Tail of the Dragon

U.S. Highway 129 runs through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina in an area officially known as Deals Gap.. It has become a favorite destination for motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts because of it's twisting turns and beautiful scenery along the ridges and gaps in the mountains.

Not far from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg, TN there is an 11 mile stretch of Hwy 129 that is unofficially known as "The Tail of the Dragon". The stretch of roads has 318 turns in eleven miles. There are no straight pieces of roadway. This makes it a lot of fun to ride on a motorcycle and tempting challenge for thrill seekers.

A little farther south is the Cherhola Skyway which runs along the mountain ridges at elevations over 5,000 feet. Below are a few pictures from our visit to the area in October 2005.

At the Tennessee end of the "Dragon" you come to this overlook and a dam.

At the North Carolina end of the Dragon, you will find a little motel and restaurant. You will also find the "Tree of Shame" covered with mementos from people who had less than successful trips across the Dragon.

The restaurant is decorated with shirts from various car and motorcycle clubs that have visited.

If you head over toward the Cherhola Skyway, you will pass Fontana Dam. Part of the movie remake of "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford was filmed here.

The Cherhola Skyway with it's wider road and sweeping turns is an easier ride than the Dragon but from fall through spring you can encounter ice and snow in the higher elevations.

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