What to Bring When Viewing the Elkmont Fireflies

Fireflies in the woods at nightIt’s almost that time of year again, to see the synchronized fireflies at Elkmont. Truly one of the natural wonders of the world, the Elkmont fireflies are one of two groups of synchronized fireflies in the world. The other group is in Southeast Asia. This year’s viewing of the Elkmont fireflies is expected June 6-13.



Visitors to the Elkmont fireflies are encouraged to park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and from there a trolley service with the city of Gatlinburg will escort you the Little River Trailhead at Elkmont. The trolley is the only car allowed near the viewing area, and the road at the entrance to Elkmont will be closed to through traffic except for registered campers begining at 5 p.m. each night.

When preparing to visit the Elkmont fireflies, be sure to call ahead to the Sugarland Visitors Center and reserve a parking pass in their parking lot. By reserving a space, you will make sure that you will have a place to park, and won’t have to turn around and try again another night. The roads leading up to the synchronized fireflies’ viewing areas will be closed off, and the only way up to the area is on the trolley. The trolley service costs $1 round trip per passenger.


What to Wear

Though limited, there is a chance of some walking to get a good view of the synchronized fireflies. Visitors may want to wear shoes with sturdy soles, and comfortable clothing. Remember you will be sitting on the ground outside. A light jacket is also suggested in case the weather is a little chilly when the sun goes down.


What to Carry

Staff with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park encourages guests to the Elkmont fireflies to bring their own flashlights with red or blue cellophane covers to reduce white light in the Elkmont fireflies viewing area. They suggest pointing the flashlights at the ground while walking to brighten the path, and to reduce distracting lights. They also encourage guests to bring small lawn chairs, blankets or towels to sit on. Guests to the Elkmont fireflies are permitted to bring light snacks and small backpacks as long as they fit in the visitor’s lap on the trolley. Park staff does prohibit guests from bringing coolers, alcoholic beverages and pets.


Other Reminders

Park Staff also wants to remind visitors to please take all trash with them as they leave the Elkmont fireflies’ viewing area. The Great Smoky Mountains is home to several different kinds of wildlife, and we don’t want to litter in their home. Another reminder is that there is no restroom or other services offered in the Elkmont fireflies viewing area. Please keep that in mind when planning your trip to see the synchronized fireflies.
Want to settle into one of our fully-equipped Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge cabins after your visit with the Elkmont fireflies? Check out our available Gatlinburg cabins listed on our website, or call us at 1-888-993-7655. Our staff is happy to assist you with any questions you may have while planning your Smoky Mountain vacation.

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