This weekend I finally made it to the Elkmont Synchronous Firefly Show. In case you aren’t familiar, every June a rare species of fireflies synchronize their blinking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park near Gatlinburg, filling the sky with millions of tiny lights.
Since the light show didn’t start til sundown, we spent the day enjoying Gatlinburg. What a cute little town!
We started out at the famous Pankcake Pantry, and boy was it delicious!
After breakfast, we took a ride on the Gatlinburg Skylift. It was such a relaxing way to enjoy the gorgeous view of the city.
The view from the top was pretty amazing too…
While the boyfriennd and I were reading and enjoying the view, we were surprised by a little visitor…a ground hog. He darted under our table, and I jumped up on the bench and started screaming, not sure what to expect.
Turns out there was no need for alarm though. Apparently he was a local “pet” of sorts named Crackers who visits each day to beg visitors for food. He kept us all entertained for quite some time.
And in case you were wondering, ground hogs DO eat ice cream cones.
After the skylift, the boyfriend and I headed into the Great Smoky Mountain National park to do some hiking up to Laurel Falls. So pretty.
And again, more beautiful views from here as well…
Finally after a long day of exploring, it was time to see the fireflies. I have to say it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Sitting in the pitch black forest, we were surrounded by millions of blinking lights. It was spectacular. And now I can finally mark it off my 101 List (#11 - See the Elkmont Synchronous Fireflies).
Photo from “Inside Gatlinburg.”
If you ever get a chance to see it yourself, I highly recommend going. This year it runs through June 12, so there’s still time! And since finding info about it online is almost impossible, I’ll leave you with a few tips:
- In order to go to the firefly viewing area, you must be parked in the Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Once the lot is full, you’ll be turned away. Be sure and get there early. I’d say by 3pm at the latest.
- To be on the safe side, you could park here in the morning and take the tan line trolley into Gatlinburg to kill time til evening. It runs every 1 1/2 hours. (Click here for schedule.)
- The trolleys for the firefly show will start leaving from the parking lot around 7pm.
- Be sure to bring a flashlight. They’ll give you red cellophane to cover it with at the firefly viewing area.
- Bring a jacket or a blanket. It gets cold after sunset.
- I’d recommend sitting just off the main pathway inside the woods. It’ll be darkest inside the tree line allowing you to see the fireflies better.
- Be aware that it’s going to take awhile to catch a trolley back down to your car. We packed up to leave at 10pm and stood in line for a trolley until 11:45pm.
- To find out when the firefly festival will take place each year, start googling “Smoky Mountain Synchronous Fireflies” in May for the announced dates.