America's Scariest Roller Coasters
Take a ride on these scream machines.
The best roller coasters make you shriek when you fly off the seat, plummet in a bone-rattling dive or shoot through narrow tunnels and around tight turns. When you’re ready for a rush, try one of these rides, but remember: extreme coasters often have height or other rider restrictions, so check their websites before you visit.
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO
Hang on tight. Outlaw Run features the world’s first and only double barrel roll (that’s 720 degrees) on a wooden roller coaster. This $10 million ride takes you on a head-spinning rush through the Ozark Mountains, and drops you some 162 feet, or more than 16 stories. The 2015 Guinness World Records dubbed Outlaw Run the second fastest wooden coaster in the world, hitting a top speed of 68 miles per hour.
Outlaw Run/Silver Dollar City
GateKeeper, Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
Cedar Point’s GateKeeper is a monster of a machine, a wing roller coaster that flies at 67 miles per hour over 4,164 feet of track. (A wing coaster is a kind of steel roller coaster that seats riders on either side of the track, with nothing above or below them, so they’re suspended in the air.) The GateKeeper starts by "threading" riders through the openings in two towers at the park’s main entrance. Better not eat before you board; riders are inverted six times and experience a 164-foot wing-drop maneuver before this 2 minute, 20 second trip ends.
Millennium Force, Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
Another Cedar Point coaster, Millennium Force stands 310 feet high and screams along at 93 miles per hour over more than a mile of track. It's considered a giga-coaster, or a coaster that climbs skyscraper-like hills and then dives toward the ground at a high rate of speed. An elevator cable system lifts you to the very top of the tracks before you descend at a breaktaking 80-degree angle (yes, that’s almost straight down) and make a 300-foot long drop.
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Intimidator, Carowinds, Charlotte, NC
Inspired by the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, this coaster features a Winner’s Circle, a Victory Lane, a replica of the driver’s famous No. 3 Monte Carlo, and a Wall of Fame tribute to Earnhardt. Ride it at night for maximum thrills and chills. It hits up to 80 miles per hour, makes seven drops, and takes you up and over a 232-foot hill.
Cannibal, Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, UT
Since its debut in 2015, Cannibal hasn't consumed any riders, but Lagoon boasts that it eats other roller coasters in their tracks. The adrenaline rush starts with a 208-foot climb into the air before you plunge into a 116-degree descent. Cannibal’s top speed is 70 miles per hour, with four inversions that make you feel the force of 4.2 Gs.
Manta, SeaWorld Orlando, FL
Named for the manta rays that glide through the ocean, Manta is the only flying roller coaster of its kind. Riders skim over unusually smooth tracks at the beginning before diving head-first and facedown. The coaster makes four inversions, one of which is a pretzel-like loop about 98 feet in the air. While you’re waiting to board, distract yourself from the coming scare by looking for live coral, stingrays, fish and other marine life in the floor-to-ceiling aquarium.
Banshee, Kings Island Park, Mason, OH
At its 2013 debut, Banshee was the world’s longest inverted roller coaster, with seven incredible twists and turns over 4,124 feet of track. You might just wail like a banshee when you hit the Dive Loop, Zero-G-Roll, Batwing, Spiral and more. Keep your eyes and ears open when you visit; Kings Island says unearthly screams and mysterious sightings have been going on around the park since construction began in 1970. It's probably just the echoes of terrified riders.
Banshee Kings Island/Regional Tourism Network Cincinnati CVG
Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari, Jackson, NJ
As befits its kingly name, Kingda Ka is billed as the tallest and faster roller coaster in North America. Riders shoot out of the boarding station, reaching 128 miles per hour in an astounding 3.5 seconds, and climb straight up at a 90-degree angle. From the top of the tracks, which reach 45 stories into the air, the coaster hurtles back down in a 270-degree spiral. At least riders don’t have to scream for very long. This royal rush is over in less than a minute.
Fury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, NC
Considered the world’s fastest, tallest giga-coaster at its 2015 opening, Fury 325 has the sting and power of an angry hornet. With 6,602 feet of track, the ride soars to 325 feet high and gives visitors an incredible buzz for a total of about 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Watch for the exhilarating underground dive beneath a pedestrian bridge.
El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari, Jackson, NJ
Matadors know the thrill of encountering angry bulls, and El Toro bucks and shakes its riders as if it’s trying to throw them off the rails. This wooden roller coater has an ultra-modern engineering design that allows it to climb almost 19 stories before making a 176-foot dive. At a 76-degree angle, that's the steepest drop of any wooden-style coaster in the country.