On August 21, eclipse chasers from around the world will converge along the “path of totality,” which passes straight across Wyoming and Idaho here in the Rockies, to experience complete darkness during the total solar eclipse. But who wants to be around all those crowds? As long as the weather cooperates, these hikes in the backcountry should offer prime viewing away from the masses. Be sure to take the proper precautions. If you want to look directly at the eclipse, protect your eyes with special solar eclipse glasses (they must meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard; sunglasses won’t work). And bring bear spray.
Bald Mountain Trail, Sun Valley, Idaho. Hike to the top of Sun Valley’s iconic Bald Mountain on this five-mile route that gains 3,300 feet in elevation. Plan at least three hours for the hike up, and savor 360-degree views from the summit. Leave enough time to hike back down, since downloading via lifts will not be possible on August 21 (the resort won’t run the lifts during the eclipse). sunvalley.com/eclipse2017
Darby Canyon, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Wyoming/Idaho. Slip over to the western side of the Tetons and explore the Caribou-Targhee National Forest via the Darby Canyon Trail, accessed through Idaho’s Teton Valley. Enjoy a 5.4-mile round-trip route with 1,800 feet of elevation gain and plenty of open areas for viewing. fs.usda.gov
Taggart Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Grand Teton National Park is expecting its busiest day ever on August 21. If you dare brave the crowds, hike to Taggart Lake, an easy three-mile roundtrip with 350 feet of climbing. Or make a longer loop by adding another 2.6 miles to Bradley Lake for a 5.9-mile roundtrip moderate adventure. nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/2017-solar-eclipse.html.