*UPDATED* Synchronous Fireflies 2019 Dates Announced!

One of the most exciting events that takes place in our own backyard is almost back! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the lottery dates and information for the viewing of the famous Elkmont Synchronous Fireflies! Each year in late May and early June, the fireflies put on a naturally occuring 2 week show in the Elkmont viewing area! These specific fireflies called Photinus carolinus, means that they light up synchronously. How cool?!



The official dates for the Synchronous Fireflies viewing at Elkmont! Shuttles will begin running on Thursday, May 30th and last through Thursday, June 6th. You can enter the  lottery for a chance to win parking passes for this event until Monday, April 29th. All visitors MUST have a parking pass to view the fireflies.

You can enter the lottery system at www.recreation.gov


Did you know?

This species of fireflies takes anywhere from one to two years to mature and will be adults for just 21 days. The way these fireflies present displays of mating are the the light patterns they show off. Additionally, their peak flashing period is within the same time period as the viewing dates at Elkmont campground.


Important dates to know:

  • Friday, April 26th– Beginning at 8:00 am the lottery for vehicle passes will be open. All applicants will choose a preferred date and an additional alternate date.
  • Monday, April 29th– Beginning at 8:00 pm the lottery for vehicle passes will close.
  • Friday, May 10th- lottery applicants will be notified if they were awarded a parking pass. The demand for parking passes is much higher than the number of passes allotted for the event. Each applicant will be assigned an arrival time on the date they were selected to avoid traffic congestion.
  • The lottery system will randomly choose winners of parking passes.


This year, applicants who successfully receive a parking pass will be charged a $25 reservation fee. There is also an additional $2 cash fee charged per person for a round trip shuttle ride. This ride will be to and from the Sugarlands Visitor Center and viewing area. The fees cover the cost of viewing supplies, nightly personnel to oversee the event, and also cost of parking.


To enter the lottery, visit: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/258488

For more information, visit: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/fireflies.htm

Be on the lookout for a blog on tips and tricks while at the Synchronous Fireflies Viewing event!

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