Start at the town of Chilhowee. Take Foothills Parkway northeast for 27 km and then onto U.S. 321 for 13 km. Veer onto E Lamar Alexander Pkwy into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and continuing along Laurel Creek Rd 20 km to reach Cades Cove. Complete half of the Cades Cove Loop Rd until you reach the visitors’ center on the far west extreme of the circuit (or else, ride the full loop and then come back to this point).
Depart Cades Cove Loop on Forge Creek Rd. This is a fun, off-tarmac romp through forested hills that ultimately deposits you square in the middle of US-129, or Tail of the Dragon. Watch for oncoming kamikazis and merge left onto Tail of the Dragon. After 7.5 km you’ll reach Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort. Get a cold drink here and then it’s back onto US-129 north to get the full Tail of the Dragon experience back to where we started in Chilhowee.