The nation’s scariest road is right here in North Carolina. And no, it isn’t Charlotte’s Brookshire Freeway at rush hour.
This honor comes as no surprise to my wife, who has white-knuckled this stretch of mountain asphalt as a passenger several times. She never once enjoyed it the way I did. She has vowed never to go back.
The Tail of the Dragon is tucked between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest near the North Carolina/Tennessee border. With its 318 sharp curves packed into just 11 miles, the nation’s scariest road is a popular destination for motorcyclists and driving enthusiasts.
Officially it’s known by its government name — US 129 near Deals Gap, NC. It draws literally thousands of visitors each year, especially in the spring and summer months. It’s about four hours west of Charlotte.
The Tail of the Dragon beat out several other harrowing roads to claim the top spot on the scary list. For example, the famous Colorado road that goes to the top of Pike’s Peak only made it to number four. But if you don’t want to drive four hours just to get to a place to do more driving, I recommend North Carolina’s 226A. Known as the Diamondback by motorcycle riders, it runs through Little Switzerland in McDowell and Mitchell Counties. 226A delivers plenty of hairpin turns and quite a climb in elevation. Plus, it’s only 2 hours from Charlotte.