Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Dates Announced

Smoky Mountain synchronous firefly dates announced.

Smoky Mountain synchronous firefly dates announced.

Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Dates Announced. Every year in late May or early June, thousands of visitors gather near the popular Elkmont Campground to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus, a firefly species that flashes synchronously. Since 2006, access to the Elkmont area has been limited to shuttle service beginning at Sugarlands Visitor Center during the eight days of predicted peak activity in order to reduce traffic congestion and provide a safe viewing experience for visitors that minimizes disturbance to these unique fireflies during the critical two-week mating period.

The lottery will be open for applications from Friday, April 26 at 8:00 a.m. until Monday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. Results of the lottery will be available on Friday, May 10. A total of 1,800 vehicle passes will be available for the event which includes: 1768 regular-parking passes (221 per day) which admit one passenger vehicle up to 19’ in length with a maximum of seven occupants, and 32 large-vehicle parking passes (four per day) which admit one large vehicle (RV, mini-bus, etc.) from 19’ to 30’ in length, with a maximum of 24 occupants. Lottery applicants must apply for either a regular-parking pass or large-vehicle parking pass and then may choose two possible dates to attend the event over the eight-day viewing period.

The lottery system uses a randomized computer drawing to select applications. All lottery applicants will be charged a $1.00 application fee. Successful applicants will automatically be awarded parking passes and a $24.00 reservation fee will be charged to the same credit or debit card used for the application fee. The parking pass permits visitors to park at Sugarlands Visitor Center and allows occupants to access the shuttle service to Elkmont. The $24.00 reservation fee covers the cost of awarding the passes, event supplies, one red-light flashlight per pass, and nightly personnel costs for managing the viewing opportunity at Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont.

Parking passes are non-refundable, non-transferable, and good only for the date issued. There is a limit of one lottery application per household per season. All lottery applicants will be notified by e-mail by May 10 that they were “successful” and awarded a parking pass or “unsuccessful” and not able to secure a parking pass.

The number of passes issued each day is based primarily on the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking lot capacity and the ability to accommodate a large number of viewers on site. Arrival times will be assigned in order to relieve traffic congestion in the parking lot and also for boarding the shuttles, which are provided in partnership with the City of Gatlinburg.  The shuttle buses will begin picking up visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking area at 7:00 p.m. A $2.00 round-trip, per-person fee will be collected when boarding the shuttle. Cash is the only form of payment accepted.

The firefly viewing date for 2019 will be May 30th through June, 6, 2019.  Shuttle service to the viewing area will be provided on Thursday, May 30 through Thursday, June 6.  All visitors wishing to view the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont must have a parking pass distributed through the lottery system at www.recreation.gov.

The shuttle service is the only transportation mode for visitor access during this period, except for registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground. Visitors are not allowed to walk the Elkmont entrance road due to safety concerns.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Smoky Mountain Elk Rut
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut...
Love is in the air for Smoky Mountain Elk. Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is on. The call of the wild echoes in the Smokies as Bull Elks seek mates.[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Tomato Pie Recipe...
You will love HeySmokies' delicious tomato pie! Smoky Mountain Tomato Pie recipe is a favorite with the HeySmokies.com culinary crew. This s[Read More >>]
Newfound Gap Road Construction
Newfound Gap Road Construction...
Smoky Mountain Travel Advisory. Great Smoky Mountains National Park will resume daytime traffic closures due to road paving along an 8-mile [Read More >>]
Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville
Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville...
Visit Ijams Nature Center and find out why people love it so much! Ijams is a wild place filled with rocks, rivers, trees, trails, owls and sala[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Cades Cove Closed To Public...
Cades Cove closes for three weeks. Cades Cove Closed To Public. Bears and other wildlife will have an opportunity to breathe a sigh of reli[Read More >>]
The Cades Cove Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Cades Cove Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
The 6,800-acre valley comprising Cades Cove, one of the most visited areas of the park, provides a glimpse of a bygone mountain lifestyle. Trave[Read More >>]
Tick Safety Tips!
Tick Safety Tips!...
Tick Safety Tips! Ticks and what you need to know to stay safe! It is that time of year in the Smoky Mountains. Summertime and outdoor activitie[Read More >>]
Five Best Hikes To Mount LeConte
Five Best Hikes To Mount LeConte...
These hikes to Mount LeConte are worth the effort! Five best hikes to Mount LeConte. LeConte Lodge is the only overnight lodging, [Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Laurel Falls Access Fee Proposed...
Laurel Falls Access Fee Proposed. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking public input on the Laurel Falls Trail Congestion Manageme[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain shuttle opportunities for Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Wednesdays...
Smoky Mountain shuttle opportunities for Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Wednesdays. Shuttles begin July 7, 2021 and will run through September 1, [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Bear Attack
Smoky Mountain Bear Attack...
Smoky Mountain bear attack! Smoky Mountain Bear Attack. Great Smoky Mountain National Park officials have closed backcountry campsite 29 in [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon
Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon...
Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon is on the rise! Smoky Mountain Strawberry Moon is on the rise! This first full moon of summer 2021[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Hike Naked Day!...
Hike Naked Day! That is right, June 21st is the official international hike naked day! The free and easy event is often a rite of pass[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Cicadas...
Smoky Mountain Cicadas. What's all the buzz about? A rare natural history event is unfolding right now! This month through mid-July, bi[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Lights, Camera, Action! Appalachian Bear Rescue double your donation campaign!...
Lights, Camera, Action! Appalachian Bear Rescue double your donation campaign! Now's the chance to DOUBLE YOUR DONATION impact and give you[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Road Work Scheduled
Smoky Mountain Road Work Scheduled...
Smoky Mountain road closures set to snarl traffic. Smoky Mountain Road work Scheduled. Smoky Mountain road crews will close single north and[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Volunteer Opportunities
Smoky Mountain Volunteer Opportunities...
Smoky Mountain Volunteer Opportunities in May and June of 2021. Park staff are hosting several volunteer workdays on trails throughout the [Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Abrams Falls Trail Rehabilitation Begins...
Abrams Falls Trail Rehabilitation Begins. National Park officials announced that a Trails Forever rehabilitation project in Cades Cove will[Read More >>]
Greenbrier Open To Public
Greenbrier Open To Public...
Greenbrier Open To Public. Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers announced the Greenbrier area of GSMNP reopened to all pub[Read More >>]
Rainbow Falls Trail Closed for Bridge Replacement
Rainbow Falls Trail Closed for Bridge Replacement...
Rainbow Falls Trail Closed for Bridge Replacement.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will temporarily close Rainbow Falls Trai[Read More >>]