A Thrilling Motorcycle Ride in the Smokies
As you take the first curve of The Tail of the Dragon, brace yourself for a ride that will send you through many more twists and turns as there are a whopping 318 turns on the 11 mile journey up to the top of this mountain road. Considered by many to be one of the world's foremost roads for motorcycle and sports car enthusiast, this stretch of US129 is a beast to be reckoned with - hence the name.
So, do you have what it takes to slay the dragon?
One of the Most Popular Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rides
There's no doubting why the Tail of the Dragon is so popular among cyclists and sports car drivers - it's like a raceway in the mountains. While enjoying a scenic ride from 411, these road sneaks up like a beast in a cave. There is no official start sign on the Tennessee side of the Tail, only a simple street sign that states of "Curves Next 11 Miles."
Make no mistake, the Tail of the Dragon is a challenging road and is always a real adventure. The curves of this route definitely live up to their hype, and there is every conceivable type of turn to test out your ride on this route.You may encounter some visitors on the road, including deer, turkeys, wild boars, and even bears! As with any roadway, inclement weather such as rain, ice, or snow makes the already challenging course more dangerous. Wrecks often create obstacles for riders and serve as warnings for rides. This road is definitely not for the squeamish, but provides excitement and adventure for those adrenaline junkies. Additionally, a ride down this thrilling road offers year-round scenic beauty (or what you can catch of it as whiz past the trees on your bike).
Riders often look back at their battle with the beast with a satisfied smile after enjoying curve after curve after curve and coming out with all four limbs still intact.
A Word of Warning about the Tail of the Dragon Road
Before heading out on this road, remember the Tail of the Dragon is one of the most exciting, yet dangerous Smoky Mountain motorcycle rides. While we all know that some people enjoy the adrenaline rush of this curve-filled road, there's no reason to simply laugh in the face of clear dangers.
To enjoy the thrills of this roadway safely, realize that majority of people around you on the road are trying to push the limits of their machines and their skills as well. Think of a crowded racetrack in the hills of East Tennessee. While thrilling, this is one of a the top Smoky Mountain motorcycle rides, and many cyclists try to take things to an extreme on the road.
Understand that beyond being a thrilling adventure, this is first and foremost a public road (not, unfortunately, your private joyride). There is car and truck traffic on this road. Additionally, not all traffic "minds the line" on this road way. There's little room for error on this road and no time to correct any mistakes. So, to enjoy this road safely, monitor your speed to make sure you're not getting too carried away with all the fun.
After all, who wants their bike to end up on the Tail of the Dragon's Tree of Shame? This tree serves as a warning for all those who pushed their machines, skills, and nerves too far.
Grub and Fun Around the Tail of the Dragon
Guests can enjoy delicious food on the North Carolina side of the the Tail of the Dragon at the Dragon's Den Pub in Deals Gap, which serves breakfast, BBQ sandwiches, and a special dragon burger. Additionally, there's a gift shop that offers t-shirts and other souvenirs to commemorate your daring ride.
The Tail of the Dragon is definitely a driving experience to be had. With tons of turn on well-maintained road with plentiful pullouts, this road makes this for one of the best Smoky Mountain motorcycle rides for experienced drivers.
Written by Brittany Tipton