Every year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fireflies come out to play around Elkmont. You can learn more about the synchronous fireflies, and the magic they bring, on the park website.
Traffic is limited so to see them at their peak (during their mating season), the Park offers a shuttle service to the viewing area to a limited number of guests. In 2017 it will be Tuesday, May 30 through Tuesday, June 6. You can get your parking pass and seat on the shuttle through the annual lottery that opens this Friday, April 28, 2017 at Noon.
The parking pass permits visitors to park at Sugarlands Visitor Center and allows occupants to access the shuttle service to Elkmont. If you are awarded a parking pass then you will also be assigned an arrival time to streamline traffic and to make shuttle boarding easier. The shuttle is the only way that you are able to get to the Elkmont area during the firefly season. You are not allowed to walk to the Elkmont entrance or drive into the area during this time, with the exception of registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground. The shuttle will begin running from the Visitor Center at 7 PM nightly (May 30 – June 6). It is $1.00 per person and you must have cash.
- April 28, 2017 – Lottery for vehicle passes opens at Noon (Eastern)
- May 1, 2017 – Lottery closes at 8 PM (Eastern)
- May 10, 2017 – All lottery applicants will be notified via email if they were or were not selected for a vehicle pass
**Apply for the Lottery Here**
There is no fee to enter the lottery this year. If selected, the lottery winner will be charged a $2.75 reservation fee and awarded a parking pass. Parking passes are non-refundable, non-transferable, and good only for the date issued. There is a limit of one lottery application per household per season.
Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GluehwuermchenImWald.jpg