday morning.

    We have space on our 100 acre organic farm. 4-day event with Live music, plenty of showers and toilets, dog friendly, sites are for 2 and all organic food is included, astronomers on site doing talks and activities during the day and guided star gazing at night, Joel Salatin will be speaking Friday and Saturday morning & afternoon We’d love to have you join us!

    http://www.organicearthlydelights.com/home-delivery-store/Solar-Eclipse-On-The-Farm-c22699067?sort=nameAsc

  5. Donna writes:

    We have DRY CAMP SPACES with GREAT VIEW for the Eclipes… Smith Rock Area , TERREBONNE, OR

    Water available.
    Camp space $100.00 a night with a 3 night minimum 4 people max
    $50.00 camp cleaning deposit refunded if you pick up your camp mess
    $100.00 deposit holds your spot until July 15th , Balance due in full that day.
    Dogs on leashes OK .
    Please respond with your request and I will call you and answer any questions
    you have.
    541 350 4304

  6. Cary Kiefer writes:

    We have a studio apartment in Sisters available as of now 6/8 for the week of the eclipse.
    1 king Tempurpedic bed, full kitchen
    For more info send email.

    If interested email cckiefer2005@gmail.com

  7. Lee Whitwell writes:

    We have 2 guest bedrooms (1 queen bed,1 full bed) available for rent in our private home in gated community in Bend. (We will be here during that time)
    $300/night each room
    (No pets please – we have pets)
    Please email ljwhitwell@gmail.com if interested




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