The Smoky Mountain Synchronous Fireflies event happens once a year and only in one other place on the planet, Southeast Asia. This year it will occur on June 5 and last through June 13. So unless you plan to hop a plane and fly down to Asia you’re not going to see something this amazing any where else. The fireflies that gather for the Elkmont Fireflies event are a rare species. These little fireflies seem to coordinate their blinking and they all eventually get in sync with the other fireflies around them. It begins a beautiful light show with thousands of fireflies lighting up at once and it can last up to 6 seconds but as soon as they get back into sync it starts again.
The fireflies will start their show around dusk (9:30pm). You’ll need to go to the Gatlinburg Sugarland’s Visitor Center to get on a trolley to make it to the Smoky Mountain Synchronous Fireflies location. Trolley rides are $1 per person round trip for this event. The trolleys will begin loading at 7pm and will run every 20-25 minutes. Getting there early would be in your best interest. People start pulling into the parking lot at 5pm to see this beautiful work of nature and once the parking lot fills they do not accept any more people. The trolley starts at the Little River Trailhead at Elkmont. The only way to see this event is by trolley or if you’re camping in Elkmont.
If you get to be in Gatlinburg for this event then count yourself lucky. Many people come to town to see this and it’s very popular. A few things you’ll need to have a more enjoyable time at this event is a blanket or small lawn chair. You’ll be glad you have a place to sit. Flashlights might be necessary to see the way but also put red cellophane over the light so it isn’t a bright white light. It’s a fun event and you’ll want pictures but don’t use a flash. You’ll mess up the synchronization (and people will get mad at you) and the pictures won’t turn out very well. If you want photos turn the flash off or video record it. Most of all have fun and be sure to tell many others about this event. Share the excitement of being there when the fireflies synchronize their blinking.