I’ve always been a fan of motorcycles, and I’ve always wanted to take a trip to the Tail of the Dragon. It’s a stretch of road in the Great Smoky Mountains that’s known for its 318 curves in 11 miles. It’s a popular destination for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts, and I knew it was going to be an amazing ride.
I finally got my chance to ride the Tail of the Dragon back in the summer of 2016 with a group of friends. Six of us met and mounted up in Oklahoma, and then we trailered our superbikes Tellico Plains where we met up with other riders out of Texas staying in Maryville. We were all excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Upon arrival, we unloaded our bikes and went for a casual spin through the mountains before catching a little rain, forcing us to head back to the AirBnB. We had a few drinks, grabbed some food, and called it a night.
The next morning, we’re up at 6 am prepping our bikes for the ride. We all met to gas up at the Chevron at the mouth the Cherohala SKYWAY, the gateway to the dragon. It is also the perfect precursor or warm-up ride before getting to the more dangerous curves.
The ride starts off smooth but fast, then after hitting all the scenic outlooks, the curves become more and more difficult to navigate at high speeds so the pace slows. The first few curves are a little intimidating, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it. The road is well-maintained, and the curves are all clearly marked. So, if you make a mistake, it’s on YOU!!
We were able to open up our throttles and really enjoy the ride towards the middle right after the Ranger Station on SH165 all the way up to just before Indian Boundary Road headed towards the Turkey Creek Overlook where it slows again for a few miles before being able to hit it one more time before it tightens up one more time. THIS is the beauty, and fun part because there is a little something for all riders.
The one thing we did not notice on our very first trip was that the scenery here was incredible. We were so excited to be there all we did was ride FAST all day!! Little did we know, we were surrounded by mountains, forests, and waterfalls with mind-blowing views. It was the perfect setting for a chill motorcycle ride. We stopped a few times to take pictures and enjoy some of the views.
We spent the whole day blasting the Dragon and the surrounding roads, and we never did get tired of it. It was one of the most fun days of my life, and we didn’t get back to the AirBnB until after midnight, that’s how far out we were. We laughed, we talked, and we enjoyed the ride.
We were so glad we had the chance to ride the Tail of the Dragon, and all the surrounding roads. It was SOOO much fun, we decided to make it an annual trip and have been going back ever since 2016, sometimes twice a year, and each time we go becomes another experience that we’ll never forget.
Throughout the year between riding events, we try to encourage other local riders to come out with us. So if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, it is a MUST GO trip that we highly recommend. You will NOT regret making the decision to take a trip with us some day. We’re a well-organized, experienced, and responsible group of riders who take motorcycling seriously.
We post a schedule to our events tab well in advance to our Street Bikes group page for those who are interested in going. We have done this enough to know all the details, discounts, shortcuts, and the BEST roads to ride and in which direction. Don’t just go out there and get lost or ride the same roads over and over, join us for some real fun! However, if you decide to go it alone:
Here are a few tips for planning your own trip to the Tail of the Dragon:
- Go during the spring, summer, or fall. The weather is mild during these seasons, and the roads are less crowded. Avoid Holidays!!
- Be prepared for a challenging ride. The Tail of the Dragon is a technical road, and it’s important to be comfortable riding in the twisties.
- Take your time and enjoy the scenery and the ride. No need to rush.
- Be safe. And of course, wear a helmet as well as other protective gear. Obey the speed limit and be aware of your surroundings.
We hope you have the chance to experience the Tail of the Dragon for yourself. It’s an amazing ride that you’ll never forget. THAT’s a PROMISE!
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Our mantra is, “Have Fun, Ride Fast, Ride Safe, and Ride with PASSION”!!