You can’t drive up Kennesaw Mountain for the eclipse. Here’s the deal

A still from a VR video produced by the AJC’s Ryon Horne of the leaves changing at Kennesaw Mountain.

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A still from a VR video produced by the AJC’s Ryon Horne of the leaves changing at Kennesaw Mountain.

Not sure if you've heard, but there's about to be this solar eclipse coming up real soon.

The moon is going to cover just about all of the sun around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 in Cobb County, and folks from all over are pretty into it.

If you were thinking about heading up Kennesaw Mountain for it (or just now realized that would be a pretty cool idea), then you should know that you can’t drive up there.

Park staff decided to close the road to the top of the mountain to drivers. Staff is expecting an influx of people, and it would be dangerous to have all those cars and pedestrians sharing the small road, said Marjorie Thomas, who is in charge of the visitors bureau.

Instead, people who don’t want to walk the mountain can take a paid shuttle to the top from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — with a break from 2 to 3 p.m. — to see the actual event.

The shuttle is free if you have any national park pass, or if you're age 6 and younger. But it costs $3 per person for age 12 and older without a pass, and it's $1.50 for each rider between ages 6 and 11.

It’s about a mile to the top and the shuttle takes between 5 and 8 minutes, Thomas said.

Thomas is actually going to the North Georgia mountains to get a better view of the eclipse, but she has some suggestions if you're heading to Kennesaw.

She said wide spaces are good, and suggests the parking lot on top of the mountain and the actual battlefield. She also recommends taking the stairs to the top of the mountain for a good vantage point.

The park will be giving out 100 pairs of sunglasses to watch the eclipse that day, Thomas said.

Scientists have warned that looking at a solar eclipse can burn a crescent shape into the back of your eye. Both Cobb and Marietta schools have pushed back their dismissal times, which were right when the eclipse is supposed to be at its peak.

Thomas said that Junior Rangers will be holding programs Aug. 19 to 21 teaching visitors how to create pinhole projectors to safely watch the eclipse. Pre-register from those programs — held at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day — by calling 770-427-4686.

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This is the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 99 years. It starts at 1:15 PM EDT in Oregon and ends in South Carolina at 2:45 EDT. It happens on Monday, Aug. 21. It will be visible to anyone within 200 miles of its path. Looking straight at the sun can blind you. Use safety glasses.