Staying in the Black Hills and Seeing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse is coming on August 21st, 2017, and it's a pretty big deal: the last time the continental United States saw one was in 1979. Not to date anyone too badly, but the owners and staff at the 1899 Inn weren't even born then. For entire generations of Americans, this will be their first chance to see a total solar eclipse without having to travel to far-flung corners of the globe.
Yes, partial solar eclipses happen a bit more regularly, but for people who have witnessed both, there's no comparison. A total solar eclipse (or TSE) has been called a "psychedelic" experience, like seeing "an alien sky." The shadow of the moon completely covers the center of the sun, leaving only the churning edges of the solar corona visible to bystanders.
The bad news? In order to see totality - where the moon blocks out the entire sun - you'll need to be in some very specific places. Deadwood isn't directly in this path, but we're really close. That means it's possible to plan a trip to see the eclipse that includes some stops here. Here are three possible itineraries if you're considering an eclipse trip around the Black Hills:
- You could overnight here at the 1899 Inn on the night of Saturday, August 19th. Make a leisurely departure on Sunday the 20th, heading south through the Black Hills to see places like Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Custer State Park. Then head down U.S. 85 to Lusk, Wyoming (about 100 miles from the parks) or down U.S. 385 to Alliance, Nebraska (about 140 miles) and overnight there. You can have a relaxed Monday morning in either town, because totality won't start in Lusk until 11:46 AM, and in Alliance until 11:49 AM.
- Alternatively, you could do that itinerary in reverse: begin your trip in Lusk or Alliance on the night of Sunday the 20th, and witness the eclipse the next morning. When it's finished, continue up to the Black Hills, see the parks, then head for Deadwood (we're only an hour and fifteen minute drive north) and stay here at the 1899 Inn on the night of Monday the 21st.
- Or if you're short on time, it is possible to overnight in Deadwood on Sunday the 20th, then get up on Monday morning and head south in time for the eclipse. For this itinerary, your best bet is to head for Lusk: it's only a two-hour drive, and it's a straight shot south on U.S. 85 (which is just a block away from the 1899 Inn). Since the eclipse there starts at 11:46, you can have breakfast here at the inn at 7:30 or 8:00, leave Deadwood by 8:30, and be in Lusk an hour before totality is due to start.
If you're looking for some help planning your trip, don't hesitate to give us a call or send us a note. We haven't released our August 2017 rooms for online bookings just yet, but if you call or send us a message, we can make your reservation directly. Just let us know you're coming for the eclipse, and we'll take care of the rest.