Ride the Wing of the Dragon: Missouri Route 185

Road winding through a forest
November 3, 2022

A section of Missouri Route 185 is known by local motorcycle riders as the Wing of the Dragon. While not as curvy as the nearby Tail of the Dragon, it’s a great motorcycle ride through some beautiful countryside. You can easily add the Lazy 8 motorcycle route to your Missouri motorcycle adventure, as the two rides connect in the town of Potosi.

Navigating the Wing of the Dragon

The Wing of the Dragon is the southern section of Missouri Route 185. The southern terminus of both Route 185 and the Wing of the Dragon is just northwest of Potosi. After 35 winding miles, the northern terminus of the Wing of the Dragon is Oak Grove Village, Missouri, where Route 185 meets historic U.S. Route 66 and Interstate 44.

Riding the Wing of the Dragon from the south

From the city of Potosi, take Missouri Route 8 west for a couple miles. Missouri Route 185 bears right at the Y-intersection just outside of town. On this section of Missouri Route 185, there are no towns and few crossroads, so you'll want to pick up any fuel or other amenities you need at either end of the route.

Terrain on the Wing of the Dragon

Missouri Route 185 meanders through a geologic area known as the Salem Plateau. This area is the largest region of foothills between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains—perfect for exciting, curving motorcycle routes.

The Wing of the Dragon route map

Our interactive route map includes the Wing of the Dragon’s beginning and end, along with two stops we encourage you to make as you ride northwest from Potosi. Be sure to make additional stops along this scenic route, and combine it with other Missouri motorcycle rides.

Weather on Missouri Route 185

To help you get a sense of what sorts of weather to expect as you take on the Wing of the Dragon, here are the monthly temperature and precipitation averages for Potosi, Missouri:

Chart with climate data for Potosi, Missouri.

Motorcycle safety tips

Missouri Route 185 is a well-maintained road that serves as the primary local route between Potosi and Oak Grove Village. Thanks to its rugged terrain and the lush deciduous forests bracketing the road, this route also makes for a wonderful fall foliage motorcycle ride. But make sure to keep your eyes—and your focus—on the road ahead. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind as you ride the Wing of the Dragon:

  • Stay alert for wildlife and farm animals crossing the road.

  • Expect traffic ranging from farm equipment and school buses to RVs and slow-moving cars and trucks.

  • During peak foliage season, drivers may be distracted by the vibrant colors above and around them. Give yourself plenty of following distance to respond to unexpected stops or turns.

  • Be cautious and watch your speed around corners to account for your limited visibility.

Stops to make along the Wing of the Dragon

One of the biggest selling points of the Wing of the Dragon is that it passes through an area without major commercial development—just you, your bike, and the road ahead. That said, there's still plenty to see along this route. Here are two outdoor recreational areas to consider visiting.

Pea Ridge Conservation Area

Pea Ridge Conservation Area is divided into four different sections, with Route 185 passing through the largest. This conservation area is known for its hardwood forests, streams, dolomite cliffs, and variety of native flora and fauna. It offers you plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping.

Meramec State Park

Most famous for the Fisher CaveMeramec State Park has more than 40 caves carved into its bedrock. The area is also home to beautiful hardwood forests, making it a major recreation destination in the area. Be sure to stop and enjoy some hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating on the Meramec River.

Related links

Are you getting the most value out of your motorcycle insurance? Check out the motorcycle insurance discounts we offer—you might qualify for more than you realize.

As you ride through undeveloped areas without many pull-offs—like the Wing of the Dragon—you still need to communicate with your fellow riders. Bluebooth®-enabled motorcycle helmets can help your group stay connected, informed, and alert on the road.

The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.

*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.

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