Eclipse Viewing: Where and How

 Have a safe eclipse adventure! Scroll down past the pictures to learn how.

Dubois is surrounded by a vast wilderness with countless great locations to watch the eclipse. But it would be easy to get lost and stranded (or to find yourself caught in a traffic jam on the day of the eclipse), so it’s wise to plan carefully.

Here are our recommended viewing sites:

Dubois Scenic Overlook

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View to the west from Scenic Overlook

The Scenic Overlook, located almost in the middle of town (at top left on the Dubois Town Map), has spectacular views of the mountains and badlands all around. McKinley Drive to the Overlook is a narrow, steep, winding gravel road. If you decide to drive up to the Overlook, please drive very carefully and remember what you learned in kindergarten: Take turns.  No oversized vehicles or trailers will be allowed, and violators will be fined.

Physically fit locals enjoy a hike to the top as a great workout, and it might be the best option for you as traffic is bound to be slow on eclipse day.

There are no services on the Overlook. If you choose this viewing site, please be prepared to stay the entire time, because traffic back down will be difficult before the eclipse is over. Take chairs, glasses, high-SPF sunscreen, a hat, a long-sleeved shirt. And of course your eclipse glasses.

There’s a play-by-play presentation by NASA’s Craig Tupper from 11 AM to noon on eclipse day (Monday 8/21) at the Chariot Race track at the middle level of the Overlook.

Come back again at night for some fabulous stargazing.

Union Pass Area

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Union Peak

About 10 miles west of town and reached via a paved two-lane road with many switchbacks and fabulous views, Union Pass is the source of three great watersheds that lead toward the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. With the highest elevation near town and plenty of open space, this magnificent region of the Shoshone National Forest will offer wonderful viewing opportunities during the eclipse.

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Union Pass

You can reach any of these 3 suggested viewing spots in the Union Pass area by driving any ordinary vehicle on gravel/dirt roads maintained by the US Forest Service. All of the locations in these 3 pictures, and access roads 240, 263, and 532, are marked on the Union Pass Area Map. The road toward Union Pass and Union Peak heads south from the Union Pass historic marker on US Highway 26/287, about 12 miles west of town.

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Green Creek-Warm Springs Loop

Whiskey Mountain

Whiskey Mountain is best known locally as home to the largest wintering herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in North America. The totality time here will be nearly 2 minutes, 30 seconds. The only way to get to your viewing location will be a long hike in; no roads go anywhere near the top. You’re advised to reach it by camping there for several days before August 21.

Trail Lake road to the Three Lakes area leading to Whiskey Basin will be closed and locked partway into the trailhead once the area is deemed to be full.

HOW TO HAVE A SAFE ECLIPSE VIEWING EXPERIENCE:

Protect your vision: According to NASA’s guidelines on eye safety, you can damage your eyes or even go blind by looking directly at the sun during the eclipse, except for those two minutes of totality. Use special eclipse sunglasses or even a welder’s hat. Eclipse sunglasses will be available (as long as supplies last) at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, the Boys & Girls Club, the Dubois Public Library, and the Visitor Center in the Headwaters.

Protect your health:  Dubois is located at a very high altitude, and that sun is fierce when not blocked by the moon. Be sure to wear sunblock or high-SPF sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat, and carry plenty of water. Our wilderness is also home to bears, who are shy but almost certainly not your friends. Take appropriate bear-safety steps: Follow food storage regulations. Carry bear spray (and know how to use it).

Be sure of your rights: Western land-owners take trespassing very seriously, and it is not safe to assume that open land is public land or that an open gate is an invitation. Be sure you know you’re allowed to go where you’re going. You can find maps of land ownership with an app like OnXMaps, or from the Wyoming State Lands, Wyoming BLM, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Be sure of your route: Car navigators and mobile GPS devices often fail in our vast wilderness. Search and rescue teams often have to go out after visitors who get lost relying only on electronics for assistance, and these volunteers will be in short supply on eclipse day. Get a detailed map at a local store or the Forest Service Ranger Station west of town, and ask for directions before you head off.

Also before you leave, tell someone where you plan on going and when you expect to return. If you have to call 9-1-1, be aware that resources will be strained on that day and you may be connected to someone who is located far away. Be sure of your location, and give the operator that information first.

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