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Synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains?!? WHAT??!!

Yes, you read that right. Synchronous! Photinus Carolinus, the only species in America that can synchronize their flashing light patterns and YOU can see them right here in our very own Great Smoky Mountains! This mesmerizing phenomenon happens only two weeks out of the year, with peak being usually end of May to mid-June. Their light patterns are part of their mating display, as each species of firefly has a characteristic light pattern in assisting with how they recognize each other. Males of this species fly & flash, while the females remain stationary & respond back with a flash. They also may flash in waves across hillsides. Synchrony occurs in short bursts that end with abrupt periods of darkness before the flashing ritual begins again.

It’s attracted so many visitors that in 2006 the National Park essentially shut down the area to open visitation and set up a lottery in order to limit disruption of the fireflies and their viewing area. The quality of the nightly light displays can be affected by environmental factors, as well as, man-made factors. This lottery assists in limiting the number of visitors to this specific area at one time and also requires you to park at a designated site where the park service shuttles you to the viewing area. The lottery will open this year at the end of April. Winners will be selected in May.  

Light Show Etiquette:
Flashlights disrupt the fireflies and impair people's night vision. The light show is best when you:

• Cover your flashlight with red or blue cellophane.
• Use your flashlight only when walking to your viewing spot.
• Point your flashlight at the ground.
• Turn off your flashlight when you find your viewing spot.

You can also help protect the fireflies and their habitat:

• Do not catch the fireflies.
• Stay on the trail at all times.
• Pack out all of your garbage.

Where to stay when viewing this Synchronous Fireflies

If you're planning a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains to view the synchronous fireplaces, we offer a fabulous selection of the beautiful cabins located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our Smoky Mountain cabins are convenient to the most popular destinations in the park and offer you all of the comforts of home plus many added amenities and features that will certainly make for an unforgettable vacation getaway.