Travel Guide to the Solar Eclipse in Brevard, NC

Brevard bills itself as the “Land of Waterfalls”, and for good reason. Visitors to the area enjoy dozens of waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest, and DuPont State Forest. Although the area is at the northern edge of the total solar eclipse and only experiences about a minute of total darkness, this will still be one of the best places in North Carolina to spend the weekend for the celestial event.

Be sure to check out the Travel Guide to the Solar Eclipse in North Carolina page for more destinations to visit.


Table of Contents


Solar Eclipse Details

Partial Eclipse: 1:08p.m. – 4:02p.m. EST

Total Eclipse: 2:37p.m. – 2:38p.m. EST

Length of Total Eclipse: 1 min, 4 sec

 

Sun’s Position During Eclipse

Altitude: 62.5°

Azimuth: 215.7°


Where to Watch the Eclipse

1. Blue Ridge Parkway – Just forty-five minutes away from Brevard, the Blue Ridge Parkway has plenty of viewing opportunities for the total solar eclipse. But this will also be among some of the most sought after real estate in the Southeast on the day of the eclipse, and traffic could be a nightmare. If you want to view the eclipse on the parkway visit the Travel Guide to the Solar Eclipse on the Blue Ridge Parkway page, and keep in mind you will need to arrive early to guarantee a parking spot.

The best place on the Parkway to view the eclipse from Brevard is Graveyard Fields. This area may be one of the most interesting places to watch the solar eclipse because of the local landscape. This unique destination on the Parkway is a vast field with very little vegetation or trees. A long loop trail through the fields will provide easy access and a place to sit back and watch the eclipse in the sky above. Avoid Lower Falls and High Falls as these areas won’t have clear views during the eclipse.

Milepost: 418.8

Parking: There is a large parking area for single vehicles at the trailhead. Additional parking is allowed along the Parkway about five hundred feet before and after the main parking area.

Amenities: Privy restrooms.

2. Brevard College – Move-in day for new students at Brevard College is August 21, the same day as the eclipse. Rather than postpone the move-in the college instead decided to have an eclipse viewing party on the “front lawn” at the college’s entrance. Safety glasses will be handed out freely and dozens of telescopes will be set up around the field.

Address: One Brevard College Drive, Brevard, NC

Where to Park: There is plenty of parking on campus on a “normal” day, but with this being move-in day your best bet is to park off campus and walk down the street to the entrance.

Fees: This event is free to the pubic.

3. Pisgah Astronomical Research InstitutePARI is a former NASA facility that now operates as a non-profit research institute. Their prime location atop a mountain miles from the nearest town will guarantee a great viewing experience of the total solar eclipse. Sylvan Sport will be hosting the Camp Dark Sky event that includes 4 nights private camping at PARI in one of their GO campers. Note: This event has already sold out, but don’t let that stop you from visiting PARI during the weekend before the eclipse.

Address: 1 PARI Drive, Rosman, NC

Website: www.sylvansport.com/campdarksky/

4. Skyterra Wellness Retreat – One of the most exclusive viewing parties in the Southeast will be at the Skyterra Wellness Retreat in Lake Toxaway. They’re offering a special week pass to the retreat that includes access to the full programming, participation in Skyterra Sun Yoga, free eclipse viewing glasses, and a private viewing party.

Address: 1 Indian Creek Drive, Lake Toxaway, NC

Fees: $4,200 per person

Website: www.skyterrawellness.com/events/total-eclipse-brevard/

5. Gorges State Park – The only state park in North Carolina in the path of the eclipse will host the Total Solar Eclipse viewing party. The event will feature special viewing locations throughout the park, live music, food vendors, and live streaming from PARI. The best part? This event is free.

Address: 976 Grassy Ridge Road, Sapphire, NC

Where to Park: There will be plenty of parking inside the park.

Fees: This event is free to attend.

Website: www.ncparks.gov/gorges-state-park/events-and-programs/2017-total-solar-eclipse


Tourism Information

Land of Waterfalls Website

Totally Transylvania Solar Eclipse Event Website

Visitor’s Center

175 East Main Street, Brevard, NC

(800) 648-4523


How to Get There

Driving: You will certainly need a vehicle to get around this mountain town in North Carolina. Getting to Brevard is part of the fun along scenic highways. The nearest interstates are I-26 in Hendersonville and I-40 near Waynesville. Highway 276 is one of the main highways connecting Waynesville with Greenville, SC through Brevard. Highway 64 is the other main highway connecting Hendersonville with towns like Cashiers and Highlands. Airport Road is an easy way for visitors from Asheville to reach Brevard.

Flying: The closest airport is just eighteen miles away at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

Train: There are no train stations in Western North Carolina.


Where to Eat, Sleep, and Play

Eat: Downtown Brevard has a lot of great food including popular places like Magpie Meat & Three, The Square Root, and The Falls Landing. Rocky’s Grill & Soda Shop is an iconic eatery with a retro diner atmosphere and real soda fountain. Kiwi Gelato will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown. Just outside of the downtown area is Sora Japanese Restaurant and Pisgah Fish Camp with seafood better than some oceanfront restaurants.

Sleep: There are only a few hotels in Brevard, and these are most likely already booked because of the move-in weekend at the college. Although not in the path of the total eclipse it would be a good idea to look for hotels in nearby Asheville and Hendersonville. For solo travelers check out the Sweetpeas Hostel in Asheville.

Camping is a popular way to spend nights in the Brevard area. Gorges State Park features a few free primitive campsites for outdoor enthusiasts. The Lazy “J” Campground is a privately owned 25-acre campground on the French Broad River featuring primitive sites or sites with full hookups.

Adventure Village features cabin suites, camping cabins, RV sites, and tent sites on a wonderful property with lots of activities. The Blue Ridge Parkway is another place to spend a few nights. Pisgah Inn is just an hour away from Brevard and the Mount Pisgah Campground is just across the Parkway from the inn. Both of these are outside the path of the total solar eclipse.

Play: The local tourism authority is called the Land of Waterfalls for a reason: there are dozens of waterfalls around the Brevard area. The Land of Waterfalls website has a good list of them along with information on where to park, length of the hike, and a few photos. Some of the easiest waterfalls to access include Slick Rock Falls and Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest, Connestee Falls just outside Brevard, and Hooker Falls in DuPont State Forest.

Speaking of DuPont State Forest, it is a fantastic area for all-day outdoor recreation. Bicycling along Staton Road is a popular activity. Kayakers will head out on the river just after heavy rainfalls. Hooker Falls is a wonderful swimming hole in mid-August at the base of the short waterfall in shallow waters. Hiking to Triple Falls and High Falls are popular activities, but there are many more miles of trails through the state forest. Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most spectacular but requires a bit more hiking to reach.

Pisgah National Forest has plenty to keep outdoor enthusiasts entertained as well. Sliding Rock Recreation Area is infamous for the smooth rocks that have been turned into natural slides, landing visitors into a pool of water after a short slide. Hikers eager for a challenge can try the 5.3-mile hike to the top of Looking Glass Rock for a stunning view that unfortunately faces the wrong direction for the eclipse. The Cradle of Forestry in America is an interesting place to tour with an indoor museum and outdoor living history museum.

If you’re not keen about strapping on a pair of trail runners and sweating all day you can always stay comfy and relaxed in downtown Brevard. Walk along the beautiful Main Street past historic buildings, pay a visit to Silvermont Mansion, or take a walk through the O.P. Taylor toy shop. There is plenty of places to eat in the downtown area from breakfast until dinner. The Brevard Music Center will also host a special post-season event the weekend of the eclipse featuring music by Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.

One of the reasons Brevard is such a great place to visit is its central location to so much to do in the area. Visitors can embark on a day trip loop drive through the South Carolina Upcountry to visit destinations like Pretty Place, Caesars Head State Park, Table Rock State Park, and watch a stunning sunset from Sassafras Mountain. Heading out along Highway 64 will take you to PARI, a former NASA facility turned non-profit research center with a neat little museum and a large campus to explore, and Gorges State Park. The cozy and quaint towns of Cashiers and Highlands are a few hours’ drive from Brevard along a curvy, but scenic, highway that includes Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, and the Rhodes Big View Overlook, a popular place to see the shadow of a bear during sunset in late October.


Additional Resources

If you would like to read more stories, please visit my blog at www.southeasterntraveler.com/?s=brevard

If you would like to view more photos, please visit my photography website at photography.southeasterntraveler.com/North-Carolina/Brevard/

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