“Tail of the Dragon”, otherwise known as Deals Gap, is a popular and world-renowned destination for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts.
The 11-mile (18 km) stretch of the two-lane road in Tennessee has 318 curves, including Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End, and Brake or Bust Bend.
The road earned its name from its curves being said to resemble a dragon. The stretch bears the street name "Tapoco Road" in North Carolina and "Calderwood Highway" in Tennessee.
To those coming from the North Carolina side, the Dragon begins at Fugitive Bridge with a view of the Cheoah Dam. It ends 14 miles (22.5 km) across the mountain at the Tabcat Creek Bridge in Tennessee.
April through October is the peak time for motorcyclists and drivers to ride the Dragon. We recommend avoiding the winter months as it’s unpredictable and can make the drive very dangerous.
Since the Dragon gets more crowded during the afternoon (especially on weekends), plan to start early. And if you’re traveling by motorcycle, don’t forget your helmet—they’re required for both drivers and passengers in North Carolina and Tennessee.
It takes about 30 minutes to drive the Dragon’s 11 exhilarating miles.