This road is number one sports car and motorcycle road with 318 curves in just 11 miles. Deals Gap is also known as the Tail of the Dragon. It is a portion of the United States Route 129 in Blount County, Tennessee, located in a gap in Swan County, North Carolina. It is publicized as one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
Tail Of The Dragon is still an adrenaline-pumping journey. With hundreds of blind curves, high degrees of camber, and long blind crests, this claustrophobic forest road shows as many chances to leave the pavement both longitudinally and laterally, and will give a challenge for even the most seasoned sim veterans. It is said that the 11 mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee has 318 curves. Some of the sharpest curves on the road have names like Hog Pen Bend, Copperhead Corner, Shade Tree Corner, Wheelie Hell, Gravity Cavity, Sunset Corner, Mud Corner, Brake or Bust Bend and Beginner’s End. This road gets its name from the curves that look like a dragon’s tail.
This road is absolutely breathtaking and it has an awesome reputation. It manly travels through forested area and there are a few pull-off points and scenic overlooks along the route. Earlier in 1992 the speed limit in both North Carolina and Tennessee was 55 MPH. Then in 1993 the speed limit on the side of Tennessee was lowered to 40 MPH, while in 2002 to 30 MPH, which today is still in effect. In early 2005, the North Carolina side of the road was lowered to 30 MPH. Also, the presence of law enforcement on the Tennessee side has greatly increased. The Dragon road used to be a famous shortcut for truckers when the I-40 was blocked by the landslide. After so many incidents and accidents involving semi-tractors, the authorities decided to restrict big commercial vehicles from using this road a few years ago.
The weather in this area is harsh and very unpredictable and it takes just a short amount of time for the bright sunshine to change over to moderate or heavy snowfall. Also, in the summer the weather on this road is fairly predictable. The winter months starting from November to March can be really impossible to predict. The road is isolated and in the winter months can be a real adventure, having to deal with turkeys, bears, boars and deer in the road, ice/snow, trees down, and tractor-trailers taking-up the whole road in the curves. So, if you are looking for an excitement, don’t miss this road.
It has a deserved reputation for being really dangerous because of the unpredictable blizzards and snowstorms, and it is really challenging to drive under these conditions. In the winter, there are many ridable days, but they are not predictable. The higher elevation of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cherohala in May can experience snow. Also, many afternoons in summer can bring widely scattered rain showers. The web weather and the weather stations will often indicate rain for the whole area.
The main risk on this curvy, mountainous road is coming around a sightless corner and discover some vehicle that comes toward you. The cars can go through the Dragon most of the year, and the winter is the great time to have this road to yourself. At times this road is dusted with sand/salt, but that is happening only when a severe storm is coming. After the next good rain it is usually gone. One very big advantage of winter on this road is the ability to see through most of the corners because the trees have dropped down their leaves. The good visibility lasts from November to March. One downside is that the sun is lower and can get in the eyes. Also, the shadows make for reduced visibility.