Twelve Intriguing & Little-Known Facts About Deals Gap


The one and only Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort in mid season form.

Deals Gap, North Carolina is a world-renowned motorcycle destination drawing visitors from all over the world for a motorcycle or driving experience that will last a lifetime. The thrilling 318 curves in 11 miles of “The Dragon”, stunning scenery and mild mountain weather makes the road a unique place. While many people know about the road itself, and our resort, there are quite a few interesting, little-known facts.

1. US 129 “The Dragon” began as a path traversed by Native Americans. The now paved roadway was once a trail utilized by the Cherokee for hundreds of years. In fact, archeological evidence has been found that nearby-Cades Cove was a Cherokee hunting ground before European settlers ran them out.

2. Deals Gap is named after the Deal family, dating back 200 years ago. The Deal family established an outpost at the North Carolina/Tennessee state line—in close proximity to where Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort stands today.

3. There’s a Civil War gravesite on The Dragon. Have you heard of a turn on The Dragon called Rebels Revenge? The turn, located at the 6.5-mile marker, has a trail leading to the grave of Bas Shaw, a Union soldier killed by the Confederates. More unmarked graves likely exist along The Dragon.

4. A dirt road, Parson Branch, connects The Dragon to Cades Cove. A popular turn on The Dragon is Parsons Branch, located at mile marker four, and dates back to the 1800s. The turn is marked with “do not enter” signs since it’s a one-way dirt road beginning in Cades Cove. The road is about 8 miles long. Visitors to The Dragon often find this turn to be an ideal place to pull over and cool off, as there’s a cold stream. The road is closed to vehicles but open to bikes, horses and hikers.

5. Some say The Dragon is haunted. At night, some visitors have claimed to hear and see ghost-like apparitions. While this is likely a figment of the imagination, there’s been plenty of blood shed to account for ghosts between Cherokee and Civil War battles, grave sites and early settlers meeting their demise.

6. Four feature films have been filmed along the road. Can you recognize The Dragon in these films?

• Thunder Road (1958)

• Two Lane Backdrop (1971)

• The Fugitive (1993)

• In Dreams (1998)

7. In 2015, the AMC TV show Ride with Norman Reedus was filmed at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort. Norman Reedus, known for his role on the Walking Dead, premiered a motorcycle television show for AMC filmed in 2015 called Ride with Norman Reedus. In one episode, Reedus visits Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort and checks out the Tree of Shame, The Dragon and then watches the Fiddies 4 Life races—our original pit bike racing series.

8. Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort has tennis courts…and horse stables. That’s right—we have tennis courts and horse stables. The tennis courts are located up the gravel path near the bathrooms for campers. If you’re a tennis enthusiast, you can bring your tennis racket! The covered area building in our parking lot normally used for washing bikes is actually a horse stable.

9. Our famous “Tree of Shame” began in the 1980s as a shrine to those “bitten by the dragon.” The “Tree of Shame” is a large tree in our parking lot with bike and car parts nailed and hanging from it. When visitors are “bitten by the dragon” or wreck, they often add their parts to the tree. It’s become a popular spot for photos.


The legendary Tree of Shame. Where Dragon bitten motorcycle parts collect as a lesson learned or an unforgettable experience.

10. The speed limit was once 55 mph. It’s hard to believe the speed limit was once 55 mph as many riders and drivers find the 30 mph speed limit a challenge! The Dragon does boast over 100 paved pull-offs where slower traffic is encouraged to move over for those moving at a faster clip.

11. Deals Gap is home to an abundance of wildlife. Have you noticed any wildlife while visiting Deals Gap? Depending on the time of year, visitors may see wildlife like wild pigs, black bears, deer, coyotes, foxes and a variety of birds and smaller animals. Beavers and otters can also be seen in some of the streams and ponds. We encourage visitors to be careful with having food out, especially when camping as it attracts bears. While cougars are said to no longer live in this area of the country, alleged sightings have been made—as well as armadillo sightings!

12. The Overlook is perfect for viewing not just in the daytime but also at night. The Overlook is a popular place to pull over and admire the scenic mountains. At nighttime, the Overlook transforms into the perfect place for star-gazing. The pitch-black sky, on a clear night, is great for viewing shooting stars and you can even make out the Milky Way.

Contact DGMR

17548 Tapoco Road, Robbinsville, NC, 28771.
US & Canada: 800-889-5550 | International: 828-498-2231

We Have It All

Welcome to the Official site for Deals Gap, Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, The Dragon, and official and original Dragon t-shirts and items. Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort was established in 1981 at the head of the Dragon and quickly grew into a hub for all things Dragon, including our motel to stay at as you discover the area or ride the roads, a place to eat, have a beer or just hang out and watch the bikes and people. Thanks for visiting, and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us or come on by.

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