The 50 Best Roller Coasters In The World, Ranked

The 50 Best Roller Coasters In The World, Ranked

If you like adrenaline, you’ve come to the right place. Maybe you’re thinking of making a bucket list of the best roller coasters in the world; maybe you just want to see how many of them you’ve tried out already. Either way: buckle up. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Obviously, ‘the best roller coaster’ is a subjective question. To find the answer, we’ve referred to the good folks at Roller Coaster Buzz, hundreds of whom have weighed in and rated their favorite rides. The ratings come from them, and we are much obliged for their expertise.

Long live the thrill.

The 50 Best Roller Coasters In The World, RankedImage by jing shi from Pixabay

50. Prowler

Worlds of Fun, Kansas City, Missouri

Rating: 4.22/5

The first coaster on our list is actually a wooden one, though it first opened in 2009.

Prowler drops riders from a maximum height of 85 feet down a spiral, across a ravine, and then through a forest, reaching maximum speeds of 51 mph.

It cost an estimated $8 million to build.

Prowler.

49. Skyrush

Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania

Rating: 4.23/5

Skyrush is a winged coaster, the fastest and tallest at Hersheypark. A cable pulls the cars 212 feet above the ground before allowing them to plunge that distance at 75 mph, over hills and through sharp turns before returning to station.

The whole ride lasts little longer than a minute, but what a ride!

Skyrush.

48. Lightning Run

Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville, Kentucky

Rating: 4.23/5

Lightning Run begins its journey with a 100 foot drop at an 80-degree angle — in other words, it sends you flying almost directly into the ground. The coaster takes its riders for a thrilling jaunt, covering 2,500 feet of track at a maximum speed of 55 mph.

It is the only Hyper GT-X model roller coaster in the world currently in operation, first opening in 2014.

Lightning Run.

47. Griffon

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, James City County, Virginia

Rating: 4.27/5

Griffon is a dive coaster, dropping its passengers at nearly 90 degrees from a height of 205 feet. With a top speed of 71 mph, it is the second-fastest such coaster in the world. It also includes multiple other loops, drops, and a splash feature guaranteed to wash the sweat off your brow.

Griffon’s big drop.

46. The Beast

Kings Island, Mason, Ohio

Rating: 4.28/5

Originally built in 1979, The Beast was the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in the world at that time. Today it’s just the longest, at 7,359 feet, including two big lifts. It also has one of the longest ride durations, at more than 4 minutes. Hey, if you’re gonna wait in line, you may as well take your time when you get on the ride!

The Beast is the wooden coaster at the rear of the park.

45. Goliath

La Ronde, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Rating: 4.3/5

Goliath is a steel coaster. It opened in 2006 at a cost of $18 million.

The ride begins with a lift hill and a precipitous 170 foot drop on a 70-degree angle. Smaller hills, banked turns, and 180 degree turns characterize the rest of the ride, which lasts about three minutes. Goliath’s top speed is about 68 mph.

Goliath.

44. Storm Runner

Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania

Rating: 4.3/5

Storm Runner is about one thing: acceleration, baby! This ride goes from 0 to 72 mph in two seconds, propelling riders across 2,500 feet of track in less than a minute.. It also includes three loops, magnetic breaks, and interacts with other nearby rides.

By the way, you will be photographed as the train makes its rapid acceleration, so be prepared to laugh at your face afterward!

Storm Runner.

43. Shivering Timbers

Michigan’s Adventure, Muskegon, Michigan

Rating: 4.32/5

This wooden coaster is the fourth longest in the world. The most famous aspect of the ride is its big finale, a 630-degree spiral that exerts lateral g-force pressure on riders. It also has several bumps that allow riders to get a bit of air time. Who know a wooden coaster could give you a small taste of the astronaut experience?

Shivering Timbers is widely considered one of the best wooden coasters in the world.

Shivering Timbers.

42. Apollo’s Chariot

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, James City County, Virginia

Rating: 4.33/5

Apollo’s chariot is a steel coaster with an impressive length of 4,882 feet. It includes 8 hills that give riders air-time. (By the way, if you’re not big on roller coaster jargon, that means a brief experience of weightlessness.)

It also features a 210-foot drop with a maximum speed of 73 mph.

It has consistently ranked in the top echelons of steel coasters since opening in 1999.

Apollo’s Chariot (purple and yellow).

41. Thunderbird

Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana

Rating: 4.33/5

Thunderbird is a wing coaster — which means two riders sit on two sides of the track, open from above and below.

Thunderbird accelerates to 60 mph in 3 seconds, all while spraying riders with mist. It then shoots into several loop-the-loops, giving passengers a brief zero-g experience.

The cars cover the 3,035 foot long track in only 1 minute 18 seconds.

Thunderbird (in orange).

40. Thunderhead

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Rating: 4.33/5

Thunderhead is a wooden coaster, but it certainly isn’t old-fashioned, with 22 major turns, a 100-foot drop, and a top speed of 53 mph. It was also the first roller coaster with a station fly-through — meaning those waiting in line can see the car shoot straight over their heads. This builds excitement and anticipation.

Thunderhead has consistently ranked among the best wooden coasters since it opened in 1999.

Thunderhead’s station fly-through.

39. Tatsu

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California

Rating: 4.35/5

Tatsu is a flying coaster, meaning you have to lie down to ride it, creating the illusion that you’re flying like Superman! It is the tallest and fastest such coaster in the world, and the only one that includes a zero-gravity experience. Tatsu has a maximum speed of 63 mph and includes a 124-foot pretzel loop.

Tatsu: fly at the speed of fear!

38. Phantom’s Revenge

Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Rating: 4.36/5

When it opened in 1991, Phantom’s Revenge (formerly known as Steel Phantom) was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. (It has an impressive top speed of 85 mph.)

But what really makes Phantom’s Revenge special is that it has two huge drops — the second even bigger than the first. It is also noted for the way it uses the terrain to its advantage, since that second drop is down into a ravine, under the structure of another coaster.

The second drop of Phantom’s Revenge.

37. Manta

SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

Rating: 4.37/5

The aptly named ‘Manta’ showcases numerous species of rays to guests as they wait to board. The coaster itself is a flying design, meaning passengers lie prostrate in the car. Manta provides great views of SeaWorld, and includes fountains that splash and soak riders as they five toward a shallow pool.

Manta’s fountains spraying lucky riders.

36. Time Traveler

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri

Rating: 4.37/5

An amazing coaster at a theme park in one of America’s favorite tourist hotspots.

Thematically, Time Traveler takes guests on a trip through time (duh!), showcasing highlights from human history.

In terms of the ride itself, it’s a spinning coaster, meaning the cars rotate on an axis while moving along the track. As such, the top speed is only 50 mph — but that’s very impressive for a coaster of this type.

Time Traveler, a spinning coaster.

35. Intimidator 305

Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia

Rating: 4.39/5

Intimidator 305 lives up to its name. Its first big drop plunges you 300 feet on an 85-degree angle at a maximum speed of 90 mph. That speed in fact had to be lowered after the ride first opened because the g-forces were so powerful that some passengers were blacking out.

The big drop of Intimidator 305.

34. X2

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California

Rating: 4.39/5

This is the world’s first ‘fourth dimensional’ roller coaster. What does that mean? It means that as you move forward on the track, the car that contains you also moves independently. And you are moving on this coaster — at a top speed of 76 mph, with a drop of 215 feet.

By the way: we know, we know, the fourth dimension is time.

The first drop of X².

33. Montu

Busch Gardens Tampa, Florida

Rating: 4.4/5

Montu is an inverted coaster — meaning the passengers are suspended under the track. In the three minutes is takes to run the track, riders experience as much as 3.8 times the force of gravity, with plenty of loops, banks, and inversions.

Montu is the name of the Egyptian god of war. Fun fact!

Montu.

32. Intimidator

Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 4.41/5

For a modern coaster (opened in 2010), the intimidator is very long. The track covers 5,316 feet and the ride lasts three and a half minutes. The big selling point is a 232-foot drop and a top speed of 75 mph. Oh — there are also 7 other drops and a spiral. Just a big, tall, fast, blow-you-away style coaster.

The entrance to Intimidator.

31. Goliath

Six Flags Over Georgia, Cobb County

Rating: 4.42/5

Our second Goliath, but not our last. You’ll note there are no roller coasters called David.

This Goliath has a 170-foot drop, followed by a 175-foot drop, followed by a 130-foot drop. Oh, then a spiral helix, and a 120-foot drop and a horseshoe turn. You get your money’s worth, as the whole trip takes about three and a half minutes.

Goliath’s helix.

30. Top Thrill Dragster

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Rating: 4.44/5

Top Thrill Dragster is an accelerator style coaster — meaning the train is launched up one very large hill, which it summits before flying down the other side.

Top Thrill was the tallest coaster in the world when it was built, and the first to top 400 feet (420 ft). It reaches a speed of 120 mph with a downward angle of 90 degrees. Not for the faint of heart!

Top Thrill Dragster.

29. Gold Striker

California’s Great America, Santa Clara

Rating: 4.45/5

Gold Striker is reportedly the biggest and fastest wooden coaster in North America. Its first drop goes through a 174-foot tunnel, a unique feature.  The track itself is 3,174 feel long, with a top speed of 53.7 mph.

Gold Striker.

28. Nitro

Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey

Rating: 4.46/5

Nitro has a 200-foot drop and a top speed of 80 mph, but the really unique feature is ‘the hammerhead turn’,  very sharp u-turn that gives Nitro a real edge. Riders will also catch a bit of air-time if they’re willing to come aboard.

Nitro has consistently been ranked among the best steel roller coasters in the world since it opened in 2001.

Nitro.

27. Copperhead Strike

Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 4.48/5

Copperhead Strike is brand spanking new, having debuted on March 23, 2019. It is the first double-launched roller coaster in the world (meaning you get to experience the thrill of sudden acceleration twice). The ride also includes five inversions, two vertical loops, a hill that gives riders air-time, and a corkscrew.

There are no copperhead snakes on the ride.

The view from the front car of Copperhead Strike.

26. Behemoth

Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

Rating: 4.5/5

Behemoth is much like other hypercoasters we’ve talked about to this point. Its main thrill is its ability to suddenly change speeds, directions, and elevations. It achieves a top speed of 77 mph in less than 4 seconds. The ride features five air-time hills, a helix, a hammerhead turn, and (best of all) specially designed cars that ensure unobstructed views for all passengers.

Behemoth.

25. Diamondback

Kings Island, Mason, Ohio

Rating: 4.5/5

Diamondback is a monster. It features 10 big drops, the biggest being 215 feet. Diamondback was the first hypercoaster to include a water splash feature, and is comparable to Behemoth in many respects.

Diamondback cost $22 million to build and opened in 2009.

Diamondback’s water feature.

24. Mystic Timbers

Kings Island, Mason, Ohio

Rating: 4.5/5

Mystic Timbers is an impressive wooden coaster with numerous air-time hills, tunnels, and swooping drops. Indeed, Kings Island has the most wooden roller coaster track of any theme part in the world.

But the really cool thing about the ride is a plot twist at the end when the train enters an ‘abandoned’ shed. But we’re not going to spoil that for you!

Mystic Timbers.

23. New Texas Giant

Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington

Rating: 4.51/5

The old Texas Giant was a wooden coaster, but in 2011 it was renovated to include a steel track. The renovation greatly enhanced the ride’s popularity. Unfortunately, the renewal was marred somewhat in 2013 when a woman died after falling from the ride. Not to worry: they rejigged the harnesses and safety constraints after that fatal accident.

New Texas Giant.

22. Banshee

Kings Island, Mason, Ohio

Rating: 4.51/5

Banshee is the longest inverted roller coaster in the world, with 4,124 feet of track. It boasts 7 inversions, a top speed of 65 mph, and a 150-foot drop. There’s also a zero-gravity roll that creates a sensation of momentary weightlessness.

The 50 Best Roller Coasters In The World, RankedJeremy Thompson/Wikimedia
Banshee.

21. Nemesis

Alton Towers, Staffordshire, England

Rating: 4.55/5

On paper, Nemesis doesn’t sound like much. It’s only 42 feet off the ground, but it manages a 104-foot drop because of the way it uses the terrain on which it is built. Nemesis is an inverted coaster which corkscrews and loops. The pressure riders experience ranges from 0 Gs and 4 Gs over the 1 minute 20 seconds that elapse from beginning to end.

Nemesis.

20. Storm Chaser

Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville, Kentucky

Rating: 4.55/5

Storm Chaser was built to replace an earlier roller coaster, and indeed used some left over materials for its construction, but by all accounts it’s a totally different experience. Storm Chaser isn’t particularly high (100 feet) or fast (52 mph), but it does manage some sweet corkscrews, inversions, and banks. It has been one of the attractions that has really brought life back to Kentucky Kingdom, a park that was previously closed for a number of years and which no one seemed eager to own.

Storm Chaser.

19. Phoneix

Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Rating: 4.57/5

Again, Phoenix is not a hypercoaster. It’s only 72 feet tall, and speeds never exceed 45 mph. But it is one of the most beloved coasters in the world because it produces negative gravity effects — the all-important air-time we hear so much about from adrenaline junkies.

Whatever the reason, Phoenix is a consistent top 10 ride in many surveys.

Phoenix.

18. Mako

SeaWorld Orlando, Florida

Rating: 4.62/5

Mako is a big coaster alright, 200 feet at its highest point, and with a corresponding 200-foot drop. It also boasts a top speed of 73 mph. As with other ride queues at SeaWorld, you will learn a thing or two about marine biology as you wait for your turn on Mako.

One expert called it the best coaster in Florida — pretty high praise!

Mako.

17. Outlaw Run

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri

Rating: 4.63/5

Outlaw run is one of the fastest wooden coasters in the world, with a top speed of 68 mph. Its 162-foot drop is one of the steepest as well. But the ride is most famous for its inversions, flipping riders upside down and then returning them to their natural orientation. It also makes excellent use of its surroundings — in the Ozark Mountains.

Outlaw Run

16. Ravine Flyer II

Waldameer Park, Erie, Pennsyvania

Rating: 4.64/5

The ‘II’ is because it’s a replacement of the original Ravine Flyer, which was shut down in 1938 after a fatal accident. But the sequel manages to be both safer and more thrilling while still paying homage to what came before. It crosses over boulevards and follows the course of the nearby State Route 832, just like the original. It also features air-time hills and a 90-degree bank turn.

Ravine Flyer II.

15. Goliath

Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois

Rating: 4.64/5

The third, final, and best Goliath on our list.

At 180 feet, Goliath’s drop is the biggest of any wooden coaster in the world. It also comes close to record-breaking with the angle of the drop (85 degrees) and its top speed (72 mph). It also features a zero gravity inversion.

Altogether, it’s no wonder Goliath has consistently been championed by experts as one of the best wooden coasters in the world.

Goliath at Six Flags Great America.

14. Wicked Cyclone

Six Flags New England, Agawam, Massachusetts

Rating: 4.65/5

Originally a wooden coaster called ‘Cylcone’, it was refitted with steel track and reopened as ‘Wicked Cyclone’ in 2014. It features a 10-storey drop and a top speed of 55 mph — not especially impressive compared to others on this list. What makes it special is its reversing air-time hill, the first such feature in the world.

The 50 Best Roller Coasters In The World, Ranked

Martin Lewison/WikimediaWicked Cyclone.

13. Superman The Ride

Six Flags New England, Agawam, Massachusetts

Rating: 4.65/5

Faster than a speeding bullet?

Superman The Ride features a 221-foot drop and a maximum velocity of 77 mph. So yeah, pretty super. At one point, it also had an optional virtual reality experience for rides, but that has sadly been removed. There are four major hills to make you feel like you’re soaring through the sky, fighting evil, before returning to station as a mild-mannered reporter.

Superman The Ride, seen at rear.

12. Boulder Dash

Lake Compounce, Bristol, Connecticut

Rating: 4.68/5

Arguably the best wooden coaster in the world, Boulder Dash makes exquisite use of its natural surroundings, creating the illusion that riders are flying across the hilly terrain, through the verdant treetops. The track disappears from view below, reappears, crosses itself, and features a station fly-by.

A good old-fashioned coaster, perfectly built for its environment.

Boulder Dash, cutting through the trees.

11. Leviathan

Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

Rating: 4.69/5

Step aside, Behemoth; Leviathan was built to be an even bigger, badder beast looming over Canada’s Wonderland, and it definitely fits the bill.

This truly is a mega coaster, reaching a height of 306 feet, with a blistering top speed of 92 mph. Its track is also 5,486 feet long and takes 3 minutes 28 seconds to traverse, so the reward is more than worth the wait — which can be long.

Leviathan, its lift hill and drop seen at rear.

10. Maverick

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Rating: 4.69/5

Maverick promises that “the Old West was never this wild!” It features a 100-foot drop and max speed of 70 mph, but perhaps the most maverick thing about it is it’s ‘more than vertical drop’, which plummets riders toward the ground at a 95-degree angle!

Maverick.

9. Iron Rattler

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Texas

Rating: 4.69/5

Iron Rattler is a refurbished wooden coaster with a new steel track. The new version includes an 81-degree drop, a combination loop and inversion roll that indues zero gravity, and a top speed of 73 mph. Iron Rattler also launches riders through a tunnel with special lighting and fog effects.

As one reviewer put it, “There’s not one restful moment on this ride.”

Iron Rattler.

8. The Voyage

Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana

Rating: 4.7/5

Themed around the famous 17th century voyage of the Pigrams aboard the Mayflower, this is one of the longest and highest wooden coasters out there. It also boasts five underground tunnels. But the real selling point here is the 24.3 seconds of air-time riders will experience — the most on any wooden coaster yet conceived.

The Voyage.

7. Twisted Timbers

Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia

Rating: 4.7/5

Twisted Timbers is a reworking of an old wooden coaster, which was given a special new steel track that allows for a much more invigorating ride. The new version was launched in 2018 with brand new inversions, sharp bank turns, and 20 bumps that give riders airtime.

Unsurprisingly, these updates have been widely praised.

Twisted Timbers.

6. Twisted Colossus

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California

Rating: 4.76/5

Twisted Colossus is a renovated version of an old classic which was known simply as Colossus. (Are you sensing a theme here? Everything old is new again and everything is twisted.) The original ride became famous after appearing in National Lampoon’s Vacation and other films, but the new version is even better. Twisted Colossus is a steel coaster with barrel rolls and a vertical drop of 128 feet.

Interesting, the new version has a lower maximum velocity, proving that speed isn’t everything.

Twisted Colossus.

5. Millennium Force

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Rating: 4.77/5

As you might imagine, Millennium Force was completed in 2000. At a towering 300 feet high, and with a top speed of 93 mph, this coaster is truly overpowering. Although it is no longer the tallest or fastest ride in the world, it remains among the most monstrous and has consistently been ranked among the best in the world.

Millennium Force.

4. Lightning Rod

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Rating: 4.81/5

Lightning Rod is the first wooden coaster in the world to use a launch system, and it suffered through technical difficulties for much of its opening season in 2016. But once people did get to ride it, they loved it.

Its cars are modeled after 1950 hot rod cars, for one thing. For another, it has an impressive maximum speed of 73 mph and a drop of 165 feet.

It has consistently ranked as one of the best wooden coasters since its debut.

Lighting Rod.

3. El Toro

Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey

Rating: 4.82/5

Another impressive wooden coaster, El Toro is near the top in practically every category: steepest drop (76 degrees), height (181 feet), drop (176 feet), and speed (70 mph). It’s not #1 in any of these, but it delivers enough of each to give passengers one heck of a thrill when they ride the bull.

El Toro.

2. Fury 325

Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina

Rating: 4.86/5

Fury 325 is truly gargantuan, with speeds topping out at 95 mph, a 320-foot drop, and 6,602 feet of track. It even passes over the entrance to the park, giving the guests below a considerable thrill as they wait to pass through the turnstiles. Fury 325 is a monster coaster for people who like to go fast, fall hard, and turn suddenly.

Fury 325.

1. Steel Vengeance

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Rating: 4.95/5

When it opened in 2018, Steel Vengeance shattered 10 roller coaster records:

  • Tallest hybrid roller coaster (205 feet)
  • Fastest hybrid roller coaster (74 mph)
  • Steepest drop on a hybrid roller coaster (90 degrees)
  • Longest drop on a hybrid roller coaster (200 feet)
  • Longest hybrid roller coaster (5,740 feet)
  • Most inversions on a hybrid roller coaster (4)
  • Fastest airtime hill on a hybrid roller coaster (74 mph)
  • Most airtime on a hybrid roller coaster (27.2 seconds)
  • Most airtime on any roller coaster (as above)
  • World’s first “hyper-hybrid” roller coaster

The old coaster, Mean Streak, around which much of Steel Vengeance was built, was well-regarded. But Steel Vengeance takes the cake with, well… a vengeance.

Steel Vengeance.