Monarch Tagging and Butterfly Identification

Who doesn’t love running around in a sunny field with a butterfly net? Monarchs migrate en masse to Mexico every year for the winter, and we would like to learn more about their migration and population status by tagging them. Tremont volunteers have been tagging monarch butterflies in Cade’s Cove for many years. Participants also catch and identify other butterfly and insect species.

Age Group: Any age. Children under 18 need an adult guardian in attendance.

Seasonality: Annually, we tag monarchs on several dates in September and October.

2020 Monarch Tagging Dates

Our monarch tagging program is pending recommendations by the CDC and trends in the coronavirus epidemic.

As with previous years, 2020 monarch tagging dates will be published by late August. stay tuned!


We are currently are not accepting sign-ups for monarch tagging. Stay tuned!


These fun days in the field are free, but they do come at a cost.  We invite you to contribute as much or as little as you like to our monarch tagging program.  You can bring your donation with you on your tagging day, or you can simply visit the link below to donate online. Please write ‘Monarch tagging program’ in the comments section.

Scheduling Private Groups:

Do you have an organized group of people that you would like to take out monarch-tagging?  A ‘group’ could be defined as a scout troop, a home-school cooperative, a special school group, a birthday party, a business retreat, or even a group of friends and family.  With our group reservation program, you have a special opportunity to reserve a day for your group of up to 25 people (minimum 10 people).  For just $18 per person including adults, you can reserve this memorable day.  If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Erin at to schedule a date and receive registration details.  These dates are separate from the ones listed below.

Where and when do we meet?

10:15 am at the visitor information shelter at the beginning of the Cades Cove driving loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We usually caravan to the fields.  We’ll typically be out for 2-4 hours, ending around 1:30 or 2pm (or later if the weather is nice).  

What to wear:
Field clothing, especially long pants, and hard, protective shoes.

What to bring:
Please bring your signed Tremont and NPS waiver forms if you haven’t already sent them back to Juli by your tagging date.
Plenty of water
Lunch and snacks
Sun screen and a hat for protection from the sun

What to bring if you want:
A butterfly net with a big hoop if you have one (don’t go buy one – we provide these)
Camera, Binoculars
Butterfly Field Guides
Bird and Wildflower Field Guides