Tail of the Dragon Brochure

A Short History of the Area Roads

NOTE: Numbers designate which area the roads and busi- nesses are located.

The Southern Appalachian Moun- tains historically have been a difficult place to settle and survive. Wildlife once dominated. Buffalo, deer, and elk carved rough trails into the desolate and dense forests. The Native Americans then fol- lowed these routes that offered not only access to food and water, but also pro- vided the easiest paths to traverse avoid- ing the steepest slopes. In the late 1700s English troops fol- lowed the same paths to establish forts. Trappers and explorers soon arrived. Native Americans clashed with these early invaders and later with set- tlers moving into their hunting grounds. The confrontations were often bloody. The Cherokee were relocated to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. Some remained hiding in the dense forests and remote coves as white families began to settle the mountains. It was a rugged life for all, but these strong people survived the hardships and today live together in peace. The Civil War brought more blood- shed as brothers fought against brothers. Troops and gangs patrolled the same ani- mal tracks that had been worn centuries before. The herds of wild animals, once prolific, had nearly disappeared. The foot trails, now widened with the use of wagons, remained crude and difficult to traverse, especially in winter until the early 1900s. With the advent of the automobile improvements came, first with gravel and then pavement. Interstates and 4-lane limited access highways have consumed many of these great, twisting two-lane adventures and today threaten even more. But there are still some of these roads from the past that have barely survived. Come and enjoy these great roads while you can. They may not be here in a few more years.

Bald River Falls

Cheoah Rafting

Cherohala Skyway

Dry Falls

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