I (chad) have been riding motorcycles in the Smoky Mountains since 1988. Holy cow, three decades! Tara and I have been riding since we met in 2012, and have made several trips to the smokies and trailered up 2 different bikes (before Lucile – our 2017 Indian Roadmaster – we had a Yamaha Roadstar). We LOVE riding in the Smokies! My father rode motorcycles as long as I can remember. He and my mom still ride to this day on their Goldwing in Franklin, NC, and they know ALL of the good rides in the area (there really aren't any bad ones).
Suffice to say, we've ridden the Smokies quite a bit! But, in all of that ride time, we've NEVER ridden the most famous route in the area (some might say the entire US, but definitely east of the Mississippi!): the TAIL OF THE DRAGON! The Dragon is an isolated 11 mile stretch of U.S. 129 with 318 curves packed into it! Those 318 curves are NOT for a new rider and have claimed the lives of many over the years. In fact, the road even has it's own death map and tree of shame! The tree of shame has parts from motorcycle crashes collected over the years, standing as a testament to the unforgiving nature of the road.
However, for the experienced rider taking it easy, it's an AMAZING ride! We were in no hurry and rode it twice (up and back) while in the area and loved every minute of it!