While some thrill seekers are constantly on the prowl for bigger, faster, and loopier roller coasters, others can’t get enough of the classic wooden coaster variety. Whether it’s the nostalgia of simpler thrill rides, the lack of inversions and loops, or just a personal preference, wooden coasters still have a place in many vacationers’ hearts. Here are five of some of the best wooden coasters you can find in the U.S.
Lightning Rod, Dollywood, Pigeon Forge,Tennessee
Located in one of America’s most beloved theme parks, Lightning Rod is the cleverly named woody that delights both old-school coaster enthusiasts, as well as hot rod lovers. While it just launched this year, it’s already gaining traction for being among the best in its class. With a 165-foot drop, three-and-a-half G-forces, and a max speed of 73 miles per hour, Lightning Rod will likely be your next favorite wooden coaster.
El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ
Six Flags has long made a name for themselves for always making bigger, faster, and scarier roller coasters, making them the top name in exciting vacation adventures. El Toro brings a little slice of the southwest to the east coast with Spanish-style architecture, wagon wheels, and even bull heads on the front of the ride’s vehicles. Your bull will try and buck you off the multiple steep hills and hits 4.4 Gs of force, a height of 181 feet, and its largest drop sending riders crashing down 176 feet.
Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce, Bristol, Connecticut
Boulder Dash has no inversions, tops out 110 feet and “only” hits 60 miles an hour. And yet, the Lake Compounce wooden coaster is consistently ranked one of the best woodies out there. Maybe it’s Boulder Dash’s simplicity that riders find attractive, or maybe it’s because the ride goes for a solid two and a half minutes of family friendly fun that people love. Either way, this coaster mixes laughs and thrills with a 115-foot drop and has been voted the best several times since its initial launch in 2000.
The Voyage, Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana
Holiday World, and its adjoining water park, Splashin’ Safari, has been delighting park goers for 70 years with its theme celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Fourth of July. Holiday World has three wooden coasters, but the Voyage is arguably the park’s best. Located in the Thanksgiving section, the Voyage offers riders three steep drops, the biggest of which is 154 feet. The coaster’s top speed is 67.4 miles per hour, and it certainly gives you a lasting voyage of 2 minutes and 45 seconds of ride time. Best of all, without the use of inversions, you won’t lose your holiday dinner on this fun wooden coaster.
Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri
Any trip to Branson would be remiss without heading to Silver Dollar City. With an old west theme, 30 family friendly rides, shows, fun houses, and more. Outlaw Run is one of its more exciting rides, combining the appeal of wooden coasters with the thrills of steel coasters. Although not as tall as others, Outlaw Run has a 162-foot drop, runs just shy of 70 MPH, and has three inversions. It also has one of the steepest inclines at 81 degrees, making for a thrilling run for any outlaw.