Smokies announces synchronous firefly viewing dates, lottery

April 27, 2022 GMT

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The annual lottery to view the synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park opens on Friday.

Every year in late May to early June, thousands of visitors gather near the Elkmont Campground to observe the Photinus carolinus, a firefly species that flashes synchronously. Since 2006, access to the area has been limited during the eight days of predicted peak activity in order to reduce congestion and minimize the disturbance to the fireflies during their peak mating period.

This year, park scientists predict that period will be June 3-June 10, according to a park news release. Those wishing for a vehicle pass can enter the lottery by visiting www.recreation.gov and searching for “Great Smoky Mountains Firefly Viewing Lottery.” A total of 800 vehicle passes, 100 passes per night, will be issued.

All lottery applicants will be charged a $1 application fee. Successful applicants will automatically be awarded parking passes and charged a $24 reservation fee.