Even though I typically do the bulk of the research for our travels, Andy often times will do a little digging to see if there are any attractions I may have missed that he wanted to see. Andy found the Tail of the Dragon, a 11 mile road with 318 curves in it, which was located pretty close to Chilhowee Mountain Retreat. We read a little bit about the Tail of the Dragon before our trip and learned that there would be some aggressive motorcyclists, some pretty tight turns and some steep dropoffs.
Knowing what we were getting into we were on our way. I have to say that the road is the most curvy road that I have probably ever been on. If you suffer from any motions sickness, I would recommend taking a Dramamine before you head off.
During the drive we encountered some overly aggressive bikers. We weren’t too surprised about this and just pulled off when we could so they could pass us. One thing that we noticed when we were driving is that that they had pieces of motorcycles that had gotten in wrecks around the curves as a reminder for motorists to be careful, especially those that are going too fast. There were also a number of photographers that would take pictures of you when you were heading into turns. They all had tents and banners with the name of their website so you could pull them up online and order them. We were cracking up anytime that we got our photo taken in our “high performance” Mazda 6 rental car.
To me, the drive seemed a little long. It’s only 11 miles, but you have to go pretty slow to make all the turns. There really wasn’t an opportunity to turn around part way through the Tail of the Dragon. When we hit the end we were going to grab lunch at the big biker bar/restaurant, but it was super intimidating as there were literally no cars in the parking lot so we opted to go back to town instead.
If you are an avid motorcyclist or have a high performance sports car, I would highly recommend driving the Tail of the Dragon. If you just have a normal car or don’t like being in the car for extended periods of time, I would go in with expectations that it is just a really long windy road. We had a good time, but would have had just as much fun doing a trip that was a fraction of the length.