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Deals Gap or the Tail of the Dragon is renowned for being the twistiest and most popular section of road in the US. The Dragon (Route 129) is 318 turns over 11 mi (17.7 km) of breathtaking road. There are no intersections or driveways on the Dragon so you don't need to be concerned with cars turning on to the road or merging. Trucks and campers are not permitted so it makes for great motorcycle riding and even better motorcycle watching. The Dragon (Route 129) takes you from Deals Gap to Chilhowee and the Cheohah Dam.
Photo credit: http://tailofthedragon.com
Located east of Chilhowee is the Cheohah Dam. The bridge over the Dam is a popular photo spot. The dam is famous for the iconic moment in the movie ‟The Fugitive” where Harrison Ford's character jumps from that very dam.
Riding the dragon is exhilarating; now continue from Cheoah Dam to Gatlinburg riding onto Foothills Parkway for 16.8 mi (27 km). At the end of Foothills Parkway turn onto E. Lamar Alexander Parkway (Hwy 73) heading Southeast for 9.7 mi (15.6 km). Pass by a golf course and the town of Townsend. Transfer onto Laurel Creek Road for 6.3 mi (10.1 km) after which, the same road becomes Little River Road (Old Hwy 73 Scenic); follow it for an additional 11.3 mi (18.2 km). This section of the route is quite easy, by easy we mean easier than the Dragon. It is very twisty and features large sweeping turns and hairpins.
Gatlinburg is a small vacation town of 3,800 people. It is popular with tourists because it's situated at the base of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. The town is surrounded by mountains: Le Conte and Sugarland Mountain rising to the South, Cove Mountain to the West, Big Ridge to the Northeast, and Grapeyard Ridge to the East. The mountains set the backdrop for the only ski resort in Tennessee: Ober Gatlinburg. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Gatlinburg see: http://www.gatlinburg.com/
South of Gatlinburg you'll find the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it's definitely worth the motorcycle ride up. In 1976 the park was certified as an International Biosphere Reserve. On its way from Maine to Georgia, the world famous Appalachian Trail runs through the Smokies. The highest point in the park is Clingmans Dome 6,643 feet (2,025 m) and there's an awesome viewing platform rising 54 ft (16 m) tall offering great views of the Smoky Mountains.Â
From Gatlinburg go North on the Parkway for 6.7 mi (10.8 km) until you reach Pigeon Forge. The Parkway has large sweeping turns and the road splits into a one-way road for most of the final stretch.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a town of 5,800 people and it's surrounded by mountains. Dollywood Amusement park is not far from the town so you'll find a lot of hotels and motels to choose from. A strange find here is a half scale replica of the Titanic, at the Titanic Exhibit Museum. The museum is the largest permanent Titanic museum in the world. The structure is anchored to create an illusion of the Titanic at sea. You can take a 2 hour self-guided tour and board the ship with a ticket of a real passenger. At the end of the tour you'll learn if ‟you” survived or not. Tickets are $21 for adults; if you go, be aware, it's one of the most popular attractions in town. For more information on the Titanic Museum see:Â http://www.titanicpigeonforge.com/Â For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Pigeon Forge see:Â www.cityofpigeonforge.comÂ andÂ http://www.mypigeonforge.com/
Deals Gap or the Tail of the Dragon is known as one of the best motorcycle roads in the United States. You'll likely ride it over and over again. Extending the trip to Pigeon Forge adds an additional 57 mi (91.7 km) of sweet twisty motorcycle roads. The entire route can be completed in about 2 hours. When visiting Deals Gap, this ride should definitely be on your bucket list. Enjoy the ride! Eat Sleep Ride.
If you go, note that a large portion of Tennessee is dry, meaning you can't buy alcohol in a store or a restaurant. You can however consume wine, beer and spirits in a designated tourism location. In all, about 26 out of Tennessee's 95 counties are completely dry. For more information on which areas allow alcohol see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohollawsof_Tennessee