Each June in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains, a natural phenomenon occurs that continues to baffle scientists.
During a two week window in late spring, thousands of lightning bugs flash in complete unison.
The synchronous firefly show, which researchers have identified as a rare form of “simultaneous bioluminescence”, is a popular and growing attraction for the Smoky Mountains. Each evening, several hundred park visitors begin arriving in Elmont with blankets, chairs and flashlights to witness the natural phenomenon that occurs after the park becomes pitch black.
If you would like to see this incredible show, you should be aware that the park closes the road to Elkmont. The only way to access the area is by using the trolley service provided by the park from the Sugarlands Visitor Center beginning on Saturday, June 5th, through the following Sunday night, June 13th.
Additional details from Park Officials:
The Elkmont entrance road will be closed to motor vehicles and pedestrian use every night from 5:00 p.m. until midnight, June 5-13, except to registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground.
The trolleys will begin picking up visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center RV/bus parking area at 7 p.m. this year. The trolleys will run continually until the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking area is full, or until 9 p.m., whichever comes first. The last trolley to return visitors from Elkmont to the Sugarlands Visitor Center is scheduled at 11 p.m. The cost will be $1 round trip per person as in previous years.
It's recommended that visitors bring flashlights with red cellophane covers to reduce white light. Visitors can bring lawn chairs, and carry food and water in backpacks which can fit on their laps in the trolleys. Please note that there are no services available at the site.
Visitors are prohibited from bringing coolers, alcoholic beverages, or their pets.
For more information about the synchronous fireflies, including a video, please click here.
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