Tail of the Dragon....educate me!

Discussion in 'North & South Carolina' started by jimshadow, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. jimshadow

    jimshadow F1 Rookie
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Feb 19, 2006
    Full Name:
    I'm taking a road trip in my DB9 from Indiana to Sarasota, Florida over Labor Day Weekend and I'm thinking of driving the Tail of the Dragon on the Thursday before Labor Day. Some say its worth it, others say its become way too crowded on off-days let alone weekends.
    What are the thoughts from those who have actually driven it recently and/or live in the area??

    Thecadster likes this.
  2. CarAholic

    CarAholic Formula Junior

    May 10, 2016
    I went to it two years back for a run. Luckily we were the only ones up there as it was towards the end of fall. While it’s a great road I prefer the mountain roads near me

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Thecadster

    Thecadster Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 27, 2017
  4. usshelena725

    usshelena725 Karting

    Nov 22, 2014
    Johnson City, TN
    I live just a short distance away. I have been many times and would certainly recommend it - I think you will have a great time. If looking for a road that is 95% of the Dragon with only 1% of the traffic, also take a look at 421 the snake. I actually drive this road to work many days, and it is fantastic. Many times I will go 20 minutes without seeing another car. It is about 90mins away from the dragon.
    Thecadster likes this.
  5. italiafan

    italiafan F1 Veteran

    Jul 19, 2006
    Full Name:
    Stickbones Swagglesmith
    I think it has become a bit of a legend and therefore a little overrated. It has almost too many twists and turns and not fun relaxing mountain cruising by any means. Also, there are so many knuckleheads on there you really have to be careful. Harley riders that overshoot apices coming at you in your lane, and families in minivans "driving the dragon" at 15mph.
    I was there a few weeks ago and got pulled over by a deputy. Very nice guy, gave me a warning and we had a long chat about cars (I was in a Ferrari). Funny he pulled me and first thing he said was, "I've never pulled over a Lamborghini before." To which I replied in good humor, "You still haven't."
    Long story short he said they have a state grant to pay off duty deputies to monitor the "Dragon" and write tickets because it has become too much of a speeders destination and they are getting sick of it, and the injuries (usually high performance bikes...) be careful...not an unrestricted racetrack anymore.
    Go ride other parts of 129 to the north, 28, and Foothills Parkway is really nice.
  6. cfensty

    cfensty Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 1, 2008
    Hilton Head Is., SC
    Full Name:
    421 is a much better experience. The tail of the dragon is just you at the back end of a 40 car/bike caravan doing like 15 mph.

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  7. BT

    BT F1 World Champ

    Mar 21, 2005
    FL / GA
    Full Name:
    Bill Tracy
    The dragon is generally overrated in my experience. On a weekday you can get a clean run occasionally, but the heavy police presence (especially near a holiday) takes away a lot of the fun. The speed limit is 30 and they don't give you much cushion above that for ticketing. Lots of other great roads in the area with more considerate travelers that allow you to get around them and have some fun. The dragon is notorious for having Harley riders refuse to use any of the roughly 112 pull offs to let anyone pass.

    It would be a great road if not for the traffic and policing in my opinion.

    J. Salmon and Thecadster like this.
  8. DCNSX

    DCNSX Formula Junior

    Feb 5, 2007
    Winston-Salem, NC
    I live in NC and have only driven the Dragon twice. The turns are SO frequent your DB9 will barely stretch its legs . I recommend other NC roads as others here do.
  9. DreamCarrera

    DreamCarrera Formula Junior

    Oct 25, 2006
    S.E. PA
    Full Name:
    The Tail has been an item on my to-do list for a long time now (I live about 11 hrs away) but, unfortunately, it has remained on my to-do list for the reasons stated by the posters in this thread. If I ever do make the trip, I'll be sure to spend 2-3 days in the area to experience some of the other great nearby roads.
  10. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    The wife and I drove the Dragon about 3 years ago in our 911 on the way to my wife's college reunion in Virginia. It was fun. We lucked out and it was nice weather, and not much traffic. We split off to highway 28 near Tapoco, which goes to Fontana Lake/Dam. That was nice too. Almost no traffic.
  11. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    Matt F
    Jim @jimshadow,

    I’d suggest, starting from Indiana, to head for Cincinnati, over shoot it, and head for Huntington, WV.

    Ideally, a little bit further into West Virginia, and you can take some of the loveliest roads along the Appalachian mountains and through the Monongahela National Forest, the Jefferson National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and the Nantahala National Forest.

    It’ll flatten out by the time you hit Georgia, but you will drive on some of the best roads in the world. There’s the right amount of elevation change and corners, but you can let your DB9 stretch its legs too. And very little traffic.

    Just stick to two lane roads and watch out for logging vehicles.

    Have fun!

    jimshadow and Thecadster like this.
  12. RedlineG60

    RedlineG60 Formula 3

    Dec 25, 2003
    Simpsonville, SC
    Full Name:
    Andy Thomason
    Be careful and don’t end up like the 360 Spider I saw pictures of losing control and going up an embankment! I hope the car wasn’t too damaged and the driver’s seat wasn’t too stained!

    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
  13. jimshadow

    jimshadow F1 Rookie
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Feb 19, 2006
    Full Name:


    Thank you for this. I"ve driven the DB9 from Indiana to Raleigh Durham, taking Route 35 through Ohio and WV to 64 then 40. AMAZING running through the Mountains that way. I've done it in the Panamera, the DB9 and 2 different E55AMG's. :).

    I think that I'll heed everyones advice and stay clear of the Tail of the Dragon and stick to roads like the Cherohala Skyway. I'm looking at possibly staying at Fontana Village on my 1st night...anyone have a suggestion?

    Smiles likes this.
  14. Irishman

    Irishman F1 Rookie

    Oct 13, 2005
    Full Name:
    I ride the Dragon at least once a year. It's a good road and I can't imagine skipping the experience. There is one place to stop on the Dragon which is at the "Overlook", which is well worth the view. As others have said there are also other great roads: Snake (US421), Cherohala, Moonshiner (NC 28), US441 through the GSMNP (heavy traffic).

    If you end up staying at Fontana Village, a great loop is to ride 28 to the Dragon (US129), then follow 129 into TN, turn left on TN72, left on US411, left on TN360, and left on TN165 (Cherohala) which becomes 143 in NC. Follow NC143 to T at NC28 then turn left on NC28 to return to Fontana Village. Tellico Plains, TN is a possible lunch spot on this loop -- when you hit TN165 turn right to go into Tellico Plains.

    Good luck and have fun!
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