- Where can we find lodging, RV, or camping spots in Madras?
While many hotels and campgrounds have already been booked, there are still plenty of camping and RV spots available in Madras. Please check our Stay page for information. You might also want to check www.vrbo.com and www.airbnb.com for other options.
- Can we camp in the great outdoors?
There are several areas in the Crooked River National Grassland where you can also camp. These areas are somewhat remote, so be sure you have enough food, water, and fuel for your stay – and be very careful as this is wildfire territory! Also, please make sure you’re not encroaching on private property.
- Are there houses, apartments, rooms for rent during the Eclipse?
Possibly. We suggest you use VRBO.com, airbnb.com, or Bend.CraigsList.org as resources. We will be updating our Stay page with RV and camping sites.
- Will we be able to have campfires?
No. The Eclipse is occurring at the height of fire season in an agriculturally dominant landscape. Wildfire is a major concern for Central Oregon and with tens of thousands of visitors to our area during the height of wildfire season, it is imperative that we all exercise due diligence and FIRE safety! The average nighttime temperatures in August are very comfortable, so warming fires won’t be necessary. Central Oregon Fire Info
- Are there places to set up telescopes?
There are lots of open areas where you can set up a telescope, but if you’re looking for paved areas or locations with amenities (restrooms, etc.), then you may want to reserve a spot at one of the festival or campgounds. Please visit our Stay page for more information.
- Will there be activities, festivals, things to do?
In addition to all the wonderful recreational opportunities in our area, there will be several sites offering music, vendors, and entertainment – some will be fee based, others will be free. Check out our Play page for ideas – and check back often as we’ll be adding to this page as our community develops additional fun festivities! Please note that local businesses will close during the actual eclipse so they can enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience as well.
- Will Madras be able to handle the influx of people for the Eclipse?
We’re excited to have you experience the Total Solar Eclipse from our beautiful backyard in Madras, Oregon. We began planning in 2015 to prepare for your visit. From sanitation, food and beverage service, health/safety services, transportation, local information collateral, maps and more – we’ll be ready for you with a friendly smile and open arms.
- Are there enough restaurants to accommodate the influx of visitors?
Our restaurants will be dialed up with increased inventories, extended business hours and staffing beginning on the Thursday prior to the Monday Eclipse. To enhance the availability of places to eat, there will be food carts and vendors at various locations around town. As they solidify their plans, we will locate them on our Eat page. You can also buy your groceries locally or purchase local produce and meat for cooking while you’re camping!
- Can I bring my animal(s)?
This is dependent upon where you decide to stay. With the exception of ADA certified service dogs, animals will not be allowed on the shuttles or in most businesses or public festivals. In addition, the average temperatures in our area during August can be extremely high, so if you bring your animals, please don’t leave them locked up in hot vehicles – cars, RV’s or tied up at campsites.
- Do I really need those glasses to watch the eclipse?
It is imperative that you wear eclipse eye protection. Any other form of eye protection, such as sunglasses, are not safe. Severe eye damage can occur and to the extreme, blindness. Viewing the sun while any part of its bright disk is still visible during the partial phases prior to and after the Eclipse Totality is not safe. The only time it is safe to view the Eclipse with no protection is during the two minutes of totality. Eclipse glasses will be available for purchase throughout town during the weekend prior and up through the time of the eclipse.
- I would like to take photos and videos of the Eclipse.
Not only is Madras in the path of totality, but spectacular scenery awaits you! We are located in the high desert of Central Oregon with the great backdrop of Mt. Jefferson and the Cascade Mountain range, beautiful red rock and basalt canyon walls above lakes and rivers. For photographing the eclipse, you’ll need special solar lenses and filters for your camera, video cameras, and telescopes to avoid equipment damage. And set your equipment up in advance – two minutes goes by quickly – you don’t want to miss out on this spectacular event because you’re making adjustments to your camera! This is a once in a lifetime event – professional photos will abound and be available to you thru various mediums, so if you’re not a professional photographer with all the right equipment, just sit back and enjoy the marvel…then purchase a photo later!
- Is it safe to view with my telescope? Binoculars?
As for telescopes, yes, but only if you have special solar lenses and filters that fit over the end of the scope (not the eyepiece). As for binoculars, you can only use them during the brief period of totality.
- What is the chance that it will be a cloudy day?
Madras has a historically high predictability of clear skies during the month of August – particularly in the mornings. Cloud cover of any sort is unusual in August and if any inclement weather occurs it is generally in the late afternoon.
- Can I just watch the whole thing on TV?
Sure, just like watching a sports game, boat race, or your child’s volleyball game on a television – but it won’t do it justice like actually experiencing it in person. Solar Eclipse chasers will tell you it’s a surreal experience. One you don’t want to miss.
TRAFFIC / PARKING
- Will roads be closed before, during & immediately after the eclipse?
During a major event such as this, it may be necessary to close a road and/or divert traffic due to an unforeseen issue (traffic accident, emergency, etc.). There are designated routes to the planned event/festival areas to help the flow of traffic and signage will be prevalent. While traffic will no doubt be heavy at times, if people cooperate and follow the routes it will certainly help. We will also use our social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) to communicate any closures or reroutes due to emergencies or accidents.
- Can we park on the side of the highways & roadways?
No. The Eclipse is occurring at the height of fire season in an agriculturally dominant landscape. Over-heated vehicles are of major concern. Pulling your vehicle off on to an area that is not designated for parking is not only dangerous for yourself and other drivers, but can also produce a fire. So please plan to arrive in the area days prior to the eclipse and stay in a safe, designated area. If you just can’t get here days before, at least plan to arrive Sunday night, park in one of the Park & View (“daytripper”) lots (see our Stay page for a list of locations), and nap in your car until morning. If you end up parking on the street, please don’t block fire hydrants (for safety reasons), respect property owners and don’t block their driveways, and overall, don’t park in No Parking areas (there’s a reason they’ve been designated as such).
- How long will it take to travel to Madras from surrounding communities?
On a typical day, we are 2½-3 hours from Portland and Eugene, 1½ hours from the Columbia River Gorge area; and 45 minutes from Bend. However, during the days leading up to the Eclipse, plan on much longer travel times – possibly two to three times longer.
- Where is the best place to park when we arrive on Monday morning?
Based on what we are anticipating and general consultation, Monday morning may be too late to arrive and experience the Eclipse. We suggest “daytrippers” actually arrive Sunday night around 10:00 pm and sleep in their car (or enjoy spectacular starry skies all night). Check out our Stay page for information on locations offering “daytripper” parking.
- Will there be shuttle service & where will it take me?
A shuttle service will be available from the north end of Madras, through Downtown to the south end of Madras. It will stop along the way at several of the venues hosting campers, grocery stores, and local businesses. You’ll need a wristband to utilize the shuttle, but the fee is quite reasonable. You can pre-purchase your shuttle pass at OregonSolarfest.com.
- If I decide to drive into Madras just to see the Eclipse, how much will parking costs be?
Pricing for parking will vary by location and vendor. Please visit our Stay page for locations serving “daytrippers.” Based on what we are anticipating and general consultation, Monday morning may be too late to arrive and experience the Total Eclipse. We suggest you arrive Sunday night by 10:00 pm and sleep in your car (or enjoy spectacular starry skies all night).
- Can I just drive to somewhere in the path of totality, park and watch it wherever I end up?
Yes, as long as you do it safely! Again, wildfire is a very big concern for our community, so just pulling your vehicle off the road into a dry grassy area is not a good idea, but we don’t want you to miss out on this incredible experience, so if for some reason, you aren’t able to get here early and park in an appropriate area, please keep in mind the type of road you’re traveling on, traffic conditions, and type of terrain. Don’t park in emergency response areas, in front of hydrants, etc., and don’t block people’s driveways.
- After the eclipse then what?
Like any event, with a multitude of spectators and vehicles, it takes time to pack up, depart and pursue access to roads and highways. So be patient, have water, snacks and various personal items for the trip afterwards. Or better yet, make plans to stick around a few days and enjoy the many offerings of Central Oregon, including the second largest Airshow in Oregon on August 25-26, 2017!