Tail of the Dragon – North Carolina’s Ultimate Ride

Are you searching for your next exhilarating motorcycle ride? The Tail of the Dragon North Carolina ride could be the perfect option. 

This twisty ride begins on the Tennessee / North Carolina state line and includes 11 miles of exhilarating curves. Many motorcyclists consider it one of the most thrilling rides in the country. 

Read on to learn more about the Tail of the Dragon. 

What Is the Tail of the Dragon Ride? 

The Tail of the Dragon is a twisty two-lane road near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This stretch of road has 318 curves in 11 miles, making for a fun route to traverse on a motorcycle or in a car. 

The Tail of the Dragon passes the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, providing excellent views of these two natural areas. The road does not include any interrupting intersections, houses, or businesses across its 11-mile stretch, allowing you to cruise through its twists and turns without stopping. 

This ride is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum. This museum features over 300 rare motorcycles in a 38,000-square-foot facility, and many motorcyclists stop after completing the Tail of the Dragon. 

How to Get to the Tail of the Dragon

The Tail of the Dragon North Carolina ride is located along U.S. Route 129. It begins at the North Carolina / Tennessee border, spanning 11 miles along the state route. You can access this road from the Foothills Parkway by turning left onto U.S. 129. The Tail of the Dragon begins around 3 miles down the road.  

Even though the Tail of the Dragon is only 11 miles long, you can expect the route to take at least an hour one way. The speed limit is 30 miles per hour, and the constant twists and turns require you to slow below this speed frequently. 

Staying Safe on the Tail of the Dragon

The Tail of the Dragon offers an exciting, exhilarating ride for motorcyclists and other motorists. 

However, part of the fun of the ride is the danger involved. The Tail of the Dragon can become dangerous if you do not navigate it safely, and unfortunately, at least one or two motorists die on this road each year. 

Unless you want the Tail of the Dragon to be your last motorcycle ride, you’ll need to take the utmost precaution while riding this route. Here are a few tips to keep you safe while riding the 

Tail of the Dragon:

  • Follow the 30 mph speed limit: The Tail of the Dragon has a strict 30 mph speed limit. Failing to follow this speed limit could result in a citation or a crash.
  • Keep your eyes on the road: While the Tail of the Dragon has several scenic overlooks, this ride isn’t for sightseeing. Avoid getting distracted by the scenic views, and keep your eyes on the road. 
  • Avoid the route during the winter: The Tail of the Dragon is dangerous enough on dry roads. However, ice and snow can make this road especially treacherous. 
  • Wear a helmet: North Carolina has a universal helmet law, so you’ll need to wear a DOT-compliant helmet while riding in the state. A helmet can protect you against head injuries if you get into an accident on the Tail of the Dragon. 
  • Avoid passing other vehicles: Attempting to pass other vehicles could be dangerous on this curvy road. If you’re stuck behind a slow driver, be patient and try to enjoy the ride regardless. 

The Tail of the Dragon North Carolina ride is one of the top motorcycle rides in the country. You’ll definitely want to add this ride to your next North Carolina trip. 

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