The Dragon at Deals Gap

June 28, 2008 by  

318 curves in 11 miles! 

Throw out stats like that and you can immediately feel your heartbeat race. Whether your passion is on two wheels or four, the Dragon on US 129 is a thrill.

What some people may not know is that most of the curves are all named and most people consider the “start” of the Dragon to be at Deals Gap on the NC/TN state line. 

You will first see the sign for The Dragon at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort along with the Deals Gap Store and Dragon’s Den Grill and Pub on your right side where US 129 and NC 28 converge. 

Across the street and on the left there is the outlet for The Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap. 

These stops are located in North Carolina while most of the Dragon is located in Tennessee (you will see the “Entering Tennessee” sign a stone throw away as you start up the hill away from the store). 

Some of the corner names include…

Crud Corner (.2)

The Wall (1.4)

Gravity Cavity (2.9)

Killboy Shadetree Corner (4.8)

Little Whip (7.3)

Triple Apex Corner (8.1)

Overlook (8.8) 

(Distance is measured from the TN State Line)

Most people run from the Deals Gap Store to the Overlook, which is about 8.8 miles. Below the Overlook you will find Pearly Gates (9.5), Rocket Corner (10.2), and Beginners End (10.7) among others.

The full route is to Tabcat Bridge (11.1) although you will find the road from the Tapoco Lodge and Cheoah Dam up to the Store on the North Carolina side just as fun and a great warm up! 

I could say keep an eye out for Law Enforcement but in reality by the time you see them, it will be too late – so keep an eye on your speed unless you are looking for an extra souvenir from the Dragon. 

You will also find plenty of photographers on the Dragon. They will take your photo as you go by and you can view them online within a few days. All of them give you an opportunity to order anything from prints to posters (perfect for keeping Dragon memories on your desk at home). 

While at the Deals Gap Store check out the Tree of Shame (parts hanging on the tree from those bitten by the Dragon), T-Shirts from all over hanging in the restaurant, and of course the store itself with the Dragon printed on just about everything.

If you are riding a motorcycle, check out Tips for Slaying the Dragon

No doubt the Dragon is the highpoint of campfire conversations but there are plenty of other roads in the area offering great rides. For other great roads check out the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon – Cherohala Skyway Loop, and the Fontana Loop.


4 Responses to “The Dragon at Deals Gap”

  1. Santeetlah Lake : 129 Dragon on August 19th, 2008 7:41 pm

    […] fed by spring waters clear enough to drink?  You’ll find Lake Santeetlah on your way to The Dragon on US 129 at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains outside of Robbinsville, […]

  2. Don’t Miss the Top Ten! : 129 Dragon on August 20th, 2008 10:17 pm

    […] The Dragon at Deals Gap on US 129 – Probably the single most popular destination in the area, especially among car and bike enthusiasts. 318 curves in 11 miles. Need we say more? Ok, we can… Read More! […]

  3. Cherokee - Maggie Valley Loop : 129 Dragon on August 29th, 2008 7:49 pm

    […] an easy day ride covering about 142 miles.  Here’s our favorite way to make this loop from the Tail of the Dragon US-129 […]

  4. Smoky Mountain Bike Week - Fontana Dam North Carolina : 129 Dragon on August 29th, 2008 9:02 pm

    […] Slay the Dragon’s 318 curves in 11 miles on US-129. Cruise the incredible Hellbender 28, running for 30 miles along Fontana Lake and the Smoky Mountains.  Run the mile high Cherohala Skyway for sweeping curves and breathtaking views.  […]