Each June, in the protected canopy of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a natural phenomenon occurs in East Tennessee, charming guests and baffling scientists.
It is a two week window in June where thousands of fireflies blink in synchronized fashion near the Elkmont campground. The flashing is actually a mating ritual unique to this species of fireflies. The males will fly and flash and the females, remaining stationary, will respond with a flash.
Unique to the Smokies and Thailand, very few people were aware of the event before the 1990's. Today, this amazing show of simultaneous bioluminescence continues to bring visitors to the Smokies year after year. There is really nothing quite like it.
As in recent years, in order to control the crowds, the park will close the road to Elkmont (except to registered campers staying at Elkmont), and a trolley service from the Sugarlands Visitor Center will be provided for those wishing to see the fireflies in action.
Trolleys will run between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont on June 6-14 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (but will end earlier in the evening if the parking lot fills up). The last trolley back to the Visitor Center will leave Elkmont at 11:00 p.m.
Tennessee Vacation eGuide
The 2016 eGuide gives you instant access to Tennessee’s irresistible attractions and destinations. Peruse venues online, then put in your order to get a free guide delivered to your doorstep.