Synchronous Fireflies Smoky Mountains
There are so many natural wonders in The Great Smoky Mountains, but none can compare to the Synchronous Fireflies. Each year, during a few weeks in the early summer, many fireflies gather together to create a mesmerizing light show that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We have gathered up all the information about what you need to know about this wonderful light display. We have included everything you need to know about how to witness this event and what it will look like.
What Are Synchronous Fireflies?
Synchronous fireflies are one of the 19 species of fireflies that live in the Smokies. But what makes these fireflies special is that synchronous fireflies are one of the few species that synchronize their flash patterns.
Synchronous fireflies’ flashes are part of their seasonal mating display. The males will flash first when they are flying and the females will flash in response.
The flashes’ pattern starts with 5-8 flashes and is followed by a pause of 8 seconds and then repeats. The flashes might appear to be random, but the pause is synchronized. As more male fireflies begin to appear, the flashing will also become synchronized.
These displays can also be affected by environmental factors. The display will not happen that night if it is raining heavily or if there are cool temperatures (below 50º Fahrenheit).
Where can I see synchronous fireflies in the Smoky Mountains?
You can witness the display in Elkmont Campground, specifically in the Jakes Creek and Little River trails, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
What time of year are the synchronous fireflies in the Smoky Mountains?
The firefly viewing usually takes place in the early summer, usually around late May to early June. The display usually lasts 2-3 weeks a year.
Synchronous Fireflies 2023 Dates
The viewing dates for the Synchronous Fireflies in 2023 is June 4 – June 11, 2023.
Synchronous Fireflies 2023 Lottery
The National Park limits the number of vehicle access. To be able to witness this event you will need to get a parking pass via lottery.
The lottery for these passes opens at 10:00 am on April 28, 2023 and closes at 8:00 pm on May 1, 2023. On May 11, 2023, lottery applicants will be notified if they were awarded a pass or not.
During the lottery application, you will be asked to choose two dates. Which includes a preferred date and an alternate date. You can only go to the event on the day listed on your parking pass. Also, only one application per household is allowed.
All lottery applicants will be charged a $1.00 application fee. If you are lucky enough to receive a parking pass, you will be charged $24.00 for the parking pass to the same credit or debit card that you used for the application fee.
What The Event Will Look Like
You will need to check in at the Elkmont viewing area on the day that is on your parking pass sometime between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. No late arrivals will be allowed in after 8:15 p.m. Also, if you leave the viewing area, you will not be able to re-enter.
The directions to the viewing area is as follows:
First, from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, travel 1.7 miles south on US Hwy 441, then take a right onto Fighting Creek Gap Road at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Next, travel 4.9 miles west, then turn left onto Elkmont Campground Road and then travel 1.5 miles to the intersection near the Campground kiosk. This intersection (Elkmont Rd and Little River Rd) is where you need to check in for the night.
The display itself will start once it gets dark (around 8:00 to 8:30). We recommend bringing your own lawn chairs to sit on while you wait and during the display.
Synchronous Fireflies In The Smoky Mountains
Whether you have seen it multiple times or haven’t seen it before, the Synchronous Fireflies are truly a magical light show.
We hope that you will have an amazing experience witnessing the wonderful display that the Synchronous Fireflies put on in The Great Smoky Mountains.
Great Smoky Mountain Guides
Check out our Great Smoky Mountain Guides for more tips and tricks for your trip.
- Best Campgrounds In The Great Smoky Mountains, TN
- Cades Cove Guide
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park Guide
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