Fireflies Put on a Synchronized Light Show in the Smoky Mountains – Viewing Dates
You have the opportunity to see a natural light show unlike no other in the Smoky Mountains.
Each year, people from all over gather at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus, a firefly species that flashes synchronously. It's like a Christmas light show that has come to life. This is a show you have to see in person to believe.
Great Smoky Mountains Synchronous Fireflies
The annual synchronous firefly viewing opportunity will be held at Elkmont Campground in Gatlinburg, Tennessee beginning Friday, June 3 through Friday, June 10. If you want to be a part of this event, you can't just show up. Since this is a limited viewing opportunity, there will be a lottery held for a vehicle pass for those dates. The lottery opens Friday, April 29 at 10:00 a.m. through Tuesday, May 3 at 10:00 a.m.
According to Gatlinburg.com:
A total of 800 vehicle passes, 100 passes per night, will be issued through the lottery process. Results of the lottery will be available by Friday, May 13. Each vehicle pass provides admission for parking directly at the Elkmont viewing location for one passenger vehicle with a maximum of seven occupants. During the application process, lottery applicants may enter two possible dates to participate in the viewing opportunity over the eight-day period.
This amazing natural phenomenon is where thousands of fireflies gather in the Smoky Mountains to make it appear as though the stars in the sky have come down to Earth. It's like magic. They all start at the same time, flash randomly, and then all go off at the same time. This is the biggest population of synchronous fireflies in the western hemisphere.
Visitors may visit www.recreation.gov and search for “Great Smoky Mountains Firefly Viewing Lottery” for more information and to enter the lottery. Visitors may also call 1-877-444-6777 to enter the lottery, but park officials encourage the use of the online process.