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While there are plenty of firefly species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the synchronous fireflies event in Elkmont (also known as lightning bugs) are definitely the most entertaining at this time of year for Elkmont Fireflies. Each year, in early June, these fireflies synchronize their flashing lights as part of their mating ritual. The Elkmont fireflies viewing area is the best place for visitors to see the spectacular flashing lights.
(Be sure you don’t miss >> New for 2016: Synchronous Elkmont Fireflies Event in the Smoky Mountains )
2016 Synchronous Fireflies at Elkmont Event Dates
The event dates have not yet been announced for the 2016 season. This year, the National Park Service will announce the 8-day event dates on April 26, 2016.
In previous years, tickets have gone on sale and sold out in seconds for the Elkmont fireflies event. This year, the National Park Service has implemented a lottery system to determine which visitors will be awarded parking passes for the event.
About the Lottery System
There will be a 3-day period open for visitors to apply to receive a parking pass. All entries will be accepted from Friday, April 29, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. until Monday, May 2, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
All of the entries will be entered into the randomized lottery system. During the application process, you will apply for a regular pass or a large-vehicle pass. You will also choose 2 possible dates that you will be able to attend over the 8-day event period.
On May 10, the lottery system will randomly select the number of visitors to attend each day of the event. All applicants will be notified as “successful” or “unsuccessful” when the passes are awarded.
How Much Does It Cost?
- There is no fee to apply for the lottery this year. Applicants who are awarded a parking pass will be charged $1.50 registration fee.
- Parking passes are non-refundable, non-transferable, and good only for the individual issue date.
- There is a limit of one lottery application per household per season.
The parking pass covers parking at Sugarlands Visitor Center as well as the shuttle from the parking area to the Elkmont viewing area.
How to Apply for a Parking Pass for 2016 Synchronous Fireflies at Elkmont
Between Friday, April 29, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. until Monday, May 2, 2016 at 8:00 p.m., visit http://www.recreation.gov/ for all official details, including the application. Applications can also be completed over the phone by calling park officials at 1-877-444-6777, but everyone is encouraged to use the online application process.
What to Know Before You See the Synchronized Elkmont Fireflies in the Smoky Mountains
- Remember that you will be outside, so you may want to pack a blanket or small chair to be the most comfortable at the viewing area to see the fireflies at Elkmont.
- You may pack a flashlight, but we recommend covering the flashlight with blue or red cellophane, so it shines a little less bright. This way, you don’t disturb the fireflies while you are walking around the area.
Are you looking for other events in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? Check out our events calendar where you can see all of the things happening in the Great Smoky Mountains.