MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIASTS find that nothing beats the thrill of conquering the Tail of the Dragon. Considered the road with the “best curves in the US” (in 2001) by Sync Magazine, the Dragon’s Tail essentially combines the beauty and treachery of both Deal’s Gap in North Carolina and the Cherohala Skyway in both Tennessee and NC.
Starting in Tellico Plains, many bikers take the scenic Cherohala Skyway (Hwy 165/143) to Robbinsville, NC. From there, they head north along Hwy 129 through the area known as Deals Gap and Tapoco, wind around lots of curves and make a left on Hwy 72. From there, they get on Hwy 411 south and take a left on Hwy 360 back to Tellico. You can also take a little extra time to explore the “Mini-Dragon” on the Hwy 28 loop from Tapoco back to Robbinsville. Click on map below to enlarge.
These beautiful scenic mountain roads may take you a day or two to cover, but it’s well worth the ride. Don’t be in a hurry, however. Those curves take their daily toll on mortocyclists, averaging one death per year and multiple accidents. Park Rangers urge folks to watch the road, then pull over to a rest stop for the scenery.
The Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee.
The Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina.