Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee

Deals Gap is a popular and internationally famous destination for driving enthusiasts, as it is located along a stretch of a two-lane road known as The Dragon (or The Tail of the Dragon). The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to contain 318 curves. The road segment earned its name from its curves resembling the back or tail of a dragon. The stretch bears the street name Tapoco Road in North Carolina and Calderwood Highway in Tennessee and is signed entirely by U.S. Highway 129. 

State Route 115 is included on maps, and is the name used by Tennessee Department of Transportation for highway contracts. Since part of the road is also the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is no development along the 11-mile stretch, resulting in no danger of vehicles pulling out in front of those in the right of way. The road travels mostly through forested area. Along the route, there are a few scenic overlooks and pull off points. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; however, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the limit was reduced a number of times until 2005 when a speed limit of 30 mph was signed along the entire stretch.

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