Citico-Dragon Loop

Maples Springs Overlook, Deal's Gap, Greenback Castle

This segment starts and ends at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, Maryville, TN.

The route is a mix of twisty paved roads, rough gravel roads, mountain climbing dirt/rocky surfaces, and smooth well-maintained gravel roads. The trip out of Maryville is some of the finest country roads in Tennessee, as well as a stop at the Greenback Castle, a local oddity. Next, you’ll want to remember Marble and Misty Roads for your next trip, two excellent roads. Soon a short trip along Route 360 gets your blood pumping, you may want to top off with gas at the Shell at the corner of 411 and 360. It will be a while before you see another gas stop. Next Citico Road runs along the Citico River which is a well-stocked trout stream. The Tennessee Trout Hatchery in Tellico Plains stocks the rivers each Thursday in season. Make sure to get the special daily trout stamp and bring your trout gear. There are rustic campsites all along Citico Creek, just call the Cherokee National Forest ranger to book.  We take a little detour off of Citico Creek towards Far Gap on Cold Springs and Doublecamp Creek roads. Fasten your helmets tight, these roads will challenge your dirt riding skills, as the surface changes up and down the mountain. Citico Creek Rd ends at the Cherohala Skyway at the National Campground Indian Boundary. Stop at the campground and eat your lunch along the Lake. Take the Cherohala into North Carolina and turn on the dirt again at Old 81 (Big Santeetlah road) which is the original Cherohala Skyway that ends at the Joyce Kilmer Parkway. When you enter Joyce Kilmer Nature Preserve, you will make a 10-mile loop up to Maple Springs overlook, perhaps one of the most beautiful views of North Carolina mountains you can find, not to mention a challenging road. The views are great, sit, and enjoy for a while. From there you run through Joyce Kilmer to two of the best warm-up twisty roads you’ll find before the Dragon. Yellow Creek and Old Field Gap roads, none are better. Next passing by Tapoco Lodge and Deal’s Gap before going through the famous Dragon Tail. The turn-by-turn directions contain optional stops along the way.

Note: Drive times rely on road conditions, closures, and speed on dirt roads. Your drive time will vary based on these factors. Due to road closures, the map may be briefly changed, but the turn-by-turn instructions remain accurate.

Citico Dragon Loop

  1. Start at Smoky Mountain H-D
  2. Head east on W Lamar Alexander Pkwy (US-321 N). Go for 0.3 mi.
  3. Turn right onto Ross Dr. Go for 0.2 mi.
  4. Turn right onto Big Springs Rd. Go for 1.2 mi.
  5. Turn left onto Big Springs Rd. Go for 5.4 mi.
  6. Turn left onto Marble Hill Rd. Go for 1.0 mi.
  7. Turn left onto Marble Hill Rd. Go for 0.6 mi.
  8. Turn slightly right onto Marble Hill Rd. Go for 0.5 mi.
  9. Turn left onto Misty Valley Rd. Go for 1.5 mi.
  10. Turn right onto Kirk Rd. Go for 0.2 mi.
  11. Turn right onto Kirk Rd. Go for 0.4 mi.
  12. Continue on Meadow Rd. Go for 0.3 mi.
  13. Turn left onto Sheets Hollow Rd. Go for 1.7 mi.Turn slightly left onto Brooks Rd. Go for 1.7 mi.
  14. Turn left onto Highway 95 N (TN-95). Go for 0.2 mi.
  15. Turn right onto Sinking Creek Rd. Go for 1.1 mi.
  16. Continue on Peterson Rd. Go for 1.8 mi.
  17. Turn left onto E Coast Tellico Pkwy. Go for 2.8 mi.
  18. Turn right onto US Highway 411 S (US-411 S). Go for 2.7 mi.
  19. Turn left onto Highway 360 (TN-360). Go for 7.2 mi.
  20. Turn left onto Citico Rd. Go for 18.0 mi.
  21. Turn left onto Cold Spring Rd. Go for 8.9 mi.
  22. Turn slightly right onto Doublecamp Creek Rd. Go for 6.3 mi.
  23. Turn left onto Citico Rd. Go for 4.0 mi.
  24. Turn slightly left onto Forest Service Rd 345. Go for 1.2 mi.
  25. Turn left onto Cherohala Skwy (TN-165). Go for 9.5 mi.
  26. Continue on Cherohala Skwy (NC-143). Go for 1.7 mi.
  27. Turn left onto Big Santeetlah Rd (NC-81). Go for 10.8 mi.
  28. Turn left onto Joyce Kilmer Rd. Go for 2.3 mi.
  29. Turn slightly right onto Maple Springs Overlook. Go for 4.5 mi.
  30. Optional stop at the Maple Springs Overlook.
  31. Make a U-Turn onto Maple Springs Overlook. Go for 4.5 mi.
  32. Turn left onto Joyce Kilmer Rd. Go for 3.6 mi.
  33. Turn slightly right onto Joyce Kilmer Rd. Go for 1.8 mi.
  34. Turn left onto Santeetlah Dam Rd. Go for 0.6 mi.
  35. Turn left onto Tapoco Rd (US-129). Go for 0.8 mi.
  36. Turn right onto Yellow Creek Rd. Go for 2.3 mi.
  37. Turn left onto Old Field Gap Rd. Go for 4.3 mi.
  38. Turn sharp left onto Meadow Branch Rd. Go for 1.9 mi.
  39. Turn right onto Tapoco Rd (US-129). Go for 2.7 mi.
  40. Optional stop Deal’s Gap.
  41. Turn left onto Tapoco Rd (US-129). Go for 0.7 mi.
  42. Continue on US-129. Go for 24.5 mi.
  43. Optional stop at Calderwood Dam Overlook and US 129 Dragon Outpost.
  44. Turn left onto Garland Rd. Go for 1.9 mi.
  45. Turn right onto Big Gully Rd. Go for 0.8 mi.
  46. Turn left onto Tomotley Rd. Go for 1.6 mi.
  47. Turn right onto Howard School Rd. Go for 1.1 mi.
  48. Turn slightly left onto Lee Shirley Rd. Go for 1.4 mi.
  49. Turn left toward Lee Shirley Rd. Go for 217 ft.
  50. Continue on Lee Shirley Rd. Go for 0.1 mi.
  51. Continue on Lee Shirley Rd. Go for 0.1 mi.
  52. Optional stop at Greenback Castle.
  53. Make a U-Turn onto Lee Shirley Rd. Go for 0.2 mi.
  54. Turn left onto Lee Shirley Rd. Go for 0.2 mi.
  55. Turn right onto Trigonia Rd N. Go for 0.6 mi.
  56. Turn right onto Niles Ferry Rd. Go for 1.3 mi.
  57. Continue on TN-95 S (TN-95). Go for 0.8 mi.
  58. Turn right onto Tarwater Rd. Go for 1.3 mi.
  59. Continue on Lou Goddard Ln. Go for 0.9 mi.
  60. Turn right onto Morganton Rd. Go for 7.1 mi.
  61. Turn left onto County Farm Rd. Go for 1.0 mi.
  62. Turn left onto William Blount Dr (TN-335). Go for 0.1 mi.
  63. Turn right onto County Farm Rd. Go for 0.3 mi.
  64. Turn left onto County Farm Rd. Go for 0.4 mi.
  65. Turn left onto Big Springs Rd. Go for 259 ft.
  66. Turn right onto S Old Glory Rd. Go for 0.6 mi.
  67. Turn right onto W Lamar Alexander Pkwy (US-321 N). Go for 0.7 mi.
  68. Arrive at Smoky Mountain H-D.