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10 of the Tallest and Scariest Roller Coasters in Pennsylvania

Happy Traveler, do you crave the adrenaline rush, the excitement, the intoxicating thrill of defying gravity hurtling through space and time, arms thrown defiantly and joyously in the air through the creaking climbs and stomach-churning descents of a roller coaster ride? Get ready for some of the best rides of your life on these scream-worthy Pennsylvania coasters, most of which are Golden Ticket award winners and all of which are guaranteed to leave you breathless! With more roller coasters rated in the top 100 than any other state or nation, Pennsylvania just might be considered “coaster central.”

Skyrush

1. Skyrush

Location: Hersheypark, Hershey

Type: Steel

Height: 200 feet

Speed: 75 mph

Length: 3,600 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 1 minute

Known as the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Hersheypark, this ride is not for the faint of heart! First, you’re propelled up 200 feet of track in just 10 seconds. Next, you crest the hill and plunge down the nearly vertical 85 degrees at 75 mph with forces equal to five Gs. The “ejector airtime” will surely give you the thrill like no other. If that doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, the next series of four fast, high-banked turns and five airtime hills will, especially for those sitting in the “wing seats.” These seats extend over the edge of the track, are floorless, and are guaranteed to leave you screaming as you realize you’re essentially hanging in mid-air. While the ride is only a minute, it’ll feel like one of the longest, thrill-packed minutes of your life!

2. Steel Force

Location: Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown

Type: Steel

Height: 205 feet

Speed: 75 mph

Length: 5,600 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 3 minutes

steel force
Steel Force

Once recognized as one of the best steel roller coasters in the world, you will feel the “force” through this white-knuckle maze with a 205-foot drop, two mystifying tunnels, and dips and turns with speeds reaching 75 miles per hour. At three minutes, Steel Force has the longest ride of any coaster in the region.

3. Phantom’s Revenge

Location: Kennywood, West Mifflin

Type: Steel

Height: 160 feet

Speed: 85 mph

Length: 3,365 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 1 minute, 45 seconds

roller coaster Phantoms Revenge Kennywood
Phantom’s Revenge

Climb aboard Phantom’s Revenge (if you dare!) and get ready to go faster than you’re legally allowed on any Pennsylvania highway! But first, prepare to climb, and climb, and then climb some more past the treetops until you’re perched 160 feet in the air with a true bird’s eye view of the park and surrounding area. Next, you’re screaming down and around the track at 85 mph, hurtling through other rides in some “headchopper” moments, thrown into laterals, and plummeted down into one of the park’s steep ravines, all while enjoying some serious airtime on the ride’s many hills and wondering if your adrenaline rush will ever wear off!

4. Fahrenheit

Location: Hersheypark, Hershey

Height: 121 feet

Speed: 58 mph

Length: 3,198 feet

Inversions: 6

Ride Duration: 1:25 minutes

roller coaster Farenheit
Fahrenheit

Fahrenheit’s claim to fame is the 97-degree first drop. The looping roller coaster ascends 90 degrees, 121-foot lift before plummeting down for a memorable drop. Ready for more? The coaster’s packed layout features six inversions and plenty of airtime. The Norwegian Loop, Cobra Roll, and Double Corkscrew will keep your head spinning for days.

5. Hydra the Revenge

Location: Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown

Type: Steel

Height: 105 feet

Speed: 53 mph

Length: 3,198 feet

Inversions: 7

Ride Duration: 2:35 minutes

Hydra the Revenge
Hydra the Revenge

The floor drops, the front gate opens, and the ride is deceptively slow for the first several feet and you begin to wonder, just what is so scream-worthy about this ride. Just then, you’re launched through a 360-degree Jojo Roll. Then, with just enough time to calm your nerves and close your mouth, you’re climbing a 95-foot hill and six more crazy rolls — just passing inches above the boulder-strewn ground. How are your screaming abilities and coaster mettle, now? Congratulations for surviving Hydra’s more than half mile of coiling steel!

6. Ravine Flyer II

Location: Waldameer & WaterWorld, Erie

Type: Wood-Steel Hybrid

Height: 85 feet

Speed: 60 mph

Length: 2,900 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Ravine Flyer 2
Ravine Flyer II

Ravine Flyer II made quite the debut in 2008, winning Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket award for the world’s Best New Ride. It’s no wonder: this hybrid coaster has almost everything adrenaline aficionados crave: speed, hills with plenty of out-of-your-seat airtime, great track-banking curves and turns — and, if that’s not enough — six darkened tunnels and a 165-foot-long arched bridge that sends you flying over a four-lane highway below — guaranteed to get you smiling and screaming!

7. Phoenix

Location: Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg

Length: 3,200 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 2 minutes

Phoenix
Phoenix

Don’t be fooled and think this is a tame ride. It’s anything but, offering some of the best airtime you’ll find on any coaster — the reason why coaster enthusiasts from across the globe have rated the Phoenix the second-best wooden roller coaster in the world. With its “double out and back” layout, this classic Philadelphia Toboggan Coaster shoots up and then plunges down hills of different sizes, whips through horseshoe curves, and offers the sensation of almost continuous airtime, delivering a ride that’s definitely scream-worthy!

8. Storm Runner

Location: Hersheypark, Hershey

Type: Steel

Height: 150 feet

Speed: 75 mph

Length: 2,600 feet

Inversions: 3

Ride Duration: :50 minutes

storm runner
Storm Runner

Are you ready for speed? The Storm Runner will launch you from 0-72 mph in two seconds flat. Before you even know what happened, you are shot up the 150-foot-tall “top hat” element providing some airtime and then straight down 180 feet. Next, the coaster climbs and rolls left into the “Cobra Loop” followed by several other rolls before hitting on the magnetic breaks and jerking the riders forward at a complete stop. Breathless? So are we!

9. Blue Streak

Location: Conneaut Lake Park, Conneaut Lake

Type: Wooden

Height: 77 feet

Speed: 50 mph

Length: 2,900 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 2:20 minutes

birds eye view Blue streak roller coaster ride
Blue Streak

The Blue Streak is 80 years young this year and has been described by some as “charming” with its simple out and back design, but don’t be fooled thinking this grand dame of Pennsylvania coasters offers a quiet, genteel ride. Blue Streak is just waiting to show you how she can still keep up with those youngster coasters and deliver quite the thrill-packed, scream-worthy ride with some decent airtime. Who ever thought an 80-year-old (coaster) could be this fast and exciting?

10. Thunderbolt

Location: Kennywood, West Mifflin

Type: Wooden

Height: 70 feet

Speed: 55 mph

Length: 3,250 feet

Inversions: 0

Ride Duration: 1 minute, 48 seconds

thunderbolt roller coaster ride
Thunderbolt

As you climb aboard Thunderbolt, you might be tempted to expect the usual coaster ride where you exit the station, climb up the steepest hill, then zoom down to gain momentum for the rest of the ride’s tricks and turns. Not this time! Instead of going up, you’re immediately plunging down into a 40‐foot ravine. Roaring up the ravine’s other side, the ride makes a sharp right-hand turn and then you’re climbing one of a series of hills — each larger than the one before and saving the best for last with a nearly 100-foot drop!

Did You Know: Kennywood is celebrating its 120th anniversary!

Special Note: Dedicated roller coaster enthusiasts (and even those who aren’t) will want to journey to Lakemont Park in Altoona in 2019 for the park’s reopening and reincarnation to experience Leap-the-Dips, which is the world’s oldest roller coaster, America's last side friction roller coaster still in operation, and a National Historic Landmark.

Coaster lingo for the budding enthusiasts:

G-force: An abbreviation for gravitational force a measurement of the type of acceleration that causes a perception of weight.
Negative g-force (aka airtime): Is experienced when you accelerate downwards faster than the rate of natural freefall, often resulting in a feeling of weightlessness.
Golden Ticket: Each year, the Golden Ticket Awards ranks the best steel and wooden roller coasters in the world. The awards are presented by Amusement Today, is a monthly periodical featuring news on amusement parks and rides. They rely on a panel of voters from all around the world consisting of experienced park enthusiasts.
Inversion: A roller coaster element in which the track turns riders upside-down and then returns them to an upright position.
Jojo roll: The Jojo roll at Dorney Park is the first-ever pre-lift hill inversion where riders twist upside-down after exiting the launch station.

Want more coaster action? Check out the 40+ roller coasters at Pennsylvania’s Amusement Parks Association website, which are geared to all ages and thrill levels. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.