People from far and near gather in Canyonlands to view ‘ring of fire’ eclipse

Oct 14, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK — On Saturday, much of Utah got a clear view of the “ring of fire” eclipse.

Considering the next eclipse won’t happen in Utah again until 2045, the event was enough to draw crowds to areas all over central and southern Utah, including some of Utah’s National Parks, which were right in the path.

Before sunrise near the Needles Visitors Center, families like the Hopkins were getting an early start, working to beat the crowds on the eastern end of Canyonlands National Park.

It was probably earlier than they needed to, but it’s best to be safe. The crowds out here were moderate, more in the dozens, but enough to congest the entryway.

Still, for folks like Jessie, Mark and the kids, it’s well worth it.

“We wanted to come where we could see exactly where it lines up,” Jessie Hopkins said.

The Hopkins family gets ready to view the eclipse Saturday at Canyonlands National Park. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

For others, like the Baileys, from North Carolina, Saturday’s eclipse came as a pleasant surprise.

“Well, this wasn’t actually planned,” Rob Bailey said.

“Yeah, kind of like that,” Jennifer Bailey added.

At least not at first. As soon as the Baileys discovered there was going to be an eclipse, they knew they had to view it.

“We came to see all of the national parks and when we started planning, we found out that there was a solar eclipse,” Jennifer said. “So we thought that would be cool to do.”

But thanks to a bit of luck, they’re catching one more sight.

“It’s great so far,” Rob said.

The moon, gradually overtaking the sun, something that happens roughly twice a year. But of course, not always within road trip distance.

The Baileys saw a partial eclipse from New York City back in 2017. But this being right under the annular path is a bit more impressive.

The Bailey family from North Carolina view Saturday’s eclipse from Canyonlands National Park. (Mike Anderson KSL TV)

About an hour from when it all started, that ring slowly falls into place. A rare chance to see that cosmic beauty surrounded by this kind of scenery.

“What happened to the sun when the moon went in front of it?” Jessie asked. “It turned into a ring of fire.”

And if you’re willing to travel, a total eclipse hits some of the southern and eastern United States next April. Families like the Hopkins are just glad they saw it Saturday.

“It was a good experience I think we’ll always remember it,” Jessie said.

‘It’s a poetic sort of thing,’ Utahn says looking forward to eclipse

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People from far and near gather in Canyonlands to view ‘ring of fire’ eclipse