February 22, 2024

How, when and where to see April’s total solar eclipse: maps, times and best places

For basic information on how, when and where to experience North America’s total solar eclipse and why you should try to put yourself on the path of totality on April 8, check my main feed.

It may not get the attention that Texas enjoys as a place to see the 2024 total solar eclipse on April 8, but Arkansas should be near the top of the list for anyone wanting to maximize their chances of clear skies and great weather. want to maximize views. view of the darkened sun.

The Natural State’s first total solar eclipse since June 8, 1918, and the last until August 12, 2045, will see approximately 1.7 million people living in the path of totality in Arkansas. According to GreatAmericanEclipse.com, 84,000 to 337,000 visitors could drive to the path of totality in Arkansas on April 8. That would make it the fifth most popular state with visitors to the 115-mile-wide Path of Totality, which runs through parts of the country. 15 US states. However, the Arkansas Department of Transportation expects an estimated 1.5 million additional road users, including 500,000 from Arkansas.

Here’s exactly what you need to know to see the eclipse in Arkansas, from eclipse maps of the path of totality and eclipse times to climate forecasts, traffic advice, how and where to find lodging, and all about festivals, events, and the best places to see.

Arkansas: path of totality and time of the eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurs when the new moon completely blocks the sun for a few minutes, casting a narrow, dark shadow across the Earth’s surface. On April 8, this path of totality will be between 188 and 186 miles wide as it flows through Arkansas, from southwest to northeast, entering the state at the Oklahoma-Texas border at 1:45 PM CDT and exiting at the Missouri border at 2:00 PM CDT. So it only takes 15 minutes to cross Arkansas.

Where to go to see the total solar eclipse is of utmost importance. You must be on the path of totality, and that cannot be overemphasized. There is no level of totality, as some maps suggest. Within the path you will see a total solar eclipse, but outside of it (even a mile on the wrong side of the border) you will see only a partial solar eclipse, with no darkness or view of the sun’s corona.

Top tip: On the centerline of that path, totality will take between 4 minutes, 18 seconds and 4 minutes, 12 seconds, depending on your exact location (Punch in here at each location for a full schedule), but it is not necessary to stand on the center line. It is more important to be in a bright place. You should try to stay away from the edge of the path of totality, but in Arkansas that should be easy for most.

Edge Cities of Arkansas: Fort Smith

Be very careful if you plan to be in Fort Smith, on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border, for the eclipse, because the northwest edge of the trail bisects the southern suburbs. Many will spend the night in Fort Smith and drive southeast on the day of the eclipse, perhaps to the Mount Ida or Russellville regions. That’s a great idea because it will be cheaper than renting close to the centerline within the trail, but it is imperative that you move by April 8th.

Top tip: If you’re staying overnight in Fort Smith (or somewhere else just off the trail), get up seriously early and plan to spend the whole day at your chosen location. Don’t necessarily choose somewhere on the centerline, though.

Arkansas: destinations within the path of totality

Nearly two-thirds of Arkansas is in the path of totality. The trail begins in southwestern Arkansas and first circumnavigates Texarkana and Ouachita National Forest, then Hot Springs National Park, Little Rock, Morrilton and the Petit Jean River Valley, and Russellville on its way to the Ozarks before emerging into Missouri. There are a whole host of Arkansas State Parks on the trail.

Here are some key locations on or near the centerline (click the link to go to the community site, where events and festivals are listed):

Tip tip: on April 8, Russellville could receive up to 168,000 visitors– more than anywhere else in Arkansas – especially because it sits on the centerline and is connected by Interstate 40 to Fort Smith to the west and Hot Springs to the southeast.

Arkansas: Eclipse lodging, events, camping and festivals

Recommended reading: Arkansas Tourism’s official Eclipse 2024 website

Aside from Little Rock, Hot Springs and Russellville, Arkansas is the ideal destination for the solar eclipse for outdoorsmen. Stargazers will be in for a treat, with the Ouachita Mountains, Ozark-St. Francis National Forest and Buffalo National River Dark Sky Park have impressively dark skies (see above), although light pollution during totality itself is irrelevant. Hundreds of privately owned farms and pop-up campsites make it relatively easy to find at least basic accommodations in Arkansas. Don’t be put off by the high quoted prices; they will decrease as the eclipse approaches (this trend repeats over the decades, just as eclipses do!).

For the latest events, ticketed festivals, free community plans and more, check out National Eclipse’s Eclipse Events page and this interactive eclipse map from The Eclipse Company. You’ll also find a mix of campgrounds, RV parks, music festivals, science-themed events, and observation-only events. The latter also links to Booking.com.

Hipcamp’s Solar Eclipse Camping Guide 2024 and Campspot’s Where to Camp for the 2024 Solar Eclipse Path are helpful for campers.

Top tip: For day trippers looking for a parking spot, check this out list of Arkansas State Parks in and near the path of totality.

Arkansas: climate and weather

Where is the best chance for clear weather during the solar eclipse in Arkansas? According to eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson on his website Eclipsophile, climate statistics suggest a 54% and 59% chance of clouds across Arkansas in April. However, Anderson notes that the trail north of Little Rock is divided between the Boston Mountains and the Ozark Plateau north of the centerline and the lowlands to the south.

If you need to change locations, Arkansas has two Interstates conveniently located in the path of totality. Interstate 30 runs northeast from Texarkana to Little Rock, while Interstate 40 runs northwest along the path.

Top Tip: pay attention to the weather forecasts and decide where you want to go 24 hours before the eclipse. Staying mobile and moving is not for everyone, but there is a good chance that this could be a decisive factor.

I’m an expert on eclipses, the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of The complete guide to the great North American solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. For the latest news on the total solar eclipse, including travel and accommodation options,check my main feed for new articles every day.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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