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THE SNAKE

If you go on line and research "The Snake", you will find several different opinions as to what roads or routes constitute riding The Snake. The first time I road The Snake, I stopped at Shady Valley Country Store and spent some time talking with the couple that has owned the store for the past five years. I was told by them, and given a map to show the route containing the 489 curves which they advertise, that The Snake is a ribbon-shaped route, similar in shape to the magnetic ribbons seen on cars. Since this couple owns the store, as well as, copyrights to artwork, publish a map and designs pertaining to The Snake, I choose to accept their version of what the official route for The Snake actually is. According to them, one end of the ribbon begins on Route 421 after you cross the bridge over Holston Lake and enter Cherokee National Forest. From there you continue on past the intersection at Shady Valley, and continue on to Mountain City, TN. Make a left on Route 91 to do the top of the ribbon, go through Laurel Bloomery and continue on to Route 133 at Satherland. Make another left, and take Route 133 southwest back to Shady Valley. If you continue straight through that intersection you are back on Route 91, and the other end of the ribbon's tail is when you enter Buladeen, about 8 or 9 miles from Shady Valley.

Interestingly, one version of what The Snake consists of is, and I have not ridden it yet but plan to, Route 421 from Berea, KY to Boone, NC. You start out on Route 421 near Berea (if you are going to ride it going south) and pass through a couple of sections of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Route 421 crosses into and through the southwestern tip of Virginia and into Tennessee. From there, take Route 421 through the Cherokee National Forest, past Shady Valley and Mountain City, into North Carolina and ends at Boone.

I will tell you that the sections of road with the 489 curves are similar to riding The Dragon, The Devil's Triangle, or many other roads in the area with their sharp curves and switchbacks, most of which include changing elevations while in those curves. I do not recommend this road for inexperienced riders.

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