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Science isn’t gifting the southwest with a perfect view of a total solar eclipse this time around, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get a good show on August 21st. Two-thirds of the sun will be covered this Monday morning, creating a solar spectacle we haven’t seen in North America since the 1970’s. So, how will you be playing hooky on a Monday? It would be such a waste to simply step outside your office! Here are some of the best ways to combine celestial and desert beauty during Arizona’s solar eclipse.

Quick Facts

9 to 5 Hiker Eclipse Time

  • Partial eclipse begins at 9:13 a.m.
  • Maximum coverage is at 10:33 a.m.
  • Partial eclipse ends at 12:00 p.m.
  • Don’t just look at the damn thing. Protect your eyes with a pair of solar eclipse glasses.
  • If you’re filming a time lapse of the eclipse (like me), here are some helpful camera settings.

Camelback Mountain

9 to 5 Hiker Camelback Eclipse

I gave this urban hilltop a playful ribbing during my last article about popular Instagram spots in Arizona, but this could be one of the best places in the state to watch the eclipse—so long as you’re not expecting solitude. The sun will be just above Scottsdale, creating a cool backdrop during maximum coverage. If you want close proximity and a fun crowd, this is your spot.

Meteor Crater

9 to 5 Hiker Metero Crater Eclipse

If you want something a little more organized and kid-friendly, Meteor Crater will be hosting a watch party on Monday morning. It will cost you—$18 for adults and $9 for kids 6-17 (younger are free)—but they will give out eclipse sunglasses to early arrivals.

Flat Iron, Superstition Mountains

9 to 5 Hiker Flat Iron Eclipse

This one is my personal favorite. It’s just cool enough to hike up Flat Iron without cooking in the heat (arrive at or before sunrise to beat the crowds) and you’re adding a solar eclipse to already one of the best summit views in the Phoenix area. Flat Iron is accessible through Lost Dutchman State Park, which requires a $7 entrance fee per car. Be warned—this is a very challenging hike.

Grand Canyon National Park

9 to 5 Hiker Grand Canyon Eclipse

The South Rim is situated perfectly to face east and watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. Both the eclipse and the canyon will be in perfect view at 10:30 a.m. during maximum coverage. Plus, you’re at the Grand Canyon, c’mon. Don’t plan on camping in the park, however, as I am not the first one to mention watching the eclipse there.

Wupatki National Monument

9 to 5 Hiker Wupatki Eclipse

Wupatki National Monument is nested between the Painted Desert and northern Arizona mountains and is home to ancient Native American pueblos. It’s filled with history, natural beautify, contrasting colors… there may be no better place to see a natural phenomenon like this.

Where will you be watching the (almost) total eclipse of the sun?