April 19, 2024 | Jane O'Shea

Scariest Roller Coasters in Every State


Thrill Seekers Unite!

Calling all thrill-seekers! If you have a roller coaster bucket list, then this article is for you. If you don’t, well, you should.

These roller coasters have a reputation for inducing fear and exhilaration. Based on user ratings and reviews, these are the best roller coasters you’ll find in each of America’s 50 states.

rollercoaster and woman split image

What is the scariest roller coaster in America?

Kingda Ka at Six Flags Adventure Park in Jackson, New jersey tops the list for scariest roller coast in the U.S.

This intense ride uses a hydraulic launch to shoot riders out at 206 km/h in 3.5 seconds to a height of 456 feet at a 90-degree angle, and back down in a 270-degree spiral, followed by a 129-foot camel hump hill.

image of Kingda ka rollercoasterdiffusor, Flickr

A Need for Speed in America

Five out of the 10 fastest roller coasters in the world are located in the United States. Not only that, the nation is also home to 7 of the 10 highest roller coasters in the world.

Now let’s get a closer look into each state’s best ride.

A view of the Raging Bull roller coasterRichard Cox, Flickr

Alabama: Rampage

Adrenaline junkies heading to Alabama’s Adventure Amusement Park go straight for the Rampage—a 120-foot-tall wooden roller coaster boasting a 102-foot drop.

Not only is it huge, it’s fast too, with a top speed of 56 mph.

Rollercoaster Rampage in AlabamaMartin Lewison, Wikimedia Commons

Alaska: Master Blaster

Alaska doesn’t exactly have traditional roller coasters, but you can find scream-inducing rides at H2Oasis Indoor Water Park. The Master Blaster, known as a “water-powered roller coaster”.

After climbing about 50 stairs, you’ll board a tube that will launch you off the 43-foot-high Blast Off Station. The ride is fast, and shoots water at you on the way down, so hold on tight!

pipes of an aquapark or water parkFederico Rostagno, Shutterstock

Arizona: Desert Storm

The Desert Storm at Castles-n-Coasters in Phoenix features double upside-down loops, vertical drops and spins.

At 90-feet, it’s the tallest roller coaster in the state—but it’s only 90 seconds long, so enjoy the ride!

Image of Roller Coaster and souvenirs shopKevin Spencer, Flickr

Arkansas: X Coaster

Roller coaster enthusiasts visiting Hot Springs should get in line for Magic Springs Theme and Water Park’s X-Coaster.

Riders will get an unnerving thrill on the backward slow quarter-loop that has you hanging above the theme park before you suddenly whip around a 360-degree corkscrew.

yellow Roller coaster with peopleAndrzej Golik, Shutterstock

California: X2

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia upped its game and introduced X2—an innovative “fifth dimension” roller coaster that features 360-degree seats that actually extend on wings off the track which allows your body to flip fully around while the coaster dives and twists around turns and loops.

The entire roller coaster is madness that will leave you stuck in a constant scream the entire time.

people enjoying X2 roller coaster rideRobert V Schwemmer, Shutterstock

Colorado: Cliffhanger Roller Coaster

The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood is named the “highest elevation full-sized roller coaster in North America.”

It sits 7,160-feet high, offering fantastic views of the Colorado River before launching you at incredible speeds around cliff-side curves and heart-stopping drop offs.

Roller Coaster in funny amusement park.V_E, Shutterstock

Connecticut: Boulder Dash

Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce in Bristol is ranked as the fourth best wooden roller coaster of 2019 by Golden Ticket Awards.

This dramatic ride reaches a top speed of 60 mph, and whips passengers around a bumpy hillside with unexpected twists and excitement around every corner.

Roller coaster at Lake CompounceJeremy Thompso, Flickr

Delaware: SuperFlip 360

Delaware isn’t exactly bumpin’ with roller coasters; in fact, you won’t find any in the state. But the next best thing is the SuperFlip 360 at Funland in Rehoboth Beach.

Reviews claim it is the scariest ride in the state, whipping riders around 360-degrees, giving that stomach-dropping feeling you’d get on an actual roller coaster.

People having fun at 360 Super Flip roller coasterThe Washington Post, Getty Images

Florida: Tigris

Florida residents can’t agree on which of their roller coasters is the scariest. Sea World’s Manta and Kraken are top favorites, but Busch Gardens’ Tigris in Tampa Bay takes the cake.

As the tallest launch coaster in Florida, not only is it high, it takes riders forward, backward, though loops and over drops—all at a top speed of 60 mph.

Image of Tigris Roller CoasterAdog, Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Goliath

Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell is dubbed a “hyper-coaster”, and for good reason. According to reviews, “the first drop will have you rethinking your decision to get on it.”

It’s the perfect roller coaster to end your day with, leaving you with your heart racing all the way home.

Roller coaster Goliath at Six Flags Magic MountainJeremy Thompson, Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii: Shaka

The Aloha State isn’t exactly known for roller coasters, but they do have a heart-stopping ride at Wet ‘n Wild in Oahu.

The Shaka is described as a “wet/dry attraction”, with a top speed of 41mph and a 36-foot drop, this ride easily provides that zero-gravity feeling.

image of red-white roller coasterMarcio Jose Bastos Silva, Shutterstock

Idaho: Aftershock

The Aftershock at Silverwood Theme Park was voted “Top Hanging Coaster” by Travel Channel back in 2012.

This 191-foot towering ride will take you on extreme drops and loops that will propel you forward and pull you backward with intensity.

Aftershock Roller coaster behind the treesMatthew Nelson, Flickr

Illinois: Goliath

The Six Flags Great America outside of Chicago boasts the Goliath coaster—which will slowly lift you up and then suddenly drop you down a super-steep slope.

This giant beast features impressive heights, astonishing speeds and stomach-tightening inversions.

image of Goliath roller coaster in IllinoisJeremy Thompson, Wikimedia Commons

Indiana: The Voyage

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in the town of Santa Clause is home to The Voyage, a wooden “out and back” coaster with steep drops, underground tunnels, and exhilarating turns.

Reviews claim The Voyage is the most exciting roller coaster in the state.

image of The Voyage roller coasterPatrick McGarvey, Flickr

Iowa: The Monster

If you’re in Iowa and looking for a terrifying experience, head to Adventureland in Altoona for a spin on The Monster.

This intense ride offers loops, corkscrews, and even something called “an Immelmann”—the name given to a feature where a loop looks like a traditional vertical before inverting at its peak.

image of The Monster roller coaster at LowaTheCatalyst31, Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Dragon Coaster

There aren’t many amusement parks in Kansas, but the scariest ride can be found at All Star Adventures in Wichita. The Dragon Coaster offers curves, dips and turns that are sure to excite the tiny thrill seeker.

Dragon shaped roller coasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

Kentucky: T3

Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville has a roller coaster with the tagline, “The Next Generation of Fear,” which says a lot in itself.

The T3 offers several terrifying loops and inversions, flipping riders around at top speeds across the track.

image of T3 Roller CoasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

Louisiana: Ragin’ Cajun

Dixie Landin’/Blue Bayou Water Park in Baton Rouge is home to the Ragin’ Cajun, the state’s most scream-inducing roller coaster.

This massive steel structure features three inversions, a cobra roll, and a loop with a top speed of 47 mph.

image of Ragin’ Cajun roller coasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

Maine: Excalibur

If you’re in Maine you definitely want to check out Funtown Splashtown USA’s Excalibur—which holds the titles of both tallest and longest roller coaster in northern New England.

This colossal wooden roller coaster takes you high up over the trees offering incredible views before launching you through the track at intense speeds.

Image of Excalibur Roller CoasterMartin Lewison, Flickr

Maryland: Superman: Ride of Steel

At Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, the Ride of Steel is the most terrifying coaster in the state of Maryland.

This hyper-coaster stands at 205-feet with an out-of-this-world 200-foot drop.

Image of Superman Ride of Steel Roller coasterMartin Lewison, Flickr

Massachusetts: Superman The Ride

Massachusetts offers a ride with a similar name to Maryland, Superman The Ride, located at Six Flags New England, was voted #3 Best Roller Coaster of 2018.

Reviews claim its best feature to be the whopping 200-foot drop that will vacate your stomach contents.

A train of Superman roller coaster with people having funThomas Wagner, Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Shivering Timbers

Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon has the Shivering Timbers roller coaster—a massive structure that will have your heart pounding just looking at it.

Over a mile long, this coaster is known as the “crown jewel” of the park, and the long line up is said to be, “so worth it.”

image of Shivering Timbers roller coasterJeremy Thompson, Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Wild Thing

If you’re looking for thrills with a fantastic view, Valleyfair’s Wild Thing roller coaster in Shakopee is where you want to be.

This colossal green machine reaches a top speed of 74 mph—one of the fastest roller coasters on this list. It also offers impressive drops and a figure-eight helix that will take your fear to the next level.

Image of Valleyfair’s Wild Thing roller coasterRakesh A, Flickr

Mississippi: Backsplash

Mississippi is another state with limited roller coaster options. But the Backsplash at Geyser Falls in Choctaw will still get your heart pounding.

Backsplash is known to be both a roller coaster and a waterslide rolled into one, where riders use a two-person tube to share the exhilarating experience.

Orange Roller coaster with one loopAnna Frodesiak, Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: Outlaw Run

Silver Dollar City’s Outlaw Run will bring out that inner child scream in you.

This wooden roller coaster has a 162-foot drop and a double barrel roll. As of 2020, it’s the sixth fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, with a top speed of 68 mph.

Image of people riding on Outlaw Run roller coasterBranson Convention and Visitors Bureau, Flickr

Montana: The Shredder Xtreme

Once again, you won’t find any traditional roller coasters in Montana. But you will find The Shredder Xtreme at Big Sky Waterpark in Columbia Falls.

Known to be “the most chilling ride” there, this tube ride is the biggest slide in the park, and is said to be “extremely fast-paced” for a waterslide.

Image of colorful indoor roller coasterMartin Lewison, Flickr

Nebraska: Rockin’ Rapids

The closest thing you’ll find to a roller coaster in Nebraska is the Rockin’ Rapids at Fun-Plex in Omaha.

This ride is an impressive five stories tall with 1,200 feet of slide, offering riders a serious adrenaline rush.

image of Blue water slideMichael Coghlan, Flickr

Nevada: Canyon Blaster

Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is an incredible indoor attraction boasting a double-loop and a double-corkscrew while speeding through Adventuredome.

Riders claim to be “pleasantly surprised” by the thrill this ride offers considering it is located in an indoor theme park.

Image from inside the Canyon BlasterMeredith P., Flickr

New Hampshire: Untamed

If you’re looking for serious scares, the Untamed at Canobie Lake Park in Salem offers zero gravity rolls, banked turns, vertical drops, and loops that will have even the most experienced rider screaming.

This thrilling ride is known to be one of the best rides in New Hampshire.

Roller coaster at Canobie Lake ParkJeremy Thompson, Flickr

New Jersey: El Toro

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey is home to states most terrifying roller coaster, El Toro—according to some. Another close contender is Kingda Ka—which has earned the title of scariest roller coaster in the U.S. by many people.

El Toro was voted #1 in USA Today’s 10 Best Awards in 2022. This classic wooden coaster is nearly 19 stories high and launches riders down a sudden 176-foot drop at a 76-degree angle before speeding through the track at 70 mph.

A picture of El Toro Roller coastertenioman, Flickr

New Mexico: The Hurricane

The Hurricane in Wester Playland in Sunland, New Mexico is a steel windstorm-style coaster that only hits a top speed of 35 mph, but still has enough drops and g-force to impress the thrill-seekers of New Mexico.

Picture of Hurricane roller coaster at Western PlaylandMartin Lewison, Flickr

New York: Cyclone

The iconic Cyclone at Luna Park at Coney Island, located in Brooklyn, isn’t very tall or fast, but it is the second steepest wooden roller coaster in the world and offers an adrenaline-charged 85-foot plunge that sends you through drops, curves and 27 elevation variations.

This coaster has been in operation for more than 90 years—which adds a great deal of fear in itself.

image of people riding on The Cyclone Roller CoasterWally Gobetz, Flickr

North Carolina: Intimidator

The Intimidator—which debuts its new name, Thunder Striker in the 2024 season—at Carowinds in Charlotte is the state’s scariest roller coaster. Standing at a height of 232-feet, it certainly is intimidating.

This huge steel structure is known to have a smooth ride powering through the track at a whopping 80 mph.

Image of Intimidator Roller coasterBen Schumin, Flickr

North Dakota: Runaway Train

The Runaway Train in Super Slide Amusement Park in Bismarck is the state’s only roller coaster. Not very big, the structure stands just 18-feet high at its tallest peak.

But considering it’s the only roller coaster around, it takes the “scariest roller coaster” title by default.

image of Train roller coasterMichael Garnett, Flickr

Ohio: GateKeeper

The GateKeeper at Cedar Point in Sandusky is a roller coaster with wings. It turns passengers upside down a total of six times, while rapidly moving from side-to-side the entire time.

Cedar Point is known as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” so if this ride doesn’t do it for you, there’s plenty more to try.

Image of Gate Keeper Roller CoasterJeremy Thompson, Wikimedia Commmons

Oklahoma: Brain Drain

Another Six Flags franchise winner—the Brain Drain at Six Flags Frontier City in Oklahoma City loops passengers around a high speed, leaving them hanging for a bit in an effort to “drain the brain.”

Image of Brain Drain Roller coasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

Oregon: Adrenaline Peak

Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon introduced Adrenaline Peak in 2018, a roller coaster with three inversions and a chilling beyond-vertical first drop.

Not only is it fast, but the it’s extreme, with a 72-foot lift that you’ll want to brace yourself for.

image of Adrenaline Peak at Oaks Amusement ParkJeremy Thompson, Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: Steel Curtain

Looking for thrills in Pennsylvania? Head to Kennywood in Pittsburgh for the Steel Curtain, the park’s newest roller coaster.

This beauty offers a whopping nine inversions, one of which is known to be the tallest in the world at 197-feet.

Image of The Steel Curtain Roller CoasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

Rhode Island: Dragon Coaster

Rhode Island is another state with zero roller coasters, unfortunately. But the tiny Dragon Coaster at Atlantic Beach Park in Westerly is a favorite for kids.

It doesn’t cost much and it is sure to excite the littlest thrill-seekers.

Children’s dragon roller coasterDefense Visual Information Distribution Service, Picryl

South Carolina: Fury 325

Fury 325 at Carowinds in Fort Mill is technically located in both North and South Carolina, straddling the state line.

This terrifying coaster peaks at 325-feet and boasts a 190-foot barrel turn that is said to feel “death-defying.”

image of Fury 325 Roller CoasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

South Dakota: Rushmore Mountain Coaster

Rushmore Mountain Coaster at Rush Mountain Adventure Park in Keystone, South Dakota is a mountain coaster featuring one and two-person carts that whips riders around trees and, of course, the mountainside.

Interestingly, riders can control the speed, so if you want to slow down a bit, you can.

Screaming girl riding mountain roller coasterRSplaneta, Shutterstock

Tennessee: Wild Eagle

Wild Eagle at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee makes the list of scariest rides because of its wings. It was actually the first winged roller coaster in the U.S.

The highest peak is a whopping 21 stories high and boasts a 135-foot drop at speeds up to 61 mph.

image of Wild Eagle roller coasterMcDoobAU93, Wikimedia Commons

Texas: Titan

The Titan at Six Flags Over Texas is known as a “giant among coasters”.

This hyper-coaster takes riders up an impressive 245 feet—nearly the height of the Statue of Liberty—and drops them down at a top speed of 85 mph.

image of Titan roller CoasterMichael Wallace, Flickr

Utah: Cannibal

The Cannibal at Lagoon Park in Utah is known as the craziest coaster in the state. It sends riders up 208-feet just to plunge them back down into a 116-degree beyond vertical free-fall taking them into an underground tunnel.

If that isn’t enough, this beast also has an inverted loop and a water feature that impresses even the most adventurous thrill-seekers.

image of The Cannibal roller coaster at LagoonBen P L, Flickr

Vermont: Beast Mountain Coaster

The Beast Mountain Coaster at Killington Resort in Vermont offers some serious thrills.

The 4,800-foot-long alpine coaster spins through the woods and boasts terrifying twists, turns, and 360-degree corkscrews.

image of Beast Mountain CoasterJeremy Thompson, Flickr

Virginia: The Intimidator 305

Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia is home to the state’s scariest roller coaster: The Intimidator 305. 

The incredible steel structure offers a massive 300-foot-tall initial drop that sends you flying at 91 mph with sudden sharp turns and insane drops.

image of Intimidator 305 roller coasterturquoise field, Flickr

Washington: Timberhawk: Ride of Prey

If you’re looking for a thrilling experience in Washington, head over to Wild Waves Theme and Water Park for the Timberhawk: Ride of Prey roller coaster.

This intense ride is a 75-feet-tall wooden coaster that reaches a top speed of 50 mph.

image of Timberhawk Ride of Prey Roller Coaster at Wild WavesMartin Lewison, Flickr

West Virginia: Big Dipper

West Virginia doesn’t have many roller coasters, but the biggest and scariest has to be The Big Dipper at Camden Park in Huntington.

The Big Dipper isn’t very fast, or big, but it offers a double-figure-eight layout that adds to the naturally terrifying experience that comes with riding a 60+ year old roller coaster.

image of Dipper roller coaster at Camden ParkCarol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin: Hades 360

The scariest roller coast in Wisconsin is the Hades 360 at Mt. Olympus Park—which is the world’s first upside-down wooden roller coaster and has the world’s longest underground tunnel.

Not only does it boast a 360-degree loop, it drops from 140-feet and speeds through the track at 70 mph.

a rollercoaster at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park in Wisconsin DellsRoyalbroil, Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: Cowboy Coaster

Cowboy Coaster at Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole has both winter and summer versions of the ride.

In the summer, the roller coaster takes riders through wildflower meadows, and in the winter, it offers views of skiers and snowboarders.

With a speed of only 25 mph, this roller coaster makes up for its speed with a drop plummeting the equivalent of a 45-story building.

Boy having a ride on a Mountain Roller CoasterMt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, Flickr

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