Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — One of nature's greatest light shows will soon return to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
The synchronous fireflies at Elkmont draw in thousands of people from across the country each year around late May and early June hoping to catch the rare and short-lived natural event. As their name suggests, these fireflies are able to synchronize their flashing light patterns, which allows them to put on a special bioluminescent light show.
This year, the park is hosting the annual firefly viewing during the anticipated peak of activity from Friday, June 3 through Friday, June 10.
If you'd like to see the fireflies, you'll need a special $24 parking permit that can be obtained through a lottery system, which costs $1 to enter. The park will open the lottery at this link on Friday, April 29 at 10 a.m. through Tuesday, May 3 at 10 a.m.
The lottery system was designed to minimize disturbances to the fireflies during the peak of their mating season after the natural event grew in popularity. A total of 800 vehicle passes -- 100 each night -- will be issued. The results of the lottery will be announced on Friday, May 13 through email, at which point the winners will be charged a $24 reservation fee for the pass.
Each pass is good for up to seven vehicle passengers and covers the costs of holding the firefly viewing. The parking passes will let visitors park directly at the Elkmont viewing location.
During the viewing period, vehicle access to Elkmont will be restricted after 4 p.m. to just those with parking passes, registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground, and backcountry campers with a valid permit. The park said visitors will not be allowed to walk or ride bicycles on the Elkmont entrance road or Jakes Creek Road after 4 p.m. due to safety concerns.