7 Best State Parks To See the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse in Arkansas
It’s not to late to mark your calendars! On April 8, 2024, a solar eclipse will run through the center of Arkansas, and several Arkansas State Parks will be the best places to view it. Hyped as the “Great North American Eclipse,” we’re sharing the best (and our favorite) state parks to make reservations at to be in the narrow path of totality.
1. Crater of Diamonds State Park
Hailed as one of the only public places in the world to mine for diamonds, guests to Crater of Diamonds State Park have a great spot to see the solar eclipse and a chance to mine for diamonds. Every year, people strike it rich, finding diamonds in the rough – quite literally.
Bring your non-motorized tools to mine for diamonds and gems or rent gear from the visitor center. If digging in the dirt isn’t your thing, no worries. You can also walk the plowed fields hoping to spot a sparkle on top. If you do – be sure to reach down and grab it. The fields are a perfect spot to watch the eclipse.
2. Mount Magazine State Park
What better place to watch the solar eclipse than from the highest mountain in Arkansas? At Mount Magazine State Park, visitors can do just that. Signal Hill is 2,753 feet in elevation, so if you want to hike to the peak, there is an excellent trail.
If you don’t want to hike or walk much, you can watch the sky from the Cameron Bluff Overlook parking lot or Benefield Overlook area. There are many wide-open spaces here, so you’ll have epic views as long as it’s not a cloudy day.
3. Mount Nebo State Park
Mount Nebo State Park is a flat-top mountain located just outside of Russellville, Arkansas. If you’re road-tripping through Arkansas to see the solar eclipse, the park is not too far from Interstate 40. With cabins and camping, you’ll thank yourself for making reservations to watch the sky from here.
Mount Nebo has many spots for clear sky views, such as Sunrise Point or Sunset Point.
Heads up for RVers, Mount Nebo is not the place for big rigs. Anything over 24 feet is not permitted as it won’t make it up the steep switchbacks. The road is steep! Trust us.
4. Lake Dardanelle State Park
If you’re pulling an RV and want to be in the Mount Nebo area, Lake Dardanelle is a great alternative. You can see Lake Dardanelle from Mount Nebo State Park.
Sitting in the valley, Lake Dardanelle is another excellent spot to see the solar eclipse. If you like fishing, make a reservation here. You’ll also be minutes from Russellville, so you don’t have to “rough it” too much if you want to hit the local establishments for food.
5. Petit Jean State Park
Prized as Arkansas’s first state park to compliment your sky-watching extravaganza, Petit Jean State Park has incredible hiking trails. Stay in the campground, cabins, or the Mather Lodge, or go glamping in one of the lakeside yurts. The best places to see the eclipse will be from the epic overlooks.
6. Lake Ouachita State Park
If kayaking in the morning, followed by sky-watching mid-day, sounds like your kind of fun, hurry and book your reservation at Lake Ouachita State Park. Head down to the lake shores for the best views of the sky. And when you’re done, cruise into Hot Springs, Arkansas, to enjoy the national park and soak in the springs. Talk about the perfect spring getaway.
7. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
With its proximity to Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain is a great place to see the solar eclipse. Just imagine hiking to the top to watch the total eclipse. Talk about making memories for a lifetime.
There is no camping here, but with all the places to say in Little Rock, it’s the perfect place to watch the sky if you’re flying in for the event and want to stay in a hotel.
Early Camping, Cabin, and Lodging Reservation System
Arkansas State Parks have opened their reservation system to book in advance for this spectacular natural event. To hold your spot, guests must book a four-night minimum from Friday, April 5 to Tuesday, April 9, 2024.
Reservations can be made online with the parks.
Be Sure to Have Proper Viewing Safety Gear
Sky watchers should plan to have proper safety glasses to view the eclipse. NASA says special glasses should be certified with ISO 12312-2 specifications. In addition, you should not look at the eclipse without special glasses and be careful of fake viewing lenses. Don’t burn your eyes!
Get Ready for the Totality: Eclipse Times and Viewing
Arkansas State Parks has a list of parks and times the solar eclipse will be visible. The list includes each park and the start of the partial eclipse, total eclipse, maximum eclipse, and ending so viewers can plan the day’s adventures.
While visiting these fantastic parks in “The Natural State,” be sure to make time to explore and hike. Arkansas has some of the best trails.
Be Part of History: Watching the Solar Eclipse in Arkansas
Arkansas is the perfect place to witness the sky’s spectacular show next April. At the state parks, viewers will have some of the best seats in nature’s house. So, whether you want to rough it camping, go glamping in a rustic cabin or yurt, or stay in one of the beautiful lodges, there are many places to stay so you can have an exciting astrological adventure.
We hope you can make it. Maybe we’ll see you there. Don’t forget to pack solar-eclipse-approved safety glasses!
Featured image credit: Emily Steward Photography/emilysteward.com.
This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.