Not in the path of totality? Check out these local lookouts for the eclipse

Anywhere you can get an unobstructed view of the sun will be fine, but getting a few hundred feet higher in elevation does give you a good look at everything else around you. And some seasoned eclipse chasers say a fantastic part of the show is seeing how the shadow of the moon plays off the surrounding hills and cityscape. (KATU Photo)

If you're not headed into the path of totality for Monday's solar eclipse, perhaps you're wondering if there's a vantage point where you live that will give you an even better view.

Probably not, say the serious star watchers. All you really have to do is look out your front door, as long as there are no buildings or trees or clouds in the way.

The sun will be high enough on the eastern horizon Monday that most people will be able to see it without having to get to higher in elevation.

Someplace like the Pittock Mansion, or Rocky Butte, or Mount Scott will give a you a better panorama, and experienced eclipse chasers say the eclipse shadows can be dramatic to see on the surrounding hills and city skyline before and after totality.

Amy Wheelon lives on Mount Scott, and won't be a bit surprised if there are plenty of new visitors Monday morning.

"That’s part of why we’re leaving, going to a breakfast party in Happy Valley", said Wheelon.

"On the Fourth of July it was pretty busy up here, so I imagine it will be the same. Because you can see a lot, I’m sure it will be a great view of the eclipse."

Sarah Baker says her family is staying put, and doesn't think the crowd will be too overwhelming.

"It’s a pretty quiet neighborhood, so if it’s just one day, or just the morning, I think we can handle that," she said.

On Powell Butte Friday, wildfire smoke was visible settling in around Mount Hood.

But eclipse chasers say even that can be quite a sight during the eclipse with the light and shadows of the moon making the smoke even darker and more eerie.

It's the cause of the smoke that concerns a lot of people, even away from the fires burning in central Oregon.

"It seems like you might be having so much fun it would be easy to ignore the dangerous things," said Molly Wells of Oregon City, hiking Powell Butte with her grandkids on Friday. "Like a cigarette butt, or a hot car on the grass, that kind of thing."

Which is why warning signs are up around the region about the high danger, and both Washington and Oregon departments of transportation and the state police are reminding people not to pull over and park if they're driving during the eclipse. Whether it's on the freeway or a rural road, a dry strip of grass under an idling car can catch fire fast, and spread too quickly to control.

And with people possibly crowding onto narrow roads up to higher viewpoints, emergency responders say it could be almost impossible for people to get out, or emergency vehicles to get in.

The reminder doesn't just come from the officials, but the people who live here too, like Molly Wells.

"It does concern me that it’s so dry. It doesn’t take much. Just be smart."

Even though the sun will be about 99 percent blocked in Portland during the eclipse, sun watchers will need to keep their protective eyewear on during the whole event. Even at 99 percent covered, there is still enough sunlight streaming through to damage eyes.

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