If you are planning to enjoy the August 21 total solar eclipse in the Cherokee National Forest (CNF), rangers want you to be prepared.
The eclipse will be total over the southern portion of the CNF, which includes Monroe and Polk counties in East Tennessee. Most developed campgrounds are already booked, and rangers expect big crowds in the recreation areas. You should plan to arrive early if you want to get a parking spot.
There are other areas in the forest that may provide a good glimpse of the eclipse, but officials warn that getting there may not be as easy as it looks.
They recommend high clearance vehicles, like trucks or SUV's, because many of the roads are rugged and covered with either dirt or rocks. There will be limited parking and no restrooms or water available in the undeveloped areas. Cell phones also may not work.
You can get more information and suggestions of where to watch here.
Other things to know:
- Rangers may be directing traffic and limiting access to some areas as needed on the day of the eclipse.
- No parking on roadways. Parking alongside roads is limited, and there must be room for other vehicles to drive past
- Camping is allowed outside of campgrounds, but campsites cannot be within 100 feet of water, trails, trailhead parking lots and developed recreation areas, or within 300’ of the Cherohala Skyway and the Ocoee Scenic Byway (National Forest System Road 77). You do not need to have a permit.
- Bring plenty of water, food, sunscreen, insect repellant, extra clothing, first aid kit, a map and anything else you might need to help make your visit safer and more enjoyable.
- Check local weather forecasts periodically and don’t forget your solar eclipse viewing glasses.