The upcoming solar eclipse is expected to draw heavier-than-usual traffic to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Park officials are warning that roads and facilities may not be able to handle the number of visitors planning to be in the area to witness the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
They also recommend that travelers do not attempt to use Yellowstone’s South Entrance that day because it borders Grand Teton, which is in the path of totality.
That means viewers there will see the moon fully block the sun. It will happen around 11:35 a.m. for about two minutes, depending on the location within the park.
Because of that, Grand Teton is bracing for its busiest day ever. The park will adjust its traffic flow and parking to accommodate the influx of viewers. The Gros Ventre Road will be one-way traffic eastbound from the junction with US Highway 26/89/191 to Kelly, and parking will be allowed in the westbound lane. Totality there will last for 2 minutes, 19 seconds.
The park has also chosen four other designated eclipse viewing areas: Gros Ventre Campground Amphitheater, Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay. Park rangers will be offering interpretive programs that day at those sites.
Yellowstone is near the path but just north of it, so people who see the eclipse from the first national park will witness a partial eclipse, in which only a portion of the sun is blocked. The partial eclipse will take place between about 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. and should be most dramatic around 11:36 a.m. for about two minutes.
If you’re planning to be in the area that day, park officials recommend:
Expecting heavy traffic on park roads.
Allowing more travel time than you think you’ll need.
Not expecting to have cellphone service, even in areas where that’s typically not a problem.
Bringing enough fuel, food and water in your vehicle for the entire day.
Bringing proper viewing glasses and solar filters for cameras or special viewing equipment, such as telescopes.
The path of totality spans a 70-mile swath that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. Many Wyoming towns are in that path, including Casper, which is expecting up to 35,000 visitors.