If you are visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains, and in particular one of the larger cities, like Gatlinburg TN, you'll want to take a speedy ride down the mountain on an alpine or mountain coaster.
Amusement park Roller Coasters are well known for their high-speed turns, gut-wrenching drops, loops, dips, and more. Mountain coasters (also commonly called Alpine Coasters) offer similar thrills, but in a unique and different way that is fun for the whole family.
Mountain Coasters, also called Alpine coasters, offer an incredibly smooth ride, where you'll fly down a mountainside, full of sharp and banked turns, in a private car (called sleds) that generally carries one to two riders. The sleds are fully gravity-driven from the top of the mountain down, making it quiet and smooth.
As you are zooming down, you are surrounded by incredible views and beautiful forests. The individual sleds even provide their own speed control, so you can adjust the ride to your desired excitement level.
New Mountain Coasters are beginning to pop up in many different locations through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we expect many more over the coming years.
For now, here are the Best Mountain Coasters in the Blue Ridge Mountains for you to experience and enjoy! These are in no particular order and all are great fun!
1 - Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster - Pigeon Forge TN
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is the longest downhill mountain coaster run in the United States, with over 1-mile of track. On the way down, you can control your speed, but you can reach up to 27mph. The ridge takes about 7-8 minutes from start to finish, and is pure fun the whole way down.
Vehicles are designed to handle up to 2-riders, but are easily controlled and ridden by just one as well. The ride down provides gorgeous views of the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains, and also has a number of large straight sections so you can really pick up some speed.
They are open in most weather conditions and year-round.
2 - Goats on the Roof Goat Coaster - Pigeon Forge TN
Not only will you get to see real goats on the roof, you can also ride the 1/2 mile long Goat Coaster at Goats on the Roof in Pigeon Forge TN. The ride down from the top takes about 7-minutes to travel along the 4,875-foot coaster to the bottom. The ride down offers beautiful mountain views along their silky smooth tracks.
Like other mountain coasters, the vehicles are designed for up to two people, but controllable by one. Riders can adjust their speed and brake to tweak the ride to their own "thrill level". Maximum speed is about 27mph.
While visiting you can of course ride the Goat Coaster, see the goats, visit their gift shop, and go gem mining.
3 - Rocky Top Mountain Coaster - Pigeon Forge TN
Enjoy 9 minutes of sharp turns, 360 degree twists, tunnels and more on the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster located in Pigeon Forge TN. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is the longest mountain coaster in east TN, and has FOUR (yes four) uplifts to get to the top!
The total run is 3,888 feet from start to finish. You'll ride in a vehicle that will handle up to 2 people, and speeds are fully controllable. Maximum speed is up to 30mph.
Rocky Top Mountain Coaster also offers night time rides, where magnificent lights guide you through a magical thrill filled ride night time ride.
4 - Ripley's Mountain Coaster - Gatlinburg TN
Ripley's is well known throughout the world and in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas as well, for it's attractions, museum, and aquarium. Ripley's Mountain Coaster in Gatlinburg TN is another popular Ripley's attraction, where you can ride a gravity fed sled down the side of a mountain with speeds up to 30mph!
The ride is short for a mountain coaster, at only 45 seconds and the shortest on our list, but it does have a number of twists an turns which make for a short but thrilling ride at top speeds.
5 - Moonshine Mountain Coaster - Gatlinburg TN
Moonshine Mountain Coaster, located in Gatlinburg TN is Gatlinburg's FIRST and NEWEST mountain coaster. The coaster was Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, and was bought out by new owners and renovated with newer and safer technology.
The mountain coaster offers single or double rider cars that coast down through the beautiful Smoky Mountains for about 2 minutes, with the full ride being 5 minutes from start to finish. You can reach speeds of up to 30 mph. Who knows, you might even see a bear! It would not be the first time.
Moonshine Mountain Coaster is open year-round, even during rain or snow.
6 - Rail Runner - Anakeesta in Gatlinburg TN
In our round-up of Blue Ridge Mountain area Mountain Coasters, Rail Runner at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg TN is unique and was the first of its kind in the United States. Rail Runner is a single-rail mountain coaster, that features a 1,600 foot with over 400 feet of elevation changes. The ride has downhill twists and turns and a max speed of 25 mph.
Like other coasters, the sled holds up to 2 people, and provides individual brake control for each sled. The single rail really increases the thrill of the ride and provides a more "floating and gliding" sensation as you shoot down the mountain.
Coming in 2023 is the exciting new Hellbender Mountain Coaster promising even more thrills and excitement.
7 - Ski Mountain Coaster - Ober Gatlinburg TN
Ober Gatlinburg is a popular and well-known attraction in Gatlinburg TN and they offer a great mountain coaster as well. Ski Mountain Coaster at Ober Gatlinburg TN provides a relaxing ride to the top with incredible views, followed by an exhilarating ride to the bottom full of twists, dips, and turns.
The ride down the mountain is 2750 feet and can reach speeds of up to 25mph. Like other mountain coasters, the sleds are for 1 or 2 people, and the speed can be controlled with a braking system. This allows riders to adjust the ride speed for their comfort. The ride lasts for about 5.5 minutes from start to finish.
8 - Georgia Mountain Coaster - Helen GA
Georgia's very first mountain coaster is located right in downtown Helen GA, The Georgia Mountain Coaster is fun for the whole family!
Riders can control their own speed down the nearly 1-mile-long run, by using brakes on the sleds. Sleds can accommodate up to 2 riders for the up to 28mph run down the mountain. The run features many twists and turns, with a number of 360-degree turns as well. The total run is about 4 minutes long and is super fun.
See our video above for an overview of Helen GA and our ride on the Georgia Mountain Coaster!
9 - Wilderness Run Mountain Coaster - Banner Elk NC
Wilderness Run Mountain Coaster in Banner Elk NC is the very first mountain coaster located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The coaster features a 2400-foot run with speeds up to 27mph. The long run features a number of 360-degree turns around trees and large boulders, along with beautiful scenic views on the way down.
The ride is about 7 minutes long, and each car can handle 2 riders. Like other mountain coasters, riders can control their own speed and braking on the way down.
They are open 7 days a week, during all seasons. While there, visit the adventure course and gift shop as well.
10 - Scaly Mountain Screamer at Highlands Outpost
Located near the beautiful town of Highlands NC, Highlands Outpost is the longest mountain coaster in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The Scaly Mountain Screamer is a 3800-foot run that provides incredible views and sharp 360-degree turns on your way down.
The run lasts about 6 minutes, and riders shoot down the mountain on sleds designed for 1-2 riders. Each sled has an individual braking system that allows you to customize the level of speed (and thrill) to your personal limits.
Highlands Outpost also offers dining and snow tubing as well!