The Dragon at Deals Gap
June 28, 2008 by Godfather
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…
The Wall (1.4)
Gravity Cavity (2.9)
Killboy Shadetree Corner (4.8)
Little Whip (7.3)
Triple Apex Corner (8.1)
(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.