Amazing Motorcycle Destinations: Tail of the Dragon
It is no secret that Deals Gap, North Carolina is the location of the many great places to explore on your two wheels. If you are unfamiliar with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park then you are lucky because I will tell you what is so amazing about it.
In the eastern part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will find the Tail of the Dragon. A two-lane stretch road is known as Tapaco Road (US 129) in North Carolina and Calderwood Highway on the Tennessee side. It consists of 318 curves over a stretch of 11 miles. The road borders both the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, and motorcyclists love it because there are no interrupting intersections among the winding road. With names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End, and Brake or Bust Bend, many of the 300 plus curves and sections on the Tail of the Dragon are well known. It has also been featured in many US movies such as Top Gear, The Fugitive, and Thunder Rod as well as others.
Drivers should use extreme caution when riding Tail of the Dragon and should follow precautions to make sure they slay the dragons safely. Adhere to the speed limit of 30mph in order to maintain safety as well as avoiding the numerous speed traps!). There has been an average of about 2 deaths each year, as well as many other accidents so be sure to watch the road while enjoying the beauty around. Furthermore, be aware and alert of wildlife animals such as bears, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, and deer who feel the need to share the road. Interestingly The Great Smoky Mountains has the largest population of black bears in the world, numbering over 1500.
Are you ready to negotiate the curves? Be cautious for a safe trip: Stay in your lane always, avoid the painted lines especially when the pavement is damp as it is extremely slippery, hug the fog line in your lane to avoid trucks and trailers, brake easy and be alert especially for wildlife crossing the road (as well as those who died on the side of the road in unsuccessful attempts). Make several runs, make the first one carefully, and have fun on the second and third runs.
Be sure to list Tail of the Dragon as one of your bucket lists and be fully prepared before your exploration.
GPS and STREET ADDRESS
The intersection of US129 & NC28 one mile south of the TN/NC state line
Street address 17555 Tapoco Road, Robbinsville, NC 28771
NOTE: Using street address does not always produce the correct results. Also search for the intersection of US129 and NC28.