Where To See Synchronous Fireflies If You Don’t Have A Car Pass

The lottery for the synchronous fireflies display at Elkmont has come and gone. If you missed your chance to enter or were not awarded a pass, don't be too disappointed. While the park offers a limited number of passes to see the fireflies in this area, there are still chances to see the display in other areas of the park. Sightings are never guaranteed, but if you want to try your luck at finding a display of the flickering lights, you have plenty of options.

What Are Synchronous Fireflies?

There are 19 species of fireflies within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Synchronous fireflies are one of the most widely recognized, because they are one of few rare species that synchronize their flashing once a year. The flashing lights are a part of the firefly mating display. The light show can only be seen for a limited time each summer.

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where to see synchronous fireflies

Where To See Synchronous Fireflies

Elkmont has become the most widely recognized location to spot the synchronous firefly display. In recent years, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has created a lottery system to award car passes to visitors. Pay attention to the GSMNP website each year for the announcement of lottery dates. The lottery was created to control crowds and traffic but presents your best opportunity to see the synchronous firefly display.

where to see synchronous fireflies

Other Locations

If you've missed the lottery, or were not awarded a car pass, there are plenty of other places in the Smoky Mountains to test your luck. Wondering where to see synchronous fireflies this year? Visitors have reported sightings at the Abrams Falls trailhead, Cade's Cove, Chimney Tops and the parking lot of Rainbow Falls. Another option to consider is heading to Elkmont in the days before or after the park regulated viewing. While there is no guarantee that you will be able to spot the light display, there is always a chance they are early or will stick around.

While synchronous firefly sightings are not guaranteed, it is worth taking a chance and exploring the mountains to test your luck. Be sure to follow all park regulations and hours if you choose to search for them independently.