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Dollywood Roller Coasters Ranked

If you’re planning a trip to Dollywood and you’re ready to ride all the rides, you have to be ready for all of the Dollywood Roller Coasters! In this post we’ll break down how many roller coasters Dollywood has and rank them in terms of our family’s favorites.

If you’re wondering how many roller coasters does Dollywood have, the answer is now 10! The 10th roller coaster at Dollywood opened in May 2023 and makes the park a great choice for ride enthusiasts.

While there are a ton of things to do at Dollywood – shop, watch shows, eat delicious food, play games, enjoy artists’ craftsmanship – my family has one thing on our minds when we go to Dollywood… rides! It’s true, Dollywood rides are simply some of the best in the entire country. Yes, I said it. And Dollywood roller coasters? Yeah, they are some of the best too!

Does Dollywood have roller coasters?

I am always surprised to get this question. I suppose it’s because Dollywood, which is owned by Dolly Parton and sits at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, is often seen as a family theme park. A small park that just doesn’t compete with the big guys [or all those Florida guys], but it’s simply not true!

In fact, TripAdvisor named Dollywood as the “#1 Theme Park in the USA” and “#8 in the WORLD” in 2022!

I feel like when I started blogging about Dollywood several years ago, my goal was to get more of the word out about my family’s favorite theme park, but now it seems the word is out… and it’s all good!

But, let’s get back to those Dollywood roller coasters. To answer the question, yes, Dollywood has roller coasters. In fact, Dollywood has 9 roller coasters now and the 10th one is being built currently! Big Bear Mountain is the newest Dollywood roller coaster and will open in 2023!

Here are the current roller coasters at Dollywood, in no particular order… yet:

  • Wild Eagle®
  • Blazing Fury
  • Big Bear Mountain
  • Thunderhead®
  • Dragonflier
  • FireChaser Express®
  • Lightning Rod®
  • Mystery Mine®
  • Tennessee Tornado
  • Whistle Punk Chaser®

To have, almost 10 roller coasters, is quite a feat since Dollywood is a relatively small theme park compared to others. To put it into perspective, Dollywood is about 160 acres, which is just a tad bigger than Magic Kingdom by itself.

Before we get to the Dollywood roller coasters ranked by favorite by my family, let me give you a little more detail and background on each of the coasters.

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Family Roller Coasters

Dollywood is a family theme park and sets out to create a space where families can enjoy their time together. It comes as no surprise, then, that Dollywood has a few family coasters.

Whistle Punk Chaser – This is a steel coaster that sits in the shadow of Thunderhead in Timber Canyon that features a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a height of 22 feet. This coaster is perfect for kids who are just starting to get into thrill rides.

Dragonflier – This steel coaster features a unique suspended design, where riders are seated in cars that hang from the coaster track. This gives riders the sensation of flying through the air as they twist and turn through the track. I would say it really resembles a family version of Wild Eagle.

Photo taken during the construction tour of Dragonflier in 2019.

The coaster reaches a top speed of 43 miles per hour, and the ride lasts for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The coaster reaches a height of 63 feet and features a 115-degree turn that will have you holding on tight.

The theming of this coaster is also worth noting, with the ride taking place in a magical forest setting in Wildwood Grove, complete with animatronic creatures.

FireChaser Express – This is a coaster that’s perfect for the whole family. The steel coaster features forward and backward launches, and reaches a top speed of 34 miles per hour. The ride lasts for 2 minutes and 20 seconds, and the coaster reaches a height of 79 feet.

FireChaser Express is a great choice for anyone who wants a coaster that’s exciting, but not too intense, since it doesn’t got upside down or reach too fast of speeds.

Big Bear Mountain – This is the newest Dollywood roller coaster and officially opens on Friday, May 12th. It is open this week for Dollywood season pass previews and I found this great Youtube video showing some of the first riders! I will ride it this Friday and can’t wait to come back and share my thoughts on the newest family coaster at Dollywood.

Until then, here are the specs on the newest coaster in the park:

  • Longest coaster at Dollywood, with a ride time of 99-104 seconds
  • 48 mph Max Speed
  • It’s 66 feet high at the highest point
  • Great family coaster with a minimum height requirement of 39 inches

Dollywood Wooden Roller Coasters

Lightning Rod – Let’s start with the most famous coaster at Dollywood: Lightning Rod. This wooden coaster reaches a top speed of 73 miles per hour, making it the fastest wooden coaster in the world. It’s also the first wooden coaster to use a launch system, which propels riders from 0 to 45 miles per hour in just 2.5 seconds.

FireChaser Express and other generic images around Dollywood. Photo by Steven Bridges/

The ride lasts for 3 minutes and 12 seconds, and the coaster reaches a height of 165 feet. If you’re looking for a truly heart-pumping experience, Lightning Rod is the coaster for you.

Thunderhead – This wooden coaster features a 100-foot drop and reaches a top speed of 55 miles per hour. The ride lasts for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and the coaster reaches a height of 100 feet. Thunderhead is a great choice for anyone who wants a classic wooden coaster experience, complete with head shaking action.

Totally Unique Coasters

Blazing Fury – Blazing Fury is an iconic ride at Dollywood that has been entertaining guests for over 40 years – yes, the ride is even older than Dollywood [learn even more cool facts about Dollywood in this post].

This indoor roller coaster takes riders on a journey through a mountain town ravaged by fire, with animatronic figures and special effects bringing the story to life. Unlike some of the other coasters at Dollywood, Blazing Fury is a more mild coaster that’s perfect for families with younger children. The coaster reaches a top speed of 27 miles per hour and features drops and turns that are exciting but not too intense, although it could be considered a little creepy since it’s indoors and in the dark.

Wild Eagle – A steel coaster that’s known for its unique winged design. Riders sit on either side of the coaster track, with nothing above or below them, giving the sensation of flying through the air.

The coaster reaches a top speed of 61 miles per hour, and the ride lasts for 2 minutes and 22 seconds. The coaster reaches a height of 210 feet, providing stunning views of the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Wild Eagle is a must-ride for anyone who wants to feel like they’re soaring through the sky.

Mystery Mine – This steel coaster takes riders on a thrilling journey through an abandoned coal mine, with drops, twists, and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat. The theming truly makes this coaster unique.

It reaches a top speed of 46 miles per hour, and the ride lasts for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The coaster reaches a height of 85 feet and features a 95-degree drop that will make your stomach drop. The theming on this coaster is also top-notch, with special effects and animatronics adding to the immersive experience. If you’re looking for a coaster with a bit of a spooky twist, Mystery Mine is definitely worth checking out.

Tennessee Tornado – For those who prefer a more traditional coaster experience, there’s Tennessee Tornado. This steel coaster features three inversions and reaches a top speed of 63 miles per hour. The ride lasts for 1 minute and 48 seconds, and the coaster reaches a height of 128 feet.

Tennessee Tornado is a great choice for anyone who wants a coaster that combines speed with twists and turns.

Dollywood Roller Coasters Ranked

While I realize that ranking coasters could look different for everyone, I have to share my family’s Dollywood roller coasters rank with you!

First, let me tell you a bit about our “coaster knowledge”. We like them! That’s all that matters, right? I’m not pretending to be a roller coaster expert, but my 13 year old daughter, Sophia, would like to think she is. Her opinion definitely weighed heavy in our ranking [otherwise FireChaser Express would be higher on my list!].

  1. Wild Eagle – It’s the smoothest coaster you’ll find at Dollywood and dare I say, at almost any theme park. It’s fun to ride every single time we go to the park and if you can snag the front seat, do it!
  2. Lightning Rod – While we don’t ride it every trip to Dollywood, it stands out. Once you’ve ridden Lightning Rod, you’ll understand. From the fast takeoff to the hang time, it’s an iconic ride, for sure.
  3. Tennessee Tornado – I have a couple of girls that just love roller coasters and this one, with it’s double loop, is pretty smooth too.
  4. Dragonflier – Our first family coaster in the ranking. This one actually flies pretty quickly. The girls like it a little more than I do, but I let it fly up the list since Wildwood Grove is now one of my favorite areas of the park.
  5. Mystery Mine – This one ranks high because of the theming. As a coaster, it has some intense “twists or turns” without giving too much away, but the theming puts it higher for me. You truly feel like you’re in a mine the whole time.
  6. FireChaser Express – FireChaser is just one of my favorites, but I couldn’t convince Sophia to move it any higher. She likes thrills and says this one doesn’t deliver. I disagree, but there you have it. The theming here is also amazing and I think it’s just a fantastic ride for the whole family!
  7. Thunderhead – To put the only wooden roller coaster so close to the bottom of the Dollywood roller coasters ranked list shows my age. I used to love Thunderhead, but now as I’m nearing 40, the shaking just gets to me.
  8. Blazing Fury – In terms of favorite iconic rides, Blazing Fury goes at the top. But in terms of coasters, it’s never going to rank high. But DO NOT MISS IT!
  9. WhistlePunk Chaser – My girls are older, 10 and 12, so once they rode the big guys, this little kid coaster doesn’t do much for them anymore. But if you have little ones, it’s a great place to let them ride when the older siblings are on Thunderhead.

We ride Big Bear Mountain THIS WEEK – Ah! I cannot wait to add it to the Dollywood Coasters Ranked list – stay tuned!

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My friend, Aaron, wrote a blog post all about which Dollywood coaster you should ride first. We agreed on a few things, especially the idea of starting a Dollywood day with Wild Eagle!

Are there any roller coasters for kids at Dollywood?

Absolutely! Dollywood has a variety of roller coasters that are perfect for kids. For younger children, there’s the Whistle Punk Chaser, which is the perfect first coaster for kids who are just starting to get into thrill rides.

Additionally, FireChaser Express, which was mentioned earlier, is also a great choice for kids, as it’s not too intense but still provides a fun and exciting ride. Taller kids can also ride the new Big Bear Mountain and Dragonflier in Wildwood Grove.

What are the Dollywood roller coasters height requirements?

  1. Lightning Rod – 48 inches (122 cm)
  2. Thunderhead – 48 inches (122 cm)
  3. Mystery Mine – 48 inches (122 cm)
  4. Tennessee Tornado – 48 inches (122 cm)
  5. Wild Eagle – 50 inches (127 cm)
  6. Dragonflier – 39 inches (99 cm)
  7. Blazing Fury – 42 inches (107 cm)
  8. FireChaser Express – 39 inches (99 cm)
  9. Whistle Punk Chaser – 36 inches (91 cm)

It’s important to note that some rides may have additional restrictions, such as weight limits or health conditions. Always check the park’s website or speak with a park representative to confirm the current requirements and restrictions before planning your visit.

What is the scariest ride at Dollywood?

If we’re talking only Dollywood roller coasters, I’m definitely saying Lightning Rod is the scariest ride at Dollywood. But personally, Barnstormer is one of the Dollywood rides that I consider the scariest!

Advertising images for Dollywood’s Lighting Rod roller coaster during The Heart of the Smokies commercial. Photo by Steven Bridges –

Overall, I would highly recommend Dollywood to anyone who loves roller coasters. With a variety of coasters to choose from, there’s something for every level of thrill-seeker.

Whether you’re looking for a wooden coaster that will have you screaming with excitement or a steel coaster that will give you the sensation of flying, you’ll find it at Dollywood. So grab your friends and family, and get ready for a day of heart-pumping fun on Dollywood roller coasters!