Tail Of The Dragon: 318 Curves In 11 Miles

Tail Of The Dragon: 318 Curves In 11 Miles

Tail of the Dragon is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road with 318 curves in 11 miles. Designated US 129, the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

The Scorpion in front of the dragon at the gift shop.


Timeline: Mid Afternoon – 3PM

Time on Road: 15-20 minutes

Congestion: High. There were a lot of people on motor cycles and other performance vehicles. The performance vehicles were not generally any issues however we did have to contend with a few SUVs and vans. These vehicles went much slower than the performance vehicles.

Slow Downs: There were a few vehicles that slowed down the ride. There were a few police offices posted up on the side of the road in the overlooks as well. No stop lights or stop signs. No cross roads.

Weather Conditions: 80 Partly Cloudy

Speed: 20-60+ (able to achieve higher speeds on the straight aways )

Scenery: TOTD offers some great scenic overlooks but as a driver you must be ready to pull off. Scenic overlooks of the mountains, the lake and dam. Car move at high speed in both directions.

Visibility: With 311 turns and roads the carve in various direction including 160~ degree turns there are time when what is around the corner is impossible to tell. The trees, rocks and mountains also decrease visibility for what is ahead on the road.

Pictures: There were (2) companies on this road taking pictures of vehicles that are online for purchase.

Thoughts: Driving this road is better than a cup of coffee to quicken your heart. TOTD was a white knuckle road while trying to push the mustang. The road required full attention with little available time to enjoy any overlooks or scenic sights while driving. There are 160 degree turns that combine with road elevation changes, slopes and curves that make the course challenging. The roads were highly congested and we were slowed down by non-performance vehicles at times. This road may be better in the AM however in the afternoon the roadway was crowded as was the gift / rest shop.

Notes: Gas stations, rest stops, restaurants, rental vehicles, lodging, fishing, hiking, camping are available in this area. Cell phone reception was greatly diminished to non-existent on the Cherohala Skyway and no reception whatsoever on the ToTD. If traveling in groups a 2-way radio is recommended.

The video was shot using GOPRO Hero 3. Video starts from overlook to gift/rest stop.


There are a lot of scenic sights and great road ways in this area of North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia that make this area great for a long day trip of a weekend trip. Check out my Brass Town Bald post for another great spot in this area.

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