Ride the Back of the Dragon

If you’re a motorcyclist seeking a thrilling, white-knuckling ride, you’ll want to add the Back of the Dragon to your bucket list. 

The Back of the Dragon is a 32-mile scenic route in Virginia with over 400 curves. This ride is the only designated motorcycle route in Virginia and offers unique, exhilarating views of the hilly Virginia countryside. 

Here’s what you need to know to ride the Back of the Dragon. 

What Is the Back of the Dragon? 

The Back of the Dragon is a motorcycle route along Route 16 in Virginia. This route is ideal for motorcyclists because it includes plenty of thrilling twists and turns — 438 to be exact. 

This route spans 32 miles through the Washington National Forest, Hungry Mother State Park, Rich Valley, and Jefferson National Forest. Each of these scenic attractions offers spectacular views of Virginia’s landscape. However, the Back of the Dragon route isn’t the best ride to sit back and enjoy the scenery. 

You’ll need to pay close attention as you ride the twists and turns around the dragon’s tail. This exhilarating route has a curve about every one-tenth of a mile, meaning you won’t have many opportunities to cruise through a long stretch of road. 

However, this route is set against a beautifully serene landscape, delivering an enjoyable motorcycle experience overall. 

The Best Time to Ride the Back of the Dragon

We recommend riding the Back of the Dragon any time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, if possible. 

The summer months offer the best conditions to travel across this windy route. You can feel confident that the road will be flat and dry in most cases. Additionally, the trees will be full and lush, providing a beautiful landscape behind you. 

You can ride the Back of the Dragon in the spring or fall if desired. However, we recommend avoiding this road in the winter months. Ice and snow can make the winding curves of the route dangerous to navigate on a motorcycle. 

Tips for Riding the Back of the Dragon 

We recommend the Back of the Dragon for experienced riders only. If you’re a beginner, you may not have the instincts and riding skills necessary to stay safe on a dangerously curvy route. You also risk becoming distracted by the scenery or other drivers and losing your footing. 

We also recommend fueling up beforehand, as there aren’t many places to stop along the way. This route takes place mostly in rural forest land, so you’ll want to pack everything you may need in your storage compartment before setting out. 

Watch out for other motorcyclists and drivers as you come around sharp turns and bends. This route is two lanes and can become narrow at times, making the curves extra tricky. 

Places to Stop Along the Back of the Dragon Route

Here are a few destinations to add to your itinerary near the Back of the Dragon ride:

Back of the Dragon Welcome Center

We recommend stopping at the Back of the Dragon Welcome Center in Tazewell, Virginia, before beginning this motorcycle route. You can learn more about the current road conditions, buy Back of the Dragon merch, and pick up a map for your journey. 

Hungry Mother State Park

The Back of the Dragon winds through Hungry Mother State Park. We recommend taking time to hike a few nature trails, kayak on the lake, or even just enjoy a picnic lunch while you’re in the area. 

Highlands Distillery 

Highlands Distillery in Marion is an excellent spot to grab a hand-crafted drink once you ride the Back of the Dragon. This town is located near the final portion of the route. 

The motorcycle accident attorneys at Law Tigers support the riding community in so many ways. If you are ever injured in a motorcycle accident, call Law Tigers 24/7 at 888-863-7216 from anywhere across the United States for a free case evaluation.