Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Dates for World-Famous Synchronous Firefly Display

One of Mother Nature’s most incredible shows is back!

After last year’s cancelation due the coronavirus pandemic, the lottery to see the synchronous fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park perform their annual spectacle has returned, albeit with modified programming.


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This week, the park announced its plan to welcome back visitors to see thousands of fireflies flash in unison with a limited viewing event scheduled to take place at Elkmont between Tuesday, June 1 and Tuesday, June 8.

A total of 800 vehicle passes—100 passes per night—will be issued through the lottery process. You can apply for a limited viewing opportunity by entering a lottery for a vehicle pass through

“I’m pleased that we’re able to once again offer an opportunity for visitors to experience synchronous fireflies at Elkmont in a safe manner,” Superintendent Cassius Cash said in a statement. “Last year, we canceled the viewing opportunity due to concerns about using shuttle operations during the pandemic. Our staff worked hard to develop a new operational plan that allows limited parking for passenger vehicles directly at the site for 2021.” 

WATCH: Annual Viewing of Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Famous Synchronous Fireflies Goes Virtual

The Photinus carolinus, also known as Elkmont fireflies, is one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each year, typically in the spring, the fireflies put on a synchronous light display in order to find a mate. They are only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.

Have this experience on your bucket list? This year’s application lottery opens on Friday, April 30 at 10:00 a.m. and closes on Monday, May 3 at 11:59 p.m.

All lottery applicants will be charged a $1.00 application fee. Successful applicants will automatically be awarded parking passes and charged a $24.00 reservation fee.

We have a feeling passes will go fast, so don’t delay!

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