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The Highland Lakes area should expect a massive influx of visitors for a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, and significant preparations are necessary to accommodate them, according to Hill Country Alliance Night Sky Program Manager Dawn Davies.

Davies gave a presentation on eclipse preparation to a collection of Highland Lakes officials and business owners during a Burnet Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Coffee and Conversations meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21. She explained that the eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that will likely draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to communities along its path across Central Texas. 

Marble Falls, Burnet, Granite Shoals, and Llano are in the centerline of the eclipse’s path and will be some of the best locations for viewing. The eclipse’s land path begins in Mexico, crosses into South Texas near Del Rio, and travels northeast out of the state at angle all the way to New England and northeastern Canada.

Dawn Davies of Hill Country Alliance
Hill Country Alliance Night Sky Program Manager Dawn Davies points out the number of estimated visitors to communities in the Pacific Northwest that were in the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

“Nothing like this, on this scale, cutting across a major swathe of our state, is going to happen again for hundreds of years,” Davies said. “I have looked out as far as the year 3000 and I have not found an eclipse that cuts through Texas this significantly.”

A total solar eclipse occurs every 18 months or so somewhere on Earth, but a particular region only sees a total eclipse every 350-375 years. The Highland Lakes, specifically, might not see another total eclipse for over a millennium, Davies said.

She presented data collected from towns in the Pacific Northwest that were in the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse, showing staggering numbers of visitors.

The town of Madras, Oregon, with a population of 7,456, received an estimated 100,000 visitors during the 2017 eclipse. Jackson County in Illinois has a comparable population to Burnet County, 52,565, and received 75,000 visitors. Douglas, Wyoming, population 6,386, saw 25,000 visitors.

“I understand these numbers are a bit shocking, but this is the reality of it,” Davies said.

Most of Burnet and Llano counties lie within prime eclipse viewing territory and are likely to receive comparable numbers of visitors. These communities will experience over four minutes of the total eclipse.

2024 total solar eclipse path through Central Texas
An image from the National Solar Observatory shows the path that the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse will take across Central Texas. The Highland Lakes area is right in the middle and will be one of the best venues in the country for seeing the celestial event. National Solar Observatory image

“We want to make sure that our restaurants, our community, our business folks are prepared,” Davies said. “Not only for the influx of visitors, but afterward, you still have to have the infrastructure to support your community and your residents who are still living here after everybody else goes home.”

Davies listed heavy traffic, adequate access to restrooms, solar glasses, and fully stocked grocery stores, planned menus at restaurants, school schedules, accommodations, wildlife awareness, and more as points of interest.

While the number of visitors and preparations might seem staggering, she also highlighted the eclipse as a unique opportunity for those who live here.

“I feel like it’s a best-case scenario and a perfect storm,” Davies told “It’s happening here in the Hill Country during one of the most beautiful times of the year. If anybody is going to want to be anywhere for this eclipse, I think they’re going to want to be here.”

For more information and resources on the eclipse, visit the Hill Country Alliance eclipse portal.