Looking for roller coaster thrills while visiting The Great Smoky Mountains? We’ve got you covered with a list of coasters for all ages and all thrill seekers. There are no less than 14 roller coasters, including 9 at world famous Dollywood.

The first roller coaster in the United States opened at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, in New York on June 16, 1884. That’s right – 1884! Called the switchback railway, the coaster went 6 miles an hour for 600 feet.

Since then, roller coaster enthusiasts have been building bigger, faster coasters, along with family friendly rides all over the country.

Check out more on the history of roller coasters.

Wears Valley

One of the most famous roller coasters in the Smokies is Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, which is longest downhill ride in the United States, with over 1 mile of track.

Located at 867 Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster was named the Best Mountain Coaster 2020 in The Best of Pigeon Forge.

Another Wears Valley Road coaster is The Coaster at Goats on the Roof, which opened in 2019.


Located at 1341 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge
, Goats on the Roof is a unique shopping and goat watching/feeding experience. Visit the goats, eat some fudge and ice cream, ride the roller coaster.

Flying Coaster!

At Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud, adventure seeks will find a one-of-a-kind roller coaster/zip line. The Flying Ox is the world’s first cable-to-rail roller coaster. Riders start along a zipline cable that links into a roller coaster with the rider soaring through the air on the 1,000-foot-long ride that is more than 70 feet above the ground.

Check out our blog on the Lumberjack Feud. Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud & Adventure Park can be found at 2530 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, 865-366-3330. American Patriot Getaways has discount tickets for our guests!

Gatlinburg Roller Coasters

Rail Runner at Anakeesta

a woman on rail runner at anakeesta

Jump on the Rail Runner – a personal roller coaster on a single rail. The exhilarating ride begins with 1,600 feet of downhill twists and turns and ends with a scenic uphill ride back to the top of Anakeesta Mountain. With a 400 ft. elevation change and speeds of 25 mph, the coaster is the first one of its kind in the U.S.

Ride solo or tandem with a small child. Rail Runner carts feature back and headrests for a comfortable and safe ride. AND you set the speed on the ride with a controller break.

Read more about Anakeesta on our recent blog post.

This recent viral TikTok shows a visitor getting up close and personal with one of our most famous Smokies residents!

Ski Mountain Coaster at Ober

This ride begins with a 1000 ft tree-covered and relaxing ride to the top with spectacular and relaxing views. Once at the top, riders take control of their own speed for the next 2750 ft of turns, dips, zig-zags, corkscrews and G-force adventures.

Choose to leisurely cruise the coaster track or reach speeds up to 25 MPH, while hugging turns and dips down the mountain. Designed for comfort, the unique ADG Mountain Coaster carts provide a secure and comfortable ride with room for two riders. Their higher backrests and shorter brake levers allow for easier handling and control.

Read about Ober’s winter fun on our blog post.

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is another family-friendly thrill ride that lets the rider have control. “The single or double rider cars coast down the mountain on a specially-designed silent track.”

Find the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster at 306 Parkway, Gatlinburg (Traffic Light #2)

 Rowdy Bear Mountain Gravity Coaster

The Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster is a gravity propelled Alpine Coaster that reaches speeds up to 35 mph while it winds through the Woods of Rowdy Bear Mountain.
This is another coaster the rider controls.

Find the Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster at 386 Parkway, Gatlinburg.

Why we love roller coasters and how they affect our bodies

roller coaster upside down

Some scientists say those who love roller coasters are thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies. Others believe it is the attraction of how the rides affect our bodies – increased heart rate, fear, the need to hold close to the person you have taken on the ride.

Check out this Healthier Michigan study on how roller coasters affect the body. And this story in The Telegraph on finding true love by taking your date on a roller coaster date.

Personally, I love roller coasters. I find the scariest part is the anticipation – like when you are climbing to the top before any of the twist, turns and drops have begun.

Let’s find more roller coasters!

Dollywood, of Course!

Spend a day at Dollywood to take on multiple roller coasters, along with the rest of the famous theme park. The park offers everything from kiddy coasters to water coasters and super thrill rides.

Daredevil Falls

Venture into an abandoned logging camp for a one-of-a-kind boat expedition. Adventurous guides help riders navigate the way through some close calls with the bears and the old left-behind lumber machinery. Just when you catch your breath, your boat careens over a waterfall down a 60-foot drop at a heart-racing 50 mph! It is quite the thrill!

Wild Eagle

“America’s first wing coaster, the first ride of its kind in the U.S., is perched 21 stories above Dollywood and takes riders on a unique experience that feels as if they are actually soaring high above the Smoky Mountains.

Instead of having the train on the track, Wild Eagle® seats riders on either side so there is nothing but air above and below the rider. Whoa!

wild eagle roller coaster at dollywood

Lightning Rod

A wooden coaster “themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod.” Lightning Rod ® launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-foot track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.

Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, Lightning Rod rockets riders around its massive wooden structure on an adrenaline-charged lap through the trees in the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. During the ride, guests experience nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

Tennessee Tornado

Themed after an event when a mighty twister sweeps through an old Tennessee Mining Company. “A force of nature all its own, this triple spiral-looping coaster makes you feel like you’ve landed inside a funnel cloud as you zoom down a 128-foot drop through an actual mountain at speeds nearing 70 mph.”

Whistlepunk Chaser

A junior coaster that “throws thrilling twists and turns at Dollywood’s younger loggers, helping prepare them for the day they can join their parents aboard the award-winning Thunderhead wooden coaster.”

Blazing Fury is another themed coaster, this one set in as an out-of-control fire is just minutes away from engulfing the 1880s town. “Chaos ensues as the town’s residents, a cast of characters ranging from firefighters to gunslingers and damsels in distress, hurry to escape the blaze. Riders scream through town on this indoor roller coaster, taking each hill and curve with great speed as they try to outrun the fire.”  This kitschy ride is a remnant from the Silver Dollar City days – before Dollywood even existed!  It’s a fan favorite!

Firechaser Express is a family coaster also themed around a big blaze. With every big blaze in the Smokies, “there have always been a few brave souls willing to answer the call – heroes able to tame nature’s fury and preserve the Smokies for generations to come.” On FireChaser Express, “the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster – blasting riders forward and backward.”

Mystery Mine

Rollercoaster riders upsidedown on the Mystery Mine at Dollywood

“Find out on Dollywood’s Mystery Mine® steel coaster where a 1,811-foot track travels through an abandoned coal mine.  Uncertain encounters and amazing maneuvers await, including a hair-raising 95-degree, 85-foot vertical drop that plunges into darkness.”

Thunderhead

a wooden coaster located where an old sawmill once moved lumber out of the mountains at Thunderhead Gap.  This wild ride in the woods “stands tall among the mighty trees and takes advantage of the area’s rough and tumble terrain to create a daring ride featuring a 100-foot drop and a top speed of 55 mph.”

Book A Cabin for Your Next Adventure

Covered deck with fireplace and mountain view

After your adventures upside down, backward, sideways and straight down – you’ll want a relaxing place to unwind and tell the tales of who was the bravest and whose screams were the loudest.

American Patriot Getaways has you covered with plenty of cabins to choose from in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.Give our friendly and helpful reservations team a call at 800-204-5169 now to book your stay and all your adventures.

We look forward to you booking your mountain vacation with us in the Smokies again soon!  Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest area news and happenings.

Check out our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide for more adventures. Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.

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