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Great Smoky Mountains Synchronous Fireflies

One of the most exciting natural events in the Smokies.

Elkmont Viewing Dates: Coming Soon

Every year in late May to early June, thousands of visitors gather near the popular Elkmont Campground to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of a firefly species that flashes synchronously. Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and are one of only a couple species in North America whose individuals are known to synchronize their flashing light patterns. Since 2006, access to the Elkmont area has been limited in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 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 peak mating period. 

© Firefly Experience - Radim Schreiber
Photography by © Firefly Experience


All lottery applicants will be notified by email if their application was SUCCESSFUL (and are awarded vehicle parking confirmation ) or UNSUCCESSFUL (and were not awarded vehicle parking confirmation).

Successful applicants will automatically be awarded parking passes and a $24.00 reservation fee will be charged to the same credit/debit card used for the application fee. The $24.00 reservation fee covers the cost of awarding the passes, on-site portable restrooms, supplies, and nightly personnel costs for managing the viewing opportunity at Elkmont. Parking passes are non-refundable, non-transferable, and good only for the date issued.   

Media Access: To obtain media access for the firefly viewing opportunity, please contact Ashley Courtney at or 828-506-0637.   

Film Permit Access: To obtain a filming permit, please contact Jamie Sanders at or 865-436-1296.