Idaho Falls, Idaho, is located on Interstate 15 about 3 hours north of Salt Lake City, Utah. The population is about 56,000 in the city, 136,000 in the immediate area. There is a well developed infrastructure of commercial services such as hotels, shopping and other services. Area attractions include many acres of Nation Forest, National Parks and several local parks. A number of hotels are situated in this area.
Eclipse Viewing Venues
There are many open fields immediately west, and north of the city. Idaho Falls is situated in a wide valley hemmed by mountains to the east. At the start of totality, 11:33am, the sun will be at 49 degrees elevation, in the south-southeast. To view the eclipse, a location with a clear view is required. There are many such open spaces near Idaho Falls.
Official eclipse viewing venues may be established as August 21, 2017 nears. These may be set up to take advantage of the open spaces near the city where a large number of visitors could park.
There is a network of highways and roads around Idaho Falls. Congestion is still likely on the day of the eclipse. Travelers should arrive early and expect some difficulty when departing.
Last Minute Accommodations
Those eclipse viewers arriving at Idaho Falls at the last minute may find limited accommodation options. Visitors may want to consider staying in Salt Lake City and driving for about 3 hours to an eclipse viewing location. As mentioned, however, traffic congestion is likely to be heavy on the day of the eclipse.
Area Weather Possibilities
Idaho Falls is usually sunny and dry in August. Unfortunately, clouds may at this time of year. Since clear weather is vital for eclipse watching, eclipse viewers will want to be aware of the forecast in advance. If bad weather is predicted for the area, moving to a more suitable viewing location is advised.
Alternate Viewing Possibilities to Counter Bad Weather
If the weather is poor for eclipse viewing, the next nearest community may be as far away as Casper, Wyoming. This community is about 6.5 hours away to the east. Obviously a decision to travel should not be taken lightly. If the decision is made to leave Idaho Falls, travel should be undertaken on August 20, the day before the eclipse.