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Tail of the Dragon


Since 1981, Deals Gap has been a popular and internationally famous destination for driving enthusiasts whether car or motorcycle, as it is located along a stretch of two-lane road known as "The Dragon" located in Swain County, North Carolina. It is located along U.S. 129 and has a population of 6! The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to have 318 curves.

Lotus 7s on the Dragon

Some of the Dragon's sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The road earned its name from its curves being said to resemble a dragon's tail. The stretch bears the street name "Tapoco Road" in North Carolina and "Calderwood Highway" in Tennessee and is signed entirely by U.S. 129. State Route 115 is included on maps, and is the name used by Tennessee Department of Transportation for highway contracts.

"Be Careful on The Dragon"

Since part of the road is also the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is no development along the 11-mile stretch, resulting in no danger of vehicles pulling out in front of those in the right of way. It mostly travels through forested area and there are a few scenic overlooks and pull-off points along the route. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; it was reduced to 30 mph in 2005. The presence of law enforcement on the Tennessee portion has dramatically increased in 2007, 2008 and 2009 so watch out.