tail of the dragon

Things To Do Near Tail of The Dragon

If you’re a motorcyclist or sports car enthusiast, get ready to pack your bags and take a road trip to Deals Gap, North Carolina. Nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains of the North Carolina and Tennessee border is an exciting, curvy mountain road called Tail of the Dragon. 

For many years, this thrill ride was unknown to the world. However, everything changed in the 2000s when Tail of the Dragon was featured in several movies and TV shows. So, if you’re looking for the ultimate road trip, consider adding Deals Gap, North Carolina, to your bucket list of destinations.

Where Is Deals Gap, North Carolina?

Located in western North Carolina, Deals Gap is a small but charming town situated on the edge of the scenic Cherokee National Forest. Set on the shores of beautiful Fontana Lake, this picturesque mountain community serves as a popular recreational destination for outdoor enthusiasts and road-trippers. 

Deals Gap is approximately four hours from Charlotte, NC, an hour and a half from Knoxville, TN, and two and a half hours from Chattanooga, TN. 

Whether you’re interested in rock climbing, hiking, or fishing, Deals Gap is the perfect place to explore the natural beauty of the southern Appalachians. But what sets this town apart is its fame as “the Dragon,” home to one of America’s most thrilling stretches of highway.

A Thrilling 11-Mile Curve-filled Road

Tail of the Dragon is a stretch of highway that offers an exhilarating ride in the mountains as it weaves through rugged terrain. With 318 curves and over 100 points where drivers can exceed 30 miles per hour, this winding roadway offers an exhilarating riding and driving experience like no other. 

Navigating the Tail of the Dragon demands extreme focus and concentration, as drivers must constantly adjust their speed to account for both the curves in the road and traffic on the roadside. Nevertheless, thousands of drivers flock here yearly to drive this legendary stretch of asphalt, eager to tackle its twisting turns and soak up its breathtaking views.

Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort

Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort is a family-owned and operated business that has welcomed riders worldwide for more than 30 years. The resort is situated on 129 acres of land in the mountains of North Carolina and offers tons of accommodations to motorcyclists. Riders can choose to stay in the lodge, cabins, or RV park, and campsites are available too. 

In addition to its scenic location, the resort features amenities that make it a perfect destination for motorcycle enthusiasts. There are bike wash stations, a full-service repair shop, and a wide range of riding gear available for rent or purchase. 

Essential Things To Know Before You Go

No matter how much road experience you have, it’s vital to stay safe when snaking your way along Tail of the Dragon. Keep your speed in check, and be extra cautious around blind turns. Also, stay alert for wildlife and other vehicles, and always wear proper protective gear such as a helmet and maybe shin and elbow pads too. When approached safely, Tail of the Dragon promises an exciting driving adventure everyone can enjoy.

Things To Do Near Tail of The Dragon

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. From deep valleys to steep mountainsides, this stunning landscape offers a wealth of hiking trails that reveal its unique beauty from every angle. 

One of the highlights of a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains is the opportunity to see a wide variety of plant and animal life in their natural habitats. You will find stunning waterfalls, towering forests, and rushing rivers filled with trout. Whether you are interested in hiking, camping, fishing, or simply taking in spectacular views, this vast national park offers an unforgettable outdoor adventure. 

Cherohala Skyway

If you’re looking for a fun ride, take a day trip to Cherohala Skyway! This mountainous scenic highway traverses the eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. It’s a popular tourist destination with sweeping views and gorgeous natural beauty. The Cherokee and Nantahala national forests border the highway on both sides.

Calderwood Lake

Calderwood Lake is a beautiful and popular state park in Tennessee, known for its scenic views and recreational opportunities. Surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests, the lake provides excellent habitat for numerous species of plants and animals. 

Whether looking for a quiet place to go fishing or a rugged spot for hiking and camping, Calderwood Lake is great for getting outdoors. Boats can be rented by the hour or day, allowing you to explore the lake’s expansive waters. In addition, you can swim and sunbathe on one of the beautiful beaches in the park. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in TN, Calderwood Lake is a must-visit destination!

White Water Rafting

Deals Gap, North Carolina, is ideal for white water rafting and kayaking. Positioned in between two mountain ranges, Deals Gap has many rivers and creeks perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life with a thrilling adventure on the water. The rapids are never too intense, making Dealing Gap an excellent place for experienced rafters and those looking to try something new. With well-maintained facilities that provide everything you need for an epic day on the river, Deals Gap is ideal for anyone looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience.


Located near the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the scenic town of Deals Gap is a fantastic fishing spot. With its pristine lakes and abundant rivers, Deals Gap is a mecca for anglers from all over the country. Whether you’re after trout, bass, or salmon, you’re sure to mage a great catch here. What’s more, many of the area’s fishing hot spots are just minutes from the town itself, making it easy to explore this beautiful landscape and spend a day catching some of nature’s finest offerings. 

Fontana Dam

Want to explore some more incredible sights? A trip to the Fontana Dam is in order. Less than twenty minutes from Deals Gap, this iconic dam is one of its tallest and most impressive structures. The dam is designed to support hydroelectric power generation, spans more than 4,700 feet across the Little Tennessee River, and stands at an incredible 480 feet tall. And, if you’re looking for a great place to do a little fishing, about 10 minutes further, you’ll find the gorgeous Fontana Lake.

Cheoah Dam

The Cheoah Dam straddles the Little Tennessee River and spans nearly 1000 feet. The dam is impressively tall, with a height of more than one hundred feet, and features an elegant arch design that allows it to withstand even the most powerful currents. As you wander along the dam’s perimeter, you’ll be amazed at its sheer size and incredible power. 

Final Thoughts on Tail of The Dragon

Tail of the Dragon is one of the most popular driving routes in the country, and for good reason. This winding road passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in two states. Featuring sweeping vistas and a winding path that snakes along the TN/NC border, this route offers hair-raising twists and turns to delight even the most experienced drivers. So if you’re looking for an adrenaline-fueled ride that will leave you wanting more, head down to the Tail of the Dragon and take on this incredible stretch of road!

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

Alexandrea Sumuel
Website | + posts

Alexandrea Sumuel is the founder of the travel blog Wander With Alex where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. Alex travels to experience, eat, explore and, on occasion, escape! Her mission is to help people get the most out of their vacation.