U.S. Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest are preparing for an increase in visitation for the total solar eclipse occurring in late August. National forest campgrounds and other facilities, as well as certain high elevation locations are expected to be at capacity prior to and during the August 21 eclipse.
On August 21 a total solar eclipse will pass over 12 states, including Tennessee. The eclipse (partial) will be visible throughout the United Sates. A 70 mile wide path of totality begins in Oregon and exits the nation at South Carolina. Areas within the path of totality will experience total darkness for up to 2 mins 40 seconds. In east Tennessee the path of totality will extend from south of Knoxville to Cleveland as it moves southeastward. The southern portion of the Cherokee National Forest (Ocoee Ranger District & Tellico Ranger District) is within the path of totality. Areas outside of the path of totality will experience a partial eclipse without total darkness.
Some people may wish to view the eclipse in a more natural setting. Much of the Cherokee National Forest is remote and rugged, and the environment is much different than in urban areas. High clearance vehicles are recommended for many roads in the national forest. Planning your visit ahead of time may help make it safer and more enjoyable.Various locations outside of developed recreation areas that may seem suitable for viewing the eclipse in the Cherokee National Forest may have environmental or road access concerns associated with them. Many of these locations have rough dirt/gravel roads leading to them with limited access, parking, crowd capacity, restricted traffic flow and no sanitation facilities or water. National forest visitors should expect many locations to be heavily visited and congested.