The Scariest Roller Coaster in Every State
Buckle up, thrill seekers! These are the most fear-inducing rollercoasters you'll find in each of America's 50 states.
Adrenaline junkies looking for a ride on the wild side in the deep south head to Alabama Adventure Amusement Park in Bessemer. Here, they line up for Rampage, a 120-foot tall wooden roller coaster boasting a 102-foot drop. If that isn’t enough to get your heart pounding, Rampage hits a max speed of 56 mph.
Alaska: Master Blaster
Here’s the deal: You won’t find a traditional roller coaster in the entire state of Alaska. They just don’t have ’em. But you can find some scream-inducing attractions at H20asis Indoor Water Park in Anchorage, like The Master Blaster. Touted as a “water-powered roller coaster,” you and a buddy will need to climb 50 stairs in order to board a tube that will launch you both off of the 43-ft-high Blast Off Station. Strategically placed jets will move you up and down and all around, so hang on tight! If roller coasters aren’t your thing, check out these one-of-a-kind adventures you should add to your bucket list.
Arizona: Desert Storm
Hold on to your hats because the Desert Storm at Castles-n-Coasters in Phoenix features double upside-down loops as well as vertical drops and spins. At 90-feet, it’s the tallest coaster in the state. Nervous riders can rest a little easier knowing that the Desert Storm only lasts 90 seconds from start to finish, according to Phoenix New Times.
Arkansas: X Coaster
When in Hot Springs, Magic Springs Theme and Water Park’s X-Coaster is a must for the roller coaster enthusiast. What makes it so scary? Oh, just the unnerving backward slow quarter-loop that has you hanging above the amusement park before you whip around a 360-degree corkscrew. And that’s only one of its frightening features. “The X Coaster was a great thrill…it pulled the scream right out of me,” Tommy B. of Rockwall, Texas, says on Yelp. Once you’re done with the thrills, find the most charming small town in each state.
Upping its thrill game, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia introduced X2, an innovative “fifth dimension” roller coaster. What does that mean? It features 360-degree seats that actually extend on wings off of the track which allows your body to flip fully around while the coaster dives and twists around turns and indecisive half loops. The whole thing is utterly bonkers and leaves riders screaming from start to finish.
Colorado: Cliffhanger Roller Coaster
Hope you aren’t afraid of heights because the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood is touted as the “highest elevation full-sized roller coaster in North America.” It sits at an altitude of 7,160 feet and delivers amazing views of the Colorado River, that is if you’re brave enough to open your eyes on this mechanical beast. While in Colorado, you’ll definitely want to explore the state’s best-kept secret.
Connecticut: Boulder Dash
Roller coaster purists will love The Constitution State’s scariest offering, Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce in Bristol. Awarded the Best Wooden Roller Coaster in the World title by Amusement Today in 2013, Boulder Dash reaches a top speed of 60 mph as it whips passengers around a hillside (and a bumpy one at that). “The long lines for getting on board are worth it,” James F. of Portland, Maine says on TripAdvisor. “The train climbs up the hillside to fates unknown on the other side of the crest. I won’t tell you, in case you think you know what happens next but haven’t actually been. It would spoil the surprise.”
Delaware: SuperFlip 360
The state of Delaware has a great many qualities, but unfortunately, they have zero roller coasters. However, if you’re in the state and desperate for some amusement park-style thrills, one must head to Funland in Rehoboth Beach. Here you’ll find the gosh darn scariest ride in the state—the SuperFlip 360. It swings riders around 360 degrees offering up that stomach-dropping feeling provided by many a coaster, simply in a different form. They may not have scary coasters but Delaware does have one incredible coffee shop you need to check out.
When polling Floridians about the scariest roller coaster in their state, the topic becomes hotly debated. Sea World’s Manta and Kraken get honorable mentions, but its Busch Gardens’ Tigris (the tallest launch coaster in Florida) in Tampa Bay that gets our vote. Forward, backward, loops, drops…it does it all and at a top speed of 60 mph. “Tigris is all that,” Roxanne D. of Tampa, Florida says on Yelp. “It was amazing. Loved it. Make sure you try it out.”
Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell is known for housing some pretty terrifying coasters, but when they introduced Goliath in 2006 they really outdid themselves. Dubbed a “hypercoaster,” this beast doesn’t disappoint one bit. “That first drop will have you rethinking your decision to get on it,” Michael R. says on the park’s website. “So fast and definitely made for thrill-seekers! I definitely ride this coaster when I first get there and end with that one just to have my heart racing!”
The Aloha State boasts a tremendous amount of natural beauty, but little in the form of roller coasters. However, you can get your heart racing on the Shaka at Wet ‘n Wild on Oahu. It’s described as a “wet/dry attraction” and does hit 31 mph, boasting a 36-foot drop, and a zero-gravity feeling. You can cool off you can get your thrill on at the same time.
Roller coasters can fall into several different categories, and Aftershock at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol was voted “Top Hanging Coaster” by Travel Channel back in 2012. This 191-foot behemoth still rates with its towering drops and loops that will propel you forward and pull you backward with intensity. “For those really looking for the stomach twister go on the Aftershock,” Renee B. of Paso Robles, California says on Yelp. “You truly will feel light-headed and off-balance. It has you going forward, backward, upside down, and more. If you’re into history, check out the oldest tourist attraction in every state.
Six Flags theme parks aren’t shy about naming roller coasters Goliath (see Georgia above). The Goliath coaster at Six Flags Great America outside of Chicago is another force to be reckoned with. “The feeling when you’re on the front row and see the super-steep slope after the lift-hill, OMG,” Rishabh Mulani says on the park’s website. “Amazing design, beautiful roll banks, and multiple air-time moments!”
Indiana: The Voyage
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is such a sweet, kindly name for this theme park in the town of Santa Clause. But get past its turnstiles and roller coaster aficionados will meet their match with The Voyage, a wooden “out-and-back” coaster with intimidating features. Steep drops, underground tunnels, and exhilarating turns…oh my! Even the folks at Holiday World recommend working your way up to The Voyage with their every-so-slightly more tame coasters first. While in Indiana, entertain the locals with the strangest fact about their state.
Iowa: The Monster
If you want to challenge your love for terrifying roller coasters and find yourself in the Hawkeye State, head to Adventureland in Altoona for a spin on The Monster. There are loops, there’s a corkscrew, and even something called an Immelmann, the name given to a feature in which a loop first appears as a traditional vertical before inverting at its peak.
Kansas: Dragon Coaster
You won’t find much in the way of amusement parks in Kansas, aside from a few family entertainment centers that really appeal to small children. With that being said, the “scariest” coaster in the state may just be the Dragon Coaster at All Star Adventures in Wichita. With little curves, dips, and turns, it’s perfect for the tiny thrill seeker (but they must be at least 36″ tall to ride with an adult and 48″ to ride on their own). If you’re looking for some random Kansas oddities, find out the most misspelled word in their state.
With a tagline that reads “The Next Generation of Fear,” you know you’re in for a ride that aims to scare the pants off of you. T3 at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville delivers on its promise of terrifying loops and inversions. Riders actually flip as they speed across the track. “The first hill that ends going up into a heartline roll is a really cool way to start the ride,” says Corbin B. of Las Vegas in a Yelp review. “After that, there are another five inversions.”
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. The steel monster features three inversions, a cobra roll, and loop with a maximum speed of 47 mph. There are three other coasters in Dixie Landin’ if your stomach can handle more. For a little something different, head to Los Adaes Historic Site, one of Louisana’s hidden gems!
When in Maine, go for a spin on Excalibur, a wooden roller coaster introduced at Funtown Splashtown USA in the town of Saco in 1998. It holds the titles of both tallest and longest roller coaster in New England. “The Excalibur roller coaster was awesome at sundown,” Fred C. of Rhode Island says in a TripAdvisor review. “At the peak we could see the sunset over the treetops.”
Maryland: Superman: Ride of Steel
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…nope, it’s Superman: Ride of Steel, the most terrifying coaster in the state of Maryland. Located at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, this hypercoaster stands at 205-feet with an out-of-this-world 200-foot drop. “Simply the best coaster and really only world-class ride at Six Flags America,” says James B. on the park’s website. “Actually this is probably my favorite ride at any park, it’s just so much fun and nice and long!” These are 20 secrets amusement park employees won’t tell you (and might just save you money).
Massachusetts: Superman The Ride
No, you aren’t experiencing deja vu—the scariest coaster in Massachusetts happens to boast the name Superman The Ride, this time at Six Flags New England in Agawam. USA Today readers voted this bad boy #3 Best Roller Coaster, a pretty impressive award given all of the thrill ride options our country offers. “This roller coaster is an absolute blast,” says Jill M. “If it’s your first time riding I definitely recommend front seat for your first ride. (The) 200-foot drop is awesome.”
Michigan: Shivering Timbers
Your heart will start racing just looking at the massive structure that is Shivering Timbers, the pulse-pounding coaster that is the crown jewel of Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon. “Over a mile-long, you’re often out of your seat more than you are in it,” says one reviewer from Gurnee, Illinois on TripAdvisor. If you’re looking for something a little wackier than Michigan’s Adventure, check out these crazy theme parks around the world.
Minnesota: Wild Thing
For thrills that come with a spectacular view, Valleyfair’s Wild Thing roller coaster in Shakopee is where it’s at. The colossal green machine hits a max speed of 74 mph, which makes it among the fastest coasters on this list. Impressive drops and a figure-eight helix will make you scream with both fear and glee.
Mississippi is another one of those states that has slim pickings in terms of traditional roller coasters, but you’ll definitely get your heart pounding on Backsplash at Geyser Falls in Choctaw. Backsplash bills itself as a roller coaster and waterslide rolled into one, so prepare to get wet. Grab a friend and use a two-person tube to share the terrifying experience. They may not be ready for roller coasters, but here’s how to take your toddler to an amusement park.
Missouri: Outlaw Run
You may lose your voice from the screams Silver Dollar City’s Outlaw Run will elicit. Located in Branson, this wooden roller coaster sports a 162-foot. drop and a double barrel roll. According to Travel Channel, it’s the second-fastest wooden roller coaster in the world (it hits 68 mph).
Montana: The Shredder Extreme
Unfortunately, you aren’t going to find any classic roller coasters in Montana, but you can still get your thrills on at Big Sky Waterpark in Columbia Falls. The most chilling ride there (literally and figuratively) is The Shredder Extreme, a tube ride that is just as scary as the name suggests. Find out why Missoula is one of the most underrated cities in the country.
Nebraska: Rockin’ Rapids
At one point Omaha’s Fun-Plex did house a roller coaster, Big Ohhhh!, for about a decade before it was removed to make way for a water park. Now the closest thing to a coaster-like thrill ride you’ll find in the state is Rockin’ Rapids, which also calls Fun-Plex home. It’s an impressive five stories tall with 1,200 feet of slide, so there’s plenty of room for an adrenaline rush.
Nevada: Canyon Blaster
Las Vegas isn’t all blackjack and slot machines, you can also bet on plenty of screams riding one of their roller coasters, like the Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino. This indoor attraction boasts both a double-loop and double-corkscrew while careening through the Adventuredome. “We rode the Canyon Blaster and it is a legit ride,” Rimar T. of East Bay, California says on Yelp. “I was actually surprised how good it was for an indoor amusement park.” These are other must-see Vegas attractions that aren’t casinos.
New Hampshire: Untamed
For serious scares, hit up Untamed at Canobie Lake Park in Salem. Zero gravity rolls, banked turns, vertical drops, and loops will make even the bravest roller coaster aficionado scream. “Untamed is one of the best rides I have ever been on,” raves Sara J. of Malden, Massachusetts on Yelp. “It is a MUST!”
New Jersey: El Toro
Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey is hands down the home to The Garden State’s most terrifying roller coasters, but ask locals which is the scariest and you’ll get a variety of answers. While the Kingda Ka is publicized as one that is most fear-inducing, folks we interviewed claim El Toro is the one to beat. “I went on Kingda Ka which looks scary but isn’t bad,” says Meridith D. of Pitman, New Jersey. “Then I went on El Toro and nearly puked because I felt like I was going to fly out of the thing.” This is the world’s longest, tallest, and fastest dive coaster.
New Mexico: The Hurricane
In 2015 Western Playland, located in Sunland, New Mexico, added The Hurricane to its mix of attractions and the place hasn’t been the same since. It’s a steel windstorm-style coaster that may only hit a top speed of 35 mph, according to Ultimate Rollercoaster.com, but still has enough drops and g-force to make it New Mexico’s scariest attraction.
New York: Cyclone
The iconic Cyclone at Luna Park at Coney Island, located in Brooklyn, may not be the tallest or fastest ride in the state, but you definitely feel like you’re going to be thrown from this beast at any second. As Billy S. from Brooklyn says, “What it lacks in height it makes up for in age,” meaning the very years on The Cyclone will make you feel all of the thrills. Meanwhile, these are the surprising words and phrases you had no idea were coined in the Big Apple.
North Carolina: Intimidator
A steel coaster standing at a height of 232-feet., it’s easy to see why the Intimidator at Carowinds in Charlotte is the state’s scariest coaster. “Fun from start to finish but not too rough on the body like some of the other rides like Hurler,” says Saibyn R in a Google review. “Not quite as big as the Fury ride but totally better in my opinion.”
North Dakota: Runaway Train
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s just one roller coaster in the state of North Dakota and that is the Runaway Train, a family-friendly attraction (read: safe for little ones). Located at Super Slide Amusement Park in the state capital of Bismarck, it’s just 18-feet high at it’s tallest peak. But, hey, when you’re the only coaster game in town, that technically makes you the scariest.
When a roller coaster has “wings,” it generally ups its scare factor considerably. That’s the case of the GateKeeper at Cedar Point in Sandusky. According to the park’s website, it turns riders upside down a total of six times and they will “experience weightlessness and rapid movements from side to side.” According to Lana P. of Darien, Illionis’s TripAdvisor review, “You just feel like you’re flying.” Keep in mind Cedar Point bills itself as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” so if you don’t agree with us about GateKeeper, there are plenty of others to try.
Oklahoma: Brain Drain
You have to hand it to the Six Flags franchise, they have a lot of coasters on this list, including Brain Drain at Six Flags Frontier City in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you’ve ever wanted to experience 360-degree revolutions—this one is for you! It loops you around at high speed and also leaves riders hanging for a bit in an effort to literally drain your brain. Looking for a weekend getaway in Oklahoma? You’ll find it right here.
Oregon: Adrenaline Peak
In 2018 Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon introduced Adrenaline Peak, a coaster featuring three inversions and a terrifying beyond-vertical first drop, solidifying its place as the state’s scariest ride. It’s speedy, extreme, and the 72-foot vertical lift will make you scream immediately. Brace yourselves, this is one wild ride.
Pennsylvania: Steel Curtain
When in Pennsylvania and hungry for some thrills, head to Kennywood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to ride Steel Curtain, the park’s newest coaster opening in July 2019. A two-minute adrenaline rush, this beauty features a whopping nine inversions, one of which is touted as the tallest in the world at 197-ft. These are the things you can actually get for free (yes, free!) at theme parks.
Rhode Island: Dragon Coaster
You won’t find any roller coasters in Rhode Island, unfortunately, unless you count the tiny Dragon Coaster at Atlantic Beach Park in Westerly, Rhode Island. This is a kiddie coaster that won’t placate thrill-seekers but will be adored by little ones. Rides are just one token per person per ride, so it won’t cost much to say you can ride the only coaster in the state!
South Carolina: Fury 325
When in South Carolina, you’ll find the fastest coaster at Carowinds in the town of Fort Mill. Here’s the deal: Carowinds is actually located in both North and South Carolina, straddling the state line. Technically you could heckle us that Fury 325 should be the scariest coaster in both states, but here we’re applying it to the southern of the Carolinas. For what it’s worth, Fury is absolutely terrifying, and really enough roller coaster for two states combined. Its peak is 325 feet and the 190-foot barrel turn feels death-defying. Want in on the latest? These are the best new amusement park rides for 2019.
South Dakota: Rushmore Mountain Coaster
For a different sort of coaster that will make your pulse pound, Rushmore Mountain Coaster in Rush Mountain Adventure Park (Keystone, South Dakota) is the place to be. It’s a true mountain coaster featuring one and two-person carts that whips riders around trees and, of course, the mountainside. Fortunately, riders can control the speed, so if you want to slow it down a bit, the choice is yours.
Tennessee: Wild Eagle
If you haven’t already figured it out by now, winged coasters terrify us, which is why Wild Eagle at Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) makes the list as Tennessee’s scariest ride. This was actually the first winged coaster in the United States, making it a pioneer in the category. The highest peak hovers 21 stories above ground, so it’s not for the faint of heart. If you live for amusement parks, this is how to save big bucks on those pricy tickets.
“Ride Titan (Six Flags Over Texas) to test your mettle,” David B. of Fort Worth, Texas says in a TripAdvisor review. “Sit in the front of the train if you dare. Feel free to scream or laugh out loud. You will be glad you did.” Located in Arlington, Titan twists, turns, and drops riders as only a hypercoaster can.
Utah: Lagoon Park
Lagoon Park’s Cannibal is easily the most bonkers roller coaster in Farmington in the Beehive State. Not only does it send riders up 208-feet, but it also plunges them into a 116° beyond vertical free-fall transporting them to an underground tunnel. If that wasn’t enough, there’s an inverted loop and water feature that is a must for the biggest of coaster aficionados. Traveling with folks who like things a little quieter? These are the most impressive libraries in every state.
Virginia: The Intimidator 305
Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia is home to the state’s scariest roller coaster: The Intimidator 305. Does it really intimidate? Oh, yeah. The steel coaster opened in 2010 and offers a 300-foot tall initial drop. That’s something the most well-traveled roller coaster expert won’t soon forget. “Intimidator is very intense due to its 91mph with sudden sharp turns, but very fun for extreme coaster enthusiasts,” says Nathan G. of Lexington, Kentucky in his TripAdvisor review. You can’t visit Virginia without engaging in a little history, and these are the most historic firsts from every U.S. state.
Washington: Timberhawk: Ride of Prey
For thrill-seekers in Washington State, Wild Waves Theme and Water Park is the place to go. Located in the town of Federal Way, Timberhawk: Ride of Prey is their most extreme coaster (although The Wild Thing is a very close second). “The impressive coaster Timberhawk is very smooth for a wooden coaster and takes riders on a spectacular trip filled with drops, turns and a great view,” says Gareth M. of Phoenix on Yelp.
West Virginia: Big Dipper
West Virginia doesn’t boast many roller coasters, but the biggest (and scariest) has to be the Big Dipper at Camden Park in the city of Huntington. While another attraction, The Rattler, is probably more terrifying, Big Dipper offers up plenty of stomach-dropping excitement. Oh, and smaller ones can start off their coasting career on the Lil’ Dipper if they so choose. Believe it or not, the first American roller coaster wasn’t actually a roller coaster at all.
Wisconsin: Hades 360
The Wisconsin Dells are home to a slew of incredible theme parks, but you’ll find the state’s scariest roller coaster at Mt. Olympus Park in the form of Hades 360. “It was, by far, the scariest roller coaster ever,” Christine O. of St. Paul, Minnesota says on TripAdvisor. The original Hades opened at the park in 2005, but the new and improved 360 features—you guessed it—an out-of-this-world 360-degree loop.
Wyoming: Cowboy Coaster
The great thing about the Snow King Mountain Cowboy Coaster, located in Jackson Hole, is there are both winter and summer versions. In the summer you can take in wildflower meadows as you careen along on the Cowboy Coaster through loops, curves, and, of course, drops. In the winter you take in views of area skiers and snowboarders, descending what they say is equal to a 45-story building.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.