One absolute necessity for ideal views of the first solar eclipse of this century on August 21? Clear skies. And with 250 sunny days each year, Idaho’s Sun Valley region is a sure bet among the narrow, 70-mile-wide band of destinations stretching from Oregon to South Carolina that will experience a total eclipse. Imagine seeing the magical effect of daytime darkness from the summit of Bald Mountain…or from the pool at your own private retreat. Here are the best outdoor spots in town to catch the celestial show.
Watch The Sky On High From Bald Mountain
You’ll have to start early to reach the summit of 9,150-foot Baldy by the time the solar eclipse reaches totality at 11:30am, but 360-degree views are well-worth the wake-up call. Hike the trail, which covers a challenging 3,300 feet in five miles, or relax while taking a gondola or lift to the top (just make sure to reserve your ticket well in advance, as most have already sold out). If your day pack can handle it, bring along a bottle of wine to toast the heavens. After all, the next total solar eclipse visible from Sun Valley won’t come along for quite awhile. Until the year 2169, to be exact.
Get Airborne During The Solar Eclipse
Paragliding company Fly Sun Valley is offering special “eclipse flights” during the partial and total solar eclipse, which whisk you from the summit of Bald Mountain to its base. There’s only a limited amount of runs available during this unique window, so book early. And remember, Sun Valley’s actual total eclipse lasts just a quick 1:04 minutes, through the still-mesmerizing partial eclipse will be visible from 10:15am – 12:50pm—exactly the time frame you’ll want to be aloft.
Chill Out Or Fish In An Alpine Lake
Plan a morning excursion out to placid Baker Lake, with a trailhead just 15 miles north of Sun Valley. There, you can swim the cool waters or try your luck catching the area’s famous trout as the moon moves in front of the sun. The moderate 2.5 mile hike passes through pine forest and flower-filled meadows along the way, so pack a camera alongside your eclipse shades.
Mountain Bike To Some Epic Viewpoints
Try the Greenhorn to Imperial Gulch 14.9-mile route, with breathtaking views of the Pioneer mountains, or hit up local-favorites like Fox Peak or Osberg Ridge. Since you’re on a time crunch with the eclipse, check with local pros like the staff of Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports for estimated route times and the best viewpoints for resting and relaxation. Plan for an early start, and you’ll likely have your pick of uncrowded vistas come totality time.
…Or Take A Leisurely Spin Topped Off With A Wine Tasting
Guided “wheels and wine” bike tours are available along the Corral Creek/Trail Creek route, White Clouds trail, or Baldy downhill route, each with a local tasting at the end. Just time your trip with either a break at a viewpoint during eclipse-time, or be sure that rewarding glass of wine is firmly in hand when the sun goes dark.
Join The Area’s Biggest Eclipse Viewing Party
Starting at 9am on August 21, eclipse chasers, photographers, and thousands of residents will gather in Festival Meadow on Sun Valley Road at Ketchum and Sun Valley’s joint Great American Eclipse event to celebrate the cosmos together, complete with live music, vendors, kid-friendly activities, and more.
Keep An Eye On The Sky From Your Own Private Mountain Getaway
Our roster of chic luxury mountain escapes isn’t yet booked out yet, but don’t expect that to last. Check out private villas in Sun Valley Village and nearby Ketchum and Hailey, all tricked out to take full advantage of the region’s already stunning views. Set your watch for 11:30am, and take in the eclipse in leisure from the outdoor soaking pool at Luxury Mountain Retreat, while kicking back on the expansive deck of Osprey Main House—set on 85 acres of woodland reserve—or simply by settling into a row of sun loungers at Skyline Drive 108.