Total Solar Eclipse in the Sawtooth NF

Posted by: BZH

Total Solar Eclipse in the Sawtooth NF - 02/21/17 04:14 PM

For those that don't know there is going to be a great total solar eclipse on August 21st this year across the norther US (North-west to south-east).

A friend mentioned it to me back a couple months ago so we decided to put together a trip. Yellow Stone/Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole, WY are well situated but fully booked or prohibitively expensive even 8 months out. We poked our nose around a bit and found the Sawtooth National Forest as a great target. Looks like a beautiful area, not as popular as national parks and campground reservations only available 6 months in advance. Well four of us spent this weekend (three days in a row) up at 7 AM with up timing the submission exactly at the opening of the reservation window and ending up with exactly zero campsites!

One particular campground we were looking at (Point Campground on Redfish Lake) looks to be hotter than Yosemite valley and is booked all summer long. Has anyone been there?

Our plan B is to try getting a walk-up only site, but I'm pretty nervous about that based on our trouble booking a site. I'm also considering looking for a wilderness spot, but with my young kids it would have to be with-in 3 miles of a trailhead and less than 1000 ft of elevation gain. Anyone have any suggestions?
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Total Solar Eclipse in the Sawtooth NF - 02/21/17 07:45 PM

Lodgings (even primitive cabins) in or near the path of totality have been bought up (by big brokers) for several years. I understand that's true all the way across the country.

With three of us in my family each trying on several different dates for campsites, we actually managed to reserve one. That's one success out of a dozen attempts. With who knows how many people hitting the "reserve" button on exactly at 10:00.00 Eastern time, only one can get through. Unfortunately the limit is six persons per site and there may be as many as twelve of us. We may have to hide the the extra 6 in the bushes until after dark! Of course Monday night, after the eclipse, the campgrounds will all be empty!

There are of course a lot of USFS campsites that are non-reservable, but I suspect the only way to get those is to go up and snatch a vacant one 14 days before the eclipse. That of course means staying there for 14 days!

Don't forget safety--special eclipse glasses equivalent to #14 welders' goggles are a must to avoid burning holes in your retinas! Back in 1979 we used half a dozen layers of exposed photographic film, but, alas, that's no longer available.