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Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon

Night-sky time-lapse at Utah's Bryce Canyon    Photo: Francisco Kjolseth/AP

On May 20, a swath of the American West from Oregon to New Mexico will catch an almost complete solar eclipse. There’s no better place to see this spooky phenomenon than Bryce Canyon National Park. Why? In many places, the sun will set before the eclipse is over, but at Bryce it ends just a minute before sunset—meaning that within a two-hour window you’ll see the sun set, rise, and set again against the park’s surreal hoodoo-studded landscape. Bryce is gearing up with 50 rangers and volunteer astronomy experts, who plan to narrate the event at the parking areas at Bryce Point and Inspiration Point and along the 1.5-mile trail that connects them. We recommend steering clear of all that. Instead, reserve a backcountry site at someplace like Right Fork Yellow Creek, three miles down the Under-the-Rim Trail from Bryce Point ($5), flag down a ranger for a couple of pairs of complimentary solar-viewing glasses (for safely staring directly into the eclipse), and watch the main event among mushroom-like sandstone formations. BYO performance enhancers.

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