Aug 8, 2023
1 0

Tail of the Dragon: 318 Twists and Turns of Pure Driving Excitement

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

The Tail of the Dragon is a 11-mile stretch of US Route 129 in the Great Smoky Mountains, on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. It is known for its 318 curves in 11 miles, making it one of the most challenging and exciting roads in the United States. Despite its dangers, the Tail of the Dragon is a popular and exciting road for motorcyclists and sports car drivers. If you are looking for a challenge and a scenic drive, the Tail of the Dragon is definitely worth a visit. The road is also known as Deals Gap, after the nearby community of Deals Gap, North Carolina. The road has been featured in several movies and television shows, including Thunder Road (1958), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), and The Fugitive (1993).

Distance11 miles (17.7 km)
RoadUS Route 129
Curves318
TimeDay Trip
LocationNorth Carolina and Tennessee
Road EndsSouth End - Chiefland, FL / North End - Knoxville, TN

Tail of the Dragon twist aerial view

Where is Tail of the Dragon?

Tail of the Dragon it’s located near the town of Deals Gap, North Carolina. The road is also known as Tapoco Road in North Carolina and Calderwood Highway in Tennessee.

Tail of the Dragon map and location

Driving Tail of the Dragon

The Tail of the Dragon is a challenging and exciting road to ride and drive, but it is also dangerous. Law enforcement presence on the Tennessee portion has dramatically increased since 2007. More tha 50 traffic fatalities were recorded on this stretch of road from 2000 to 2022. Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe:

Tail of the Dragon aerial view

  • Stay in your lane. The center lines on the Dragon are often slick, and there are many blind curves and hillocks that make it easy to drift into oncoming traffic. Keep as close to the white line as possible.
  • Drive slowly and carefully, especially around the curves and be aware of other drivers, and be prepared to yield the right of way.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road. Be prepared to react to anything that happens.
  • The Dragon is located in a forest, and there are often deer, wild pigs, and bears crossing the road. Be on the lookout for wildlife and be prepared to brake.
  • Do not pull over on the side of the road. If you want to take a break or take a picture, use the designated pullouts along the Dragon.
  • The speed limit on the Dragon was reduced to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 2005. Going faster than the speed limit is dangerous and can increase your chances of getting into an accident.
  • Tailgating is dangerous, do’t do it. It can increase your chances of getting into an accident. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
  •  Before you ride the Dragon plan your route and take a look at a map of the route so you know what to expect. This will help you stay focused and avoid surprises. Also, the road is often closed for special events, such as the annual Tail of the Dragon Motorcycle Rally.
  • If you are not an experienced rider, it is best to take it slow or ride with someone who is. The Dragon is a technical road with many tight curves.
  • Drive during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the traffic is lighter. Also, be prepared for bad weather. The weather in the mountains can change quickly.
  • Be sure to wear protective gear, such as a helmet, jacket, gloves, and eye protection, if you are riding a motorcycle.

Tail of the Dragon history

Tail of the Dragon curves

The Tail of the Dragon was originally built in the 1930s as a logging road. It was later paved in the 1950s and opened to the public. The road quickly became popular with motorcyclists and sports car drivers, who were drawn to its challenging curves and scenic views. In 1990, the Tail of the Dragon was designated as a National Scenic Byway. It is now a popular tourist destination, and is often featured in motorcycle and sports car magazines and websites.

Spanish version: La Cola del Dragón, Tennessee

Location:
North America · USA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *