Even Game of Thrones’ continual feast of winged and worrisome fire-breathing beasties has nothing on the fearsome foe that is the Tail of the Dragon route in North Carolina. While you may not be fighting literal monsters on this winding road, you will be stepping up to the challenge of one of the most iconic- and daunting – thrill rides in the country.
This famous road, known by its dual monikers “U.S. 129” and the more fanciful “The Tail of The Dragon”, is the subject of numerous movies and tv shows, and no wonder: its one-of-a-kind curves test the mettle of hardcore sport-bike lovers and touring enthusiasts alike. With no less 318 crisp and challenging curves, switchbacks and dramatic twists in just 11 miles of roadway, you’ll need all your senses attuned and your focus laser-sharp in to make this thrilling ride your own. If you think battling a flame-wielding dragon would be a test of your skill, just wait – you haven’t ridden the Tail of the Dragon yet.
This formidable route is not for the faint of heart or the hesitant rider. Spanning Deal’s Gap at the North Carolina/Tennessee border, this challenging ride features unmissable views on both sides of the road, all the way along the route. Thankfully, no trucks are allowed here, so riders of all skill levels can focus on the scenery – and the dramatic dips, rises, turns and twisties – without worrying about too many other fellow motorists getting in the way.
If you’re more into thrilling scenery than thrilling rides, have no fear – this route is perfect for you, too. Frequent turnoffs, scenic overlooks and outright photo ops have made this road a favorite of speed hounds and photography buffs alike. No matter what category you fall into, you’ll make lasting visual memories almost anywhere you stop with breathtaking views, sheer cliffs, and sweeping panoramas around almost every one of those tight curves, switchbacks and twisties.
The sheer adrenaline of this ride is second to none and has to be considered one of the greatest summer rides in the eastern US. Ride it to take great photos, hone your riding prowess, and make some unforgettable memories, no matter what kind of bike you ride or what your skill level might be.
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