If you haven’t heard yet, it’s eclipse time in the U.S. again! After a six year hiatus from the fun, an annular solar eclipse will pass over the U.S. in October 2023. This is a great opportunity for everyone to plan a trip to stand in awe of the celestial dance our planet Earth is part of – watching the Moon pass in front of the Sun is an incredible and humbling experience… Some people even say it is spiritual!
As part of a new series to prepare you for this eclipse (and the one next year in April 2024!), this post covers some basic information about the 2023 annular solar eclipse and how you can see it. Below, you’ll find a list of the states within the path of “annularity” (where the “ring of fire” will be visible, rather than a partial solar eclipse in other parts of the country).
Ready to discover the path across the U.S. states in the path of the 2023 solar eclipse?
2023 Annular Solar Eclipse Details
While I have an entire guide to the 2023 solar eclipse forthcoming, I thought it would be helpful to cover the basics here:
- In the U.S., the annular solar eclipse begins at 9:13 a.m. PDT and ends at 12:03 p.m. CDT.
- The path will go from northwest to southeast across the U.S., from Oregon to Texas.
- As it is an annular solar eclipse, it will look like a “ring of fire,” and you need to wear protective eclipse glasses to view this eclipse.
Don’t have protective eclipse-viewing glasses? Look for ISO-certified options on Amazon – and be sure to buy them in advance, as they sold out for the 2017 total solar eclipse!
Which States are in the Path of the Eclipse?
While you may have heard that there are 13 states in the path of the 2023 eclipse, there are actually only 9 states in the path of the 2023 annular solar eclipse. The map above is pretty clear, which makes me wonder why people are confused – perhaps they are thinking of the 13 states in the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse?
In any case, we’re focusing on the eclipse in 2023, and here’s a list of them plus the details about which parts of each state will be in the path of annularity.
The path of annularity across the U.S. starts in Oregon, over the Oregon Coast in the southwest part of the state. Much of southern Oregon will experience the eclipse, which is a cool opportunity for those in the often-cloudy Pacific Northwest.
I actually viewed the 2017 eclipse in Oregon, and am planning to be back in Oregon for this 2023 eclipse.
California, like Arizona and Colorado, is technically on the path of the 2023 solar eclipse, but only just!
Annularity will be visible only in the northeast most corner of the state, which is far from any major cities – in fact only a few highways and roads cut through this part of the Golden State at all! If it helps you understand the map, the remote Lava Beds National Monument is actually bisected by the path of where the annular eclipse will be visible – the northeast half of the monument will see annularity, while the southwest half will not.
A nice swath of northeast Nevada will enjoy annularity in October – the path of the solar eclipse will cut from the northwest border with Oregon and California to cover much of the Utah border in the East.
In terms of places within Nevada you can most easily visit for the eclipse, the town of Elko (pop. ~20,600) and Great Basin National Park (which I love) are both contenders. Keep in mind that Nevada is quite rural and has limited tourist infrastructure –
The path of the 2023 solar eclipse will cut across a wide swath of Utah after it leaves Nevada – again though, you’ll want to plan ahead since it doesn’t pass over the major cities (or even some of the medium-sized ones). Instead, the beautiful, otherworldly landscapes of central Utah will be bathed in the glow of a “ring of fire” and be well worth the journey and all the details you’ve had to arrange to get there.
In Utah, three of Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks will fall within the path of annularity: Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. All three of these parks are fantastic for stargazing too, if you decide to plan a trip and want to stay for a night or two to enjoy the night sky.
Both Colorado and Arizona (next) are just barely in the path of annularity – like California – but are still worth mentioning in case you’re in this part of the country.
In Colorado, only the southwestern-most tip of the state will see the ring of fire during the annular phase of the eclipse; the town of Durango is right on the edge, whereas Mesa Verde National Park (an hour’s drive west) falls squarely in the path. Again: plan ahead. While Durango is big enough to handle tourism, it will likely be booked up months in advance by eclipse chasers hoping for a comfortable place to stay during the weekend of the event.
Only the northeastern-most tip of Arizona will experience annularity during the 2023 total solar eclipse – as well as the Four Corners area of the country (naturally, since Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico will all be in the path).
This part of Arizona is relatively less developed, so you’ll have to plan ahead to be in the area, similar to California. Canyon de Chelly National Monument will be a nice area to base yourself from if you can arrange accommodations; after the eclipse, you’ll be able to explore this part of the Southwestern U.S. and enjoy some of the great dark skies in this region.
As you know if you’ve followed my stories here for a while, New Mexico has fast become one of my favorite destinations in the American West: it’s far more diverse than you might expect, and home to a huge number of incredible astrotourism experiences. (Space tourism! Observatories! Dark sky parks!)
For the 2023 annular solar eclipse, the path across New Mexico is easy to imagine: draw a line from the northwest corner to the southeast corner, and that’s the path that annularity will be visible on. This means that some major cities, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Roswell, and Carlsbad, will all be perfectly placed for viewing.
If you’re late to the game in planning your 2023 eclipse trip, I’d look at New Mexico – especially Albuquerque, since it’s large enough to host lots of visitors for an astronomical event like this.
Texas is the final U.S. state in the path of the 2023 eclipse – and it’s also in the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse across North America!
The path of annularity will enter over West Texas, passing cities like Midland, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. These latter cities are also good options if you’re planning a trip just before the eclipse and want to base yourself in a city with plenty of hotel options.
Have any questions about which states are in the path of the 2023 annular solar eclipse, or where to visit? Let me know in the comments below – and don’t forget your eclipse glasses when you pack to head out and see annularity!