Have you ever heard of the Tail of the Dragon? No, that’s not a pretext to a medieval epic, the Tail of the Dragon is one of the most famous Smoky Mountain roads among motorcyclists and driving tour enthusiast that come to see all the attractions that East Tennessee has to offer. We have many driving tour roads in Gatlinburg, nearby Cades Cove, and areas in-between that are quite nice and lovely, but the Tail of the Dragon is geared a lot more for thrills and excitement. It’s especially a popular day trip for those who bring their hotrods during one of our Pigeon Forge rod runs that we hold twice a year, so drivers on the Tail of the Dragon get to see some awesome vehicles in addition to the other spectacular views and visuals on the Tail!
Some of its fame beyond its most naked recommendation is a bit more obscured, so in this article, we’ll be happy to shed some more light on it.
The Tail of the Dragon is an 11-mile section of U.S. Highway 129 surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee National Park that has an astounding 318 turns. It is an “empty” stretch of road, meaning there are no establishments for at least a huge majority of that drive. There are no buildings, businesses or even intersecting roads. April through October is considered the best time to drive it (naturally, as these are when the leaves are out and green or in color, so consider this as a possibility for things to do in the Summer or an Autumn itinerary) and it is said to take between 75 minutes to 2 hours to drive, possibly more as traffic builds up. Some of the turns on the Tail are famous and of themselves. showcasing names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner’s End, and Brake or Bust Bend.
It can be a wild ride (and you definitely should not try it if you’re not a responsible driver), but it’s hard to forget it once you try it. There are some stops and shops before and after The Dragon as well. The road and surrounding area has also attracted occasional interest from Hollywood and other media outlets as several movies and TV shows have been filmed here.
Some great sites with additional information on The Tail of The Dragon and nearby stuff are:
Want to see some other road trip ideas in the Smokies? See some of our other posts on our networks at these links: