The Tail of the Dragon
Start: 14981 Tapoco Road, Robbinsville, North Carolina
Finish Line: Chilhowee Lake, Tallassee, Tennessee
Length: Around 11 miles along US 129.
Not to Miss: The Tree of Shame, decorated with pieces of crashed cars and motorcycles.
Driver’s Note: The tree wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t dangerous.
You can See the Sights Later
The Tail of the Dragon isn’t for sight-seeing, its surroundings are heavily wooded and the bends are anything but mild. However, the dynamic series of hairpin turns, dips, and esses are more than enough to keep driver and passenger engaged. If you are interested in a taste of the local wildlife, The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is right next-door.
If you’re making a detour specifically for the Dragon, make sure you’ve got the right equipment; take the Porsche 911 over the Rolls-Royce Corniche. If a Range Rover or Bentley Bentayga is your weapon of choice, these roads can be particularly exciting in the winter months. There are 318 corners along just 11 miles of pavement, front-wheel drive cars need not apply.
Car clubs from around the country regularly plan drives through the Tail of the Dragon, for obvious reasons. Rich Taylor, founder of Vintage Rallies and friend of Premier Financial Services, includes the road in his annual Mountain Mille. Aim for a morning drive because, with car clubs, rallies, and motorcyclists, the road gets a lot more traffic than it used to.