Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


Coasting Your Way To Vacation Fun - Part 1

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on June 15, 2021

In case you hadn't noticed, the Smokies have gradually turned into one of the South's number one destinations for coaster attractions. Except we're not actually talking about traditional roller coasters. Yes, Dollywood theme park has lots of those, but for our purposes, we're referring to what's generally regarded around here as “mountain coasters.” Those are the rides where you sit in a one- or two-passenger car and ride the track downhill, letting gravity do all the hard work. All you as the driver have to do is use your brake to slow down when you feel that you've worked up too big a head of steam.

We've gathered information on just about every mountain coaster in the Smokies, and this week, we're passing along part one of a two-part roundup that will give you the basics about each. These rides have a lot in common. For example, there are minimum age and height requirements for passengers and drivers (they vary from venue to venue). But the features, locations and settings are different as well, which may have an impact on which ones you decide to visit on that next Smoky Mountain vacation.

Rail Runner at Anakeesta

This coaster, located at the Anakeesta attraction overlooking downtown Gatlinburg, has the distinction of being the only single-rail mountain coaster in the U.S. All the others ride on two rails. The course is 1,600 feet long and offers lots of downhill twists and turns and speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. Along the way, riders experience an elevation change of 400 feet. At the end, there's a scenic uphill ride to the top of Anakeesta Mountain. You can ride solo or in tandem, and each cart has back and headrests that help ensure a comfortable and safe ride.

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

You'll find this ride on Veterans Blvd. in Pigeon Forge. They claim to be the longest mountain coaster in East Tennessee. In fact, the ride delivers more than nine minutes of twists, turns (including 360-degree turns) and what is perhaps one of their most distinct features-four different themed tunnels. The course also has four assisted uplifts, each of which is followed by a drop. Carts can reach speeds as high as 30 miles per hour. The coaster is located on 20 acres of scenic Smoky Mountain property, and they even offer a lighted nighttime experience.

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

We head back to Gatlinburg for this coaster, which you'll find on the downtown Parkway. This ride lasts for approximately seven minutes, but that may be accounted for by the fact that you can travel as fast as 35 miles per hour, depending on your level of bravery. The course features dips and plunges, curves and even close brushes with trees. As with most other coaster attractions, Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster offers both single- and double-passenger options.

Mountain Alpine Coaster at Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park

This adventure park has two locations-Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. At the Gatlinburg location, the gravity-propelled alpine coaster also reaches speeds of up to 35 miles per hour as it winds its way through a wooded setting. Operators of both single and double carts control their speed with a handbrake, similar to other coasters. One of the unique aspects of this coaster is that it offers a Distance Control System safety feature that helps prevent carts from coming into contact with one another.

Check back with us next week to learn about four more coaster experiences in the Smokies. And don't forget that at Smoky Mountain Ziplines, we know a little about coasting too. Except instead of riding on top of rails, our guests coast while suspended from a zipline. Our Gatlinburg zip line sends you speeding through the treetops in a beautiful mountain setting that, in our opinion, is unlike that of any other attraction in the Smokies.


This content posted by Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Visit our home page, for more information on zipline adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

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