It’s all about the curves. The picturesque, twisty and winding paved kind, that is, 318 of them. These curves wind their way up and over the mountains of Tennessee into North Carolina backed by the scenic view of the Great Smoky Mountain National Forest. Can you imagine yourself right now on your own motorcycle – knees partially touching the pavement and bike angled just so? Then you got to try out the Tail of the Dragon.
This two-lane section of US Hwy 129, named from its curves resembling the back or the tail of a dragon, is an internationally famous destination for motorcycle riders of all kinds. With its 11-mile stretch of curved, paved roads, no intersections and forest backdrop, it’s a biker’s dream ride. And the Graham County travel and tourism bureau and its residents know it. With the Dragon’s draw, motorcyclists will find other attractions to make a full vacation out of this exceptional ride, including scenic overlooks the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort and Deals Gap Motorcycle Store. Not to mention that you also get a view of the Cheoah Dam where Harrison Ford jumped in the movie The Fugitive.
Your trip on the Tail of the Dragon begins on the North Carolina side at Fugitive Bridge (hence the movie’s name) and ends 14 miles across the mountain at the Tabcat Creek Bridge in Tennessee. Test drive the curves of US 129 as it climbs the mountain and then straightens into another series of curves at Deals Gap, North Carolina. Visualize it now by taking a virtual test drive of the Dragon on You Tube™.
When you’re leaning into Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Killboy (formerly Shade Tree) Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner’s End and Brake or Bust Bend, remember to watch the old speedometer. The speed limit on the Tail of the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; however, the limit was reduced a number of times until 2005 when a speed limit of 30 mph was set. At least keep it under 50, we heard that’s the magic number to get yourself a ticket to the county jail and another vacation back to the Dragon for court.
So take the ride that motorcycle magazines and riders vote the number one motorcycle road in the United States – the Tail of the Dragon. And hug those curves and grab those pictures on your own motorcycle. Not enough time to ride to North Carolina? Take advantage of motorcycle shipping with HaulBikes – the shippers that motorcycle manufacturers and dealers have trusted to ship their bikes.
Catch the fall colors in autumn or beat the spring and summer crowd, and try the Dragon in the off season. Your cycle will be ready to ride – battery connected and fluids intact when you ship with HaulBikes, so grab the computer or phone to contact HaulBikes and then grab your motorcycle and hit the curves.