best mountain coasters in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

There will never be a lack of goals to work toward. There will never be a shortage of chores to catch up on, after-school activities for the kids to try out, or DIY home improvement projects. All these things can be fantastic opportunities to move us toward our dream lives. On the other hand, if we’re not careful, there can also be a lack of one of the most important and perhaps undervalued parts of life: fun!

When was the last time you allowed yourself to have fun? Reward yourself after all your hard work, and find time for play among the amusement rides of the Great Smoky Mountains. Pigeon Forge is home to one of the top-rated amusement parks in the country, while Gatlinburg boasts several wild coasters with stunning views of the mountains. As the amusement parks open their doors in response to the warm and sunny days, it’s the perfect time to start planning your summertime family vacation in the Smokies!

Dollywood rides


Named for Tennessee music legend and philanthropist Dolly Parton, Dollywood is a world-renowned amusement park situated right here in Pigeon Forge. Stay on-site at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort & Spa, and you’ll have immediate access to the restaurants, shops, dinner shows, events, and, of course, 40+ classic Dollywood rides. The rides at Dollywood range from gentle roundabout circuits like Busy Bees and The Amazing Flying Elephants, perfect for families with small children, to more intense, adrenaline-pumping experiences like Daredevil Falls and Lightning Rod. The theme park is now open for the summer and fall of 2022.

rides at Dollywood Splash Country

Dollywood Splash Country

If the thrilling Dollywood rides leave you thirsty for more, consider opting for multi-park tickets or season passes that grant you access to Splash Country as well. Once the summer season gets into full swing, you’ll welcome the chance to cool off and get soaked on the most exciting Dollywood rides. For instance, you could take an extreme whitewater rafting expedition through caverns and twists on Big Bear Plunge or splash down dueling corkscrew tunnels and slides with four sudden drops at Mountain Scream. On the other hand, the splash-filled jungle gyms of Bear Mountain Fire Tower and the gentle wave pool at Mountain Waves are excellent ways for little ones to get their feet wet. Between the 16 rides at Dollywood Splash Country, delicious grub and fair food, and seasonal events, the opportunities for fun seem never-ending!

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

Dollywood is the ideal place to go if you want to spend an entire day or weekend immersed in amusement rides. However, if you’d like to spend your vacation exploring a mix of Smoky Mountain activities, it will be much easier to fit Rocky Top Mountain Coaster into your itinerary.

This standalone mountain coaster traverses 20 acres of Smoky Mountain scenery in Pigeon Forge and takes over nine minutes to complete. Riders of all ages can take the reins on an individual sled and control their speed to reach up to 30 mph! Visit after dark until 10 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11 pm Friday or Saturday to rocket through the incredible lighting display. As the longest coaster in East Tennessee, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is a must for thrill-chasers!

rides at Rowdy Bear Ridge

Rowdy Bear Ridge

Rowdy Bear Mountain, also known as Smoky Mountain Snowpark, is a Pigeon Forge adventure park consisting of the following two adventure rides, plus summer and winter snow tubing, outdoor axe throwing, and a gigantic playground. When you purchase tickets for two attractions, you’ll get two free!

Ski Lift Shootout Coaster

The Ski Lift Shootout Coaster is the first Alpine Flyer in North America. Riders at least 40″ tall will hop onto this two-seat coaster and fly through twists, ups and downs, feet dangling in the open air and equipped with a laser gun. See how many targets you can hit while zooming along this wild ride!

Avalanche Snow Coaster

On the Avalanche Snow Coaster, you’ll board an individual car and follow a single track amid gorgeous mountain views. Unique to this mountain coaster is the ability to control the speed of your cart. Push it as fast as possible to catch some breathtaking thrills, or keep it slow and steady to take in the scenery. Participants must be at least 40″ to ride with an adult or 51″ tall to ride alone.

Ober Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

Ober Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

If you call yourself an adrenaline junkie, you can’t miss out on all that Ober Gatlinburg offers. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and ice skating are all the rage. However, Ober features just as many activities during the summer season, with over a dozen rides and attractions. The Ober Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is open year-round to adults and children at least 3 years old. Sit back and enjoy the scenery of the mountains, trees, and snow tubing park for 1000 feet until you reach the top of the mountain.

That’s where the exhilaration begins! Hit the brakes on your solo cart for a gentler ride, or max it out to 25 mph through the twists, dips, extreme turns, corkscrews and sudden drops. With 5.5 minutes of self-controlled riding along the snow-laden slopes, the Ober Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster could easily earn your vote as the best mountain coaster in Gatlinburg!

Moonshine Mountain Coaster

Moonshine Mountain Coaster

Though formerly named the Gatlinburg Coaster, the Moonshine Mountain Coaster remains famous for heart-racing excitement! Another top contender to be the best mountain coaster in Gatlinburg, this award-winning ride consists of a single track that zooms through the Smoky Mountain forests and foliage for 5 long minutes. You could reach a top speed of 30 mph in your single- or double-rider cart or take a more leisurely ride to catch that fresh mountain air. Plan to ride during the daytime for a relaxing promenade through beautiful mountain views, or stop by at night for a high-speed adventure through colorfully illuminated trees.

Amusement rides are practically a dime a dozen in the Great Smoky Mountains region, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same. Each of the rides at Dollywood creates a new and unexpected experience. Similarly, you’ll have to decide for yourself which is the best mountain coaster in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge after trying all four. Spend an entire weekend exploring Splash Country, or hit a different mountain coaster each day of the week in-between other activities. No matter how many amusement rides you check off your list, what matters most is that you soar into summer with some well-deserved permission to have fun!

Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller is a native Tennessean who currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. She loves spending time in the great outdoors, such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. She also enjoys exploring all that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

2 Responses to “Soar Into Summer With These Amusement Park Rides”

  1. What an exciting blog post about the mountain coaster! It’s exhilarating to see such thrilling attractions being introduced in scenic mountain locations. Now, here’s a question for you: Can you share more about the safety measures in place and the overall experience of riding the mountain coaster? I’m curious to know how it ensures a fun and secure adventure for riders of all ages. Keep up the great work in sharing these exciting developments!

    • Nicole Miller

      Hey Norman! Unfortunately, I’m not sure of the safety features in place but I do know that you can control your own speed and go at the speed you’d like (the max speed is 30 mph). You can reach them at 1-(865) 453-0033, and I’m sure they’d be able to help answer your question. I loved my experience riding the coaster. The views were amazing and I felt safe and secure the entire time. I highly recommend. Thanks!

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