Deals Gap, North Carolina

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Deals Gap
Deals Gap-Welcome to NC.jpg
Crossing Deals Gap into North Carolina
Elevation1,988 ft (606 m)[1]
Traversed by US 129
LocationNorth Carolina
United States
RangeGreat Smoky Mountains
Coordinates35°28′25″N 83°55′15″W / 35.4736965°N 83.9207351°W / 35.4736965; -83.9207351Coordinates: 35°28′25″N 83°55′15″W / 35.4736965°N 83.9207351°W / 35.4736965; -83.9207351
Topo mapUSGS Tapoco
Deals Gap is located in North Carolina
Deals Gap
The pass is located at the North CarolinaTennessee state line

Deals Gap (el. 1,988 ft (606 m)) is a mountain pass along the North CarolinaTennessee state line, bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and near the Little Tennessee River. At 0.7 miles (1.1 km) south of the gap is the unincorporated community that shares the same name, located at the intersection of US 129 and NC 28. The area is popular with sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts, who cross the gap into Tennessee to drive along "The Dragon", famous for its 318 curves in 11 miles (18 km).

The Dragon[edit]

Deals Gap Community
Tail of the Dragon

Deals Gap is a popular and internationally famous destination for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts, as it is along a stretch of two-lane road known since 1981 as “The Dragon” and the "Tail of the Dragon".[2][3] The 11-mile (18 km) stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to have 318 curves. Some of the Dragon's sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The road earned its name from its curves being said to resemble a dragon. The stretch bears the street name "Tapoco Road" in North Carolina and "Calderwood Highway" in Tennessee and is signed entirely by US 129 (hidden SR 115).

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 (18 km) stretch, resulting in no danger of vehicles pulling out in front of those in the right of way. It mostly travels through a forested area and there are a few scenic overlooks and pull-off points along the route. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph (89 km/h) before 1992; it was reduced to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 2005. The presence of law enforcement on the Tennessee portion has dramatically increased since 2007.[4][5][6]

During the summer months, the Blount County Rescue Squad maintains a presence on The Dragon on the weekends to assist Rural/Metro with emergency calls stemming from the frequent motorcycle accidents that occur there, as Rural/Metro dispatches from nearby Maryville, Tennessee, and emergency response times may be in excess of an hour.[7]

Approximately 37 traffic fatalities were recorded on this stretch of road from 2000 to 2017.[8]

In December 2021, YouTuber CGP Grey drove a Tesla Model 3 equipped with the latest beta version of Tesla Autopilot through Deals Gap. The autopilot successfully navigated the route without human intervention.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Deals Gap". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Ron Johnson (July–August 2006). "Destinations: Deals Gap, North Carolina". Motorcycle Classics. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  3. ^ Coop, Austin (January 28, 2015). "Drive the Tail of The Dragon: America's most exciting 11 miles". Roads & Rides. Archived from the original on 2018-07-02. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Wilson, Robert L. (May 26, 2008). "Blount officers work to tame the Dragon". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08.
  5. ^ "Anderson - Blount briefs: Sep. 12". September 12, 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03.
  6. ^ Haman, Ansley (July 29, 2007). "Mastering the mythical monster". Archived from the original on 2012-04-03.
  7. ^ "Blount County Rescue Squad".
  8. ^ "Dragon Death Map". Tail Of The Dragon Maps.
  9. ^ DaSilva, Steve (December 15, 2021). "Watch Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta Tackle The Tail Of The Dragon". Jalopnik. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Deals Gap at Wikimedia Commons