Posts Tagged ‘Tail of the Dragon’

One of America’s most famous roads is dubbed The Tail of the Dragon. It’s said to be the single most beautiful, thrilling and dangerous drive in the country.

Officially named Blount Gap, The Tail of the Dragon is a section of U. S. Highway 129 that runs between Blount County, TN and Swain County, NC. Though just eleven miles long, it boasts 318 sharp curves. There are no side streets or driveways, only the rugged Great Smoky Mountains and national forest land.

Many of the road’s features have been given interesting names like Gravity Cavity, Copperhead Corner, and Wheelie Hell. Others are blind corners where unexpected hazards may appear. For safety reasons, the speed limit on this highway has been reduced to 30 mph and it is strictly patrolled. Still, some sources state that at least one death occurs on this stretch of road each year.

Nevertheless, motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts flock to the route during the spring and summer months. All long to experience the challenge of the Tail of the Dragon. Tourists can stop at a few scenic overlooks, and stay at a number of hotels near each end of the route. Perhaps the best known is Deals Gap. This rustic lodge includes an impressive metal statue of a dragon.

The Tail of the Dragon has also been popular with Hollywood, and a number of movies have been filmed on the dramatic twists and turns. These include Thunder Road (1958), Two Lane Blacktop (1971) and The Fugitive (1993). If you aren’t into the Tail of the Dragon’s driving challenge, it sounds like you could enjoy the Hollywood trivia or just relish the beautiful mountain scenery.

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