Overall Route Rating
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4.23 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.23
90 Reviews

Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")

Motorcycle Route Author

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By Guest (0 McR Points) on Jul 01, 2003

Rider Reviews

GJRonK
1027 McR Points
July 28, 2012
--I understand this is the road to which many…
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Noica
2 McR Points
November 5, 2011
Nice ride. I rode it the first time around 2002…
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Written Directions

Deal's gap is not the easiest road to find on a map because it is just a small 11 mile stretch that hugs the border of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on its very sparsely populated southwest corner. Most of the road lies in Tennessee yet a small section of it crosses into North Carolina. Suggest you use the Online Map Link to get your bearings. The closest town to the north end of Deal's Gap is Tallahassee, TN and the closest town to the south end of the road is Tapoco, NC. And, keep in mind that when you get close to the road, all the locals can point you in the right direction if you are not sure.

Scenery

Beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery includes some lush forests and evergreen covered mountains.

Update/Addition from Michael S. McDonald: People from all walks of life are drawn to the seducing curves of the Dragon (other wise known as Tail of the Dragon) at Deal's Gap, also known as US Hwy 129. They make their pilgrimage to test their skills, or in some cases, to be bitten by the Dragon. The area surrounding the Dragon was one of the last areas of North Carolina to be settled due to its inhospitable terrain. The southern Appalachian Mountains are made up of two separate ranges; the eastern range is the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the western range is known as the Great Smoky Mountains. For thirty-six miles along the TN/NC border the GSM are more than 5k feet in altitude with 16 peaks stretching to more than 6k feet. All of this altitude translates to treacherous travel, especially for the pioneers in their day, but also for us as motor-sport enthusiasts today

Drive Enjoyment

318 curves in 11 miles - what more needs to be said? Well these just aren't any curves as there are many sharp turns, steep drop-offs, not many cars, lots of bikes ... overall a real challenging road. The road is mostly in good shape as its become a real tourist draw and the local government knows to keep the road in good shape and the people will keep coming. Its challenging and exciting for some, scary to beginning riders, be careful on this one.

Update/Addition from Michael S. McDonald: 318 curves in 11 miles. By the time you reach the plateau from which the end (otherwise known as the turn around) your will be spent but very eager to hit the tight turns that are banked to perfection. Pay very close attention to on coming cars and large trucks as the turns are hairpin and they do come into your lane!

Tourism Opportunities

Not many pull-outs, one store at the end of ride, be sure to go in and see pictures of crashes that have happened along the road.

Update/Addition from Michael S. McDonald:

- GAS STATIONS : Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort

- FOOD: Dragon's Den Grill, , located at the resort

- HOTEL: Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort

- REPAIRS: NONE, You can get some very minor repairs at the resort. Nearest

repair is Wheelers, 16 miles south or the 129 Pit Stop located in TN 12 miles

north of the Gap.

- PULL OFF'S/OVERLOOKS: 1, Dragon overlook.

Motorcycle Road Additional info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather . - Nice Deal's Gap web site - Visit North Carolina web site. - A Deal's Gap video contributed by Chas - Visit North Carolina web site

Top Images

Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Deal's Gap (AKA "The Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon")
Share Your Comments ( 90 )
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Pouge
September 19, 2011
60 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Cruiser
This road is simply sensory overload. You have glimpses of grand vistas, more curves than you can count (but apparently someone did!), and the surrounding roads are just a plus. It also has a "bike week" feel to it in the warmer months due to the amount of bikes there. Riding a cruiser, I prefer to ride it uphill, slows easier and hits the curves better (for me anyways). It's also great to see the crotch rockets "slay" The Dragon
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Guest
June 29, 2010
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Other
Two friends and I rode Deal's Gap in mid-June, and had a good time. We were on Harleys, and that seemed to be the ride-of-choice on our Monday. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was outstanding, and most of the bikers behaved themselves. As my friend says, "It's a good road...with a GREAT agent." In other words, we were a little underwhelmed that the storied Tail of the Dragon didn't live up to its widespread reputation. Don't get me wrong: the road grabbed our attention and demanded a degree of technical expertise. But I believe that if a rider can successfully negotiate some of the roads LEADING to US129, he/she will be successful on the Dragon itself.
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MCR Contributor
December 29, 2011
952 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Other
Just read an article in the May 11 issue of Car and Driver. The article called "Chasing Tail" (page 76) was based on three sports coups (Audi TT RS, BMW-1 Series M, Infiniti IPL G37) being tested out on the Dragon's 318 curves in 11 miles. Among other things, it has some nice photos of the road and scenery as well as an interesting chart that show's that in addition to the turns, the Dragon's fun factor is increased by it's elevation gains as well ... in those 11 miles it rises from 800 ft above sea level to 2000 ft above sea level ... a 1200 ft elevation gain in only 11 miles!
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