Low Cost Family Fun at Firefly Light Show in the Smokies

CouponKatie Events, Local Living 4 Comments


While I am always on the lookout for the best deals in Knoxville, sometimes you just have to get in your car and drive a little ways to get the most bang for your buck. For the cost of a tank of gas you will be able to entertain the family, enjoy the great outdoors and may just learn something about the Great Smoky Mountains in the process.

I have heard about the “Light Show” in the Smokies for many years, but this may be the year I finally get the chance to see it for myself.

For those of you that don’t know, there will be an organized viewing of the synchronous firefly display at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park June 6-14.

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

The synchronous fireflies don’t actually flash in unison. Rather, one or two males will flash, and this causes other males nearby to start flashing at random, and for a set period of time. The effect is stop-start sequence, with each burst of blinking light lasting about eight seconds. Synchronous fireflies – Photinus carolinus – occur in watersheds throughout the Smokies, not just at Elkmont. They like open areas in the forest, preferably near a water source. At Elkmont, they’re visible along the Little River Trail, and are especially conspicuous where meadows meet the dark backdrop of the forest…In addition to the synchronous fireflies, visitors will likely also see some blue ghosts – fireflies that don’t blink, but fly around with their blueish light stuck in the “on” position.

The Elkmont campground will be closed to visitors during certain times, but a trolley service provided by the town of Gatlinburg will shuttle visitors back and forth to Elkmont from the parking lot of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The cost for the trolley ride will be $1 round trip per person, and only those visitors parking at the Sugarlands Visitor Center will be allowed to ride the trolleys.

For more information of the specifics of the viewing and road closures, check out the Great Smoky Mountain’s website.

I am looking forward to packing a dinner for the family and taking in the Light Show next week.

If you have any tips on making this trip to the Smokies one to remember or if you are planning on attending, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Photo by: AJ WMS

Comments 4

  1. Having been in Knoxville 3+ years, we have also decided to make our first trip to see this phenomenon this year. I hope locals will leave their favorite tips on navigating and experiencing the event…

  2. I was so fortunate to witness this light show last year (when I took the photo above). It is SO worth the trip to Elkmont to experience it. YOU will not regret it. Just be sure you go pretty far up the trail to get deeper into the dark and see the biggest groupings.

  3. this is such a fun outing. We went last year with kids. strongly recommend bringing bug spray, something to sit on- either a folding chair or a blanket, and most importantly bring a flashlight. Plan to stay late into the night to see the whole show. It is fascinating.

  4. Pingback: The Weekendist: Not Quite Fireflies Edition | Nashvillest

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