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Are you wondering when you can view Synchronized Fireflies In The Smoky Mountains?

The 2023 dates for the official Smoky Mountains National Park synchronous fireflies event will be announced April 25, 2023

How Do I Get Tickets For Synchronous Fireflies In The Smoky Mountains?
The lottery period for the 2023 synchronous fireflies official park passes opens on Friday, April 28 at 10:00 AM and closes Monday, May 1 at 8:00 PM.

Once the passes go on sale, you will be able to purchase them from Recreation.gov. For each of the seven evenings, there are 111 advance parking passes (first-come, first-serve) and 36 large vehicle passes (first-come, first-serve).

Each  lottery applicant will receive a notification on whether a vehicle pass will be awarded on Thursday, May 11, 2023. If you are selected, you will be charged a $25.00 (per vehicle) fee for the pass by Recreation.gov and an additional $2 (cash only) fee per person while boarding the round-trip shuttle to the viewing area.

Each and every year in the Smoky Mountains, for a magical few nights in June, something spectacular happens.  One of the 19 species of fireflies in our spectacular park, the Photinus carolinus, synchronize their flashing pattern.   These synchronized fireflies are a true sight to behold and worth attempting to see. Read this post to see how your family can get the chance to see this spectacular natural light show.


Since you’ll be outdoors anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, you’re going to want to make sure to be comfortable.  It’s recommended you bring a blanket or some chairs to sit on during the viewing period. Also, because white lights can interrupt the flash patterns of the synchronized fireflies, the park service does require your headlamp or flashlight to have a red or blue setting.  A flashlight covered with red or blue cellophane is also acceptable.

Make sure to also pack water and snacks, as well as rain ponchos.

This dramatic natural fireworks display is definitely an experience you’ll always remember.  However, in June you can experience a wide variety of weather.


While the exact dates for 2023 haven’t been announced yet, the event typically occurs over the last week of May or first week of June.  Folks entering the lottery are allowed to choose two nights that work best for their schedule. On nights where the temperature is below 50 degrees, it’s possible there won’t be much to see.  On nights where there has been rain or fog during the day, it’s also possible the light show will be less dramatic or absent altogether.

Taking bug spray is recommended, especially if you’ve got little ones.  Since the event won’t get you back to your car until after 9:30 p.m., eating dinner beforehand and bringing snacks along is also recommended.


If you weren’t able to win a pass through the lottery system, you still have a chance.  Plan to visit three days before and after the event and you may be surprised. Because there’s never an exact date these lightning bugs will flash, you never know what you’re going to see.

There are also reports of synchronized fireflies elsewhere in the Smoky Mountains.  The magic formula is to try and find a place around the same elevation as Elkmont that is also near the water.  Synchronized fireflies have also been reported in Cades Cove, along Little River, and even in the vicinity of the Mt. LeConte Trailheads just outside of Gatlinburg.  You never know what you might see if you venture out into the forest at night. While you may not see the famous fireflies, the Smokies boast more than 19 species of fireflies, including the famous blue ghost firefly!


After spending an exciting evening in the Smoky Mountains National Park, you’re going to want a cozy place to stay.  Book yourself a Gatlinburg Cabin with a hot tub so you’ll have the perfect place to unwind under the stars.  Be sure you check out all our amazing featured deals so you can get the best price for your synchronized firefly vacation.

Planning a trip to be in the Smoky Mountains?  Let us help with these useful vacation guides! Insider tips to help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountain vacation.

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