Heading to the Dragon in October - VTXOA
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Heading to the Dragon in October

What's the best way to experience the Tail of the Dragon? We will roll into the area either late Friday or early Saturday morning.
The plan would be to ride it on Monday or Tuesday while the usage is less.
Any suggestions on where to stay?
Other short/less populated rides for the weekend? Other sites for the lady?

Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 07:25 AM
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I would recommend riding it both up and then back down. Almost like two totally different rides. Would end up at bottom and buy whatever there where selection is good. Fro your info there will be several places along the way where your pics will be taken You can go online and buy some if you like.
When reaching the bottom of the dragon HWY 28 turns to the left. This is known as Moonshiner 28. Personally I like it better than the dragon but that's just me. about 20 miles or so down Hwy 28 in the Iron Horse Inn. I would stay there if my wife was with me. Very nice place. Need to call and make reservations as they may possibly be booked. Many other places in Robbinsville that are motorcycle friendly.
Instead of turning on Hwy 28 another very nice ride is going further south on 129 and then going east over the Cherhola Skyway to Tn. When in Tn towards the end of the ride there is a road that turns back to the left and goes about 4-5 to a really nice waterfall called Bald River Falls.
Cherehola Skyway comes out on Tn Hwy68. Go south on 68 till you get to 64/74 then go East back to Hwy 129 in Murphy NC
Another ride that is my personal favorite and we do every year takes the better part of a day but is well worth it. Take 28 E to t 23 E to Waynesville. Then take 209 to Hot Springs NC AWESOME RIDE and beautiful Scenery. Be sure and Eat at the smokey Mtn Cafe. Many other great rides but those are my favorites. Have a great time and let us know how it goes!

P.S Tn side of the Mtn or much more crowded than the NC side.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 09:11 AM
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So many roads, not enough time.
Cokerb provided a lot of great info and good roads.
Going both directions on the ToD and Cherohala is good.
Sometimes I go NW on the Dragon jump on Foothills pkwy, jump on Little River rd
to US441(no big rigs) to Clingman's Dome(highest point in TN) then US441 to BRP.
Forty miles of BRP (from southern end) takes you to the highest point on the BRP(Richland Balsam)
NC28 Moonshiner is an interesting ride, several falls around Highlands.
ToD has more maps and info, this general map will get you to the site.

Robbinsville(nearest town to ToD) and Richland Balsam marked.
Zoom in a step and look at the squiggly roads.
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Last edited by Hans&Feet; 08-28-2016 at 09:32 AM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Good ideas and great information, keep the suggestions coming.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 12:33 PM
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Fontana Village is a decent place to stay, and it is close to the dragon.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 01:19 PM
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TWO WHEEL Motor Inn just south of Robbinsville. Nothing fancy, nice accomodations. Between each room is a lockable out of the weather cubbyhole for the bikes. Nice, accomodating people running it. Tenn. side of Cherohola has the cheapest gas. From Robbinsville, to do the Cherohola/ Dragon loop one way will take about 3-3 1/2 hrs. with a few stops for pix, stretching, seeing the sights, gas, food, ? and the required stop at the end for souvenirs, LOL.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 02:51 PM
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There are SO many fantastic roads! You'll need to plan routes! Sometimes they crisscross, depending on where you're going and where you're coming from.

As far as the Tail of the Dragon... just ride it whatever speed you are comfortable at and enjoy it! There are many other roads just as twisty... but not as famous. Hwy 28 gets just as twisty in many places too.

If I have a 4 day adventure planned... I'll usually pick a different direction each day... north, south, east, west. Even then it's hard to get it all in (from just this area alone)

Deals Gap is a crossroad. You can go two different directions, and spend most of your day doing it. I typically take 129 Dragon north to Foothills Pkwy, to Little River Rd, and loop back around through Smoky Mountain Natl park! That is a fantastic loop you DO NOT want to miss. But if you go the other way and get on Hwy 28 at Deals Gap.. you really want to take it ALL the way to Highlands.. to the waterfalls! This route is BY far my favorite.. another route you don't want to miss! Be sure to stop at Fontana Dam observation deck along the way. Hwy 28 is some of the BEST riding you will do in the area, and is quite diversified on style and flavor, but the last 20 miles coming into Highlands is OFF THE CARTS!!! Rock walls, drop offs, and waterfalls are outstanding!

Sometimes your destination may require you to backtrack, or take an alternate route to complete the loop. From Highlands you can continue on 64 east for more amazing riding.. and either go 107 north at Cashiers (another great ride thru Lake Glennview)... or continue east for a while and possibly pick up the Blue Ridge coming back, or back track a little on 64 and take the less known Wahah Road route across the Nantahala Natl forest, back to 74 and another nice river ride back, another favorite of mine! There's a cool little lunch stop on the top at beautiful Nantahala Lake! This lake supplies the Nantahala river for some great white-water rafting. The route is very tight and less traveled. I've done all these routes with many different variations.. just depends on where you need to end up at the end of the day.

The Cherohala is a MUST! I usually take 74/64 west along the Ocoee river in Tenn (beautiful ride), then backtrack a little and take 68 north to Telico Plains... then east on the Cherohala. Be sure to stop at Bald River Falls for a great photo op with your bike! Depending on how long each day you plan to ride... each route will essentially crisscross on 129 near the Dragon. Just the little ride up from Robbinsville is great! This is some of the BEST riding you can do!

I've done many 250 "mountain mile" rides (with short stops) ... but it will fill up MOST of your day. "Mountain miles" in twistier routes average about 30mph (with stops)... so a 250 mile planned route may take you 8-10 hours to complete. By then, you'll be ready to rest up, for your next day's ride!

Plan your routes! You can NOT see it all in one day!

Once you master this area... there are SO many more!


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Last edited by Mmusicman; 08-28-2016 at 03:20 PM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 08:08 AM
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The Dragon is on my to do list. Hope to go early spring.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Curt E View Post
The Dragon is on my to do list. Hope to go early spring.
Don't go too early, it probably will be winter above 3000 feet..
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Hans&Feet View Post
Don't go too early, it probably will be winter above 3000 feet..
We had ice on the windshields 2nd week in May - two years ago.
So, yes.

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