Take a walk on the wilder side with The Tail of the Dragon. Designated US 129, the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. This amazing road is bookended by Chilhowee Lake and Fontana Lake.
This infamous Smoky Mountains, TN road is popular with bikers and sports car drivers and for good reason.
If you’re seeking adventure, this route is for you – there are 318 curves on this 11-mile stretch where The Dragon tests your driving abilities. It’s best to be cautious as the turns are tight, but the Tail of the Dragon is guaranteed to be the ride of your life. Remember to yield to those who are ready to drive a bit faster than you. The road has many pull offs where you can take a break and take in the scenery.
Some curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, and Brake or Bust Bend.
Even at low speeds, the blind curves, narrow roads, and weather conditions add up to create a lot of risks in any vehicle. While adrenaline junkies celebrate besting the Tail of the Dragon, many regret trying. Between 2000 and 2017, 37 deaths were recorded there.
There’s a tree at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort known as the “Tree of Shame.” Motorcyclists hang parts of their wrecked vehicles there as a warning to others.
Of course, The Dragon is more than just a winding adventure. There’s plenty to behold with the scenery, too.
The nearby Cherohala Skyway is quickly becoming a destination too, with its remote 60 miles of breathtaking scenic mountain highway. The area also has other incredible roads like the Moonshiner 28, Foothills Parkway, Smoky Mountain Loop, Devils Triangle, Blue Ridge Parkway, The Gambler NC209, Diamondback 226, Devil’s Staircase, Six Gap North Georgia, The Snake US421 and many Great Forest Service Dual Sport and Jeep Roads.
This road encompasses everything you’ve ever seen about scenic drives through America. It’s mother nature at her finest.
It’s in the Deals Gap mountain pass outside the Smoky Mountains. It will take you about 2 miles to get to the Tail of the Dragon from one of our Great Smoky Vacations cabins.