The Great Smoky Mountains are full of awe-inspiring feats of nature. From towering mountains to rare salamanders, hundreds of types of flowers and everything in between, the Smoky Mountains are surely nothing short of amazing. However, once a year the mountains turn truly incredible…
This wonder of nature can only be seen two places in the world – the other located way in Southeast Asia. The incredible synchronous firefly gathering occurs during a two-week period from late May to mid-June. The synchronous fireflies are one of nineteen species of fireflies in the National Park, characterized by their greenish-yellow glow when darkness falls.
The fireflies lighting display is a part of their mating ritual – in fact, each species of firefly has a distinct pattern that helps the mates recognize one another! The fireflies in the National Park shine brightly together to create a one of a kind light display that you cannot find anywhere else in North America.
Scientists aren’t sure why the fireflies synchronize the way that they do, however, the display has been a treat for Smoky Mountain visitors for decades. The season begins slowly, with only a few insects flashing, then, as the season progresses, the number of flashing insects grows more and more, until the entire valley is filled with tiny glowing bugs, all flashing in unison!
There are a few etiquette rules you should follow when attending this light show, both to please the fireflies and the visitors around you. Most importantly, cover your flashlight with red or blue cellophane to avoid disrupting the show. Use the flash light as minimally as possible and shut it off once you reach your prime viewing location. Don’t catch the fireflies and, as always, pick up after yourself!
For the best viewing, reserve your parking pass at the Sugarlands Visitors Center to Elkmont. Shuttles at the center will transport you to the best viewing location – the shuttles will run from June 6-13, 2013. Passes go quickly, so snag yours today and get ready for one of the most awe inspiring nature shows in the country!