Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on August 16, 2022
This may not have made the national news, but here in East Tennessee, reports of a new roller coaster coming to Dollywood in 2023 were practically the number-one headline. News of the attraction started coming out a couple of weeks ago, and since then, Dollywood fans and roller coaster enthusiasts alike have been buzzing about what's in store next year.
The ride is called Big Bear Mountain, and when completed, it will be Dollywood's longest roller coaster, measuring 3,990 feet in length, reaching speeds of up to 48 miles per hour and standing at a peak elevation of 66 feet off the ground. The expansion will take place in the Wildwood Grove section of the theme park, and it will represent the largest single attraction investment in its history. The price tag: $25 million.
Among Big Bear Mountain's many distinctions is the fact that it will be the park's first ride to feature on-board audio, including music and words from a character named Ned Oakley, the fictional caretaker of Wildwood Grove mascot Benjamin Bear. Within the framework of the ride's backstory, passengers set out on a journey to help Oakley find the elusive “Big Bear.” SUV coaster cars on an orange track will whisk guests away on a ride that will last nearly two minutes.
Another unique feature of the coaster is that it's a multilaunch ride; passengers will experience three separate launches as well as multiple airtime hills, high-speed carousel turns, and tunnels, including a pass behind a waterfall.
Wildwood Grove itself, which opened adjacent to the Timber Canyon section of the park in 2019, was a $37 million addition to Dollywood. It increased the size of the entire park by 20 percent and currently includes attractions like the Hidden Hollow play area and Dragonflier, a smooth family roller coaster. As is the case with Dragonflier, passengers on Big Bear Mountain must be at least 39 inches tall.
Big Bear Mountain was designed by the Vekoma company, which also designed Dragonflier. Over the years, it has also designed multiple rides for Disney theme parks, including Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
And this is all just the beginning of the expansions that Dollywood visitors will see in the years to come. The park expects to invest close to a half-billion dollars over the next 10 years in a quest to make Dollywood a premier year-round destination. The park has already spent $130 million in the first year of their plan, most of that being allocated between Big Bear Mountain and the new HeartSong Lodge and Resort. That property will feature 302 rooms, a mercantile store, a restaurant and a grab-and-go food vendor as well as a music room, kids' activities and family gathering spots.
Dollywood officials have also hinted at yet another resort on the property for 2027 and a long-term vision of turning the theme park into a year-round destination.
While roller coasters are a lot of fun, they're not the only way to experience the sensation of flying through the air high above the ground. That's where Smoky Mountain Ziplines enters your vacation thrill-seeking plans. We're one of the most fun and highly rated places to zip line Tennessee has to offer.
Our seven-line canopy tour offers something for everyone, giving newbies a chance to get their bearings on the shorter lines and then paving the way for the longer lines, which run as long as 800 feet and stand more than 100 feet above the ground. Along the way, our guests experience high-speed thrills as well as some of the most breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains that you'll find in the entire area.
Even if you've never ziplined before, we've got you covered. We provide all the safety gear you'll need, and our professional guides will provide you with all the instructions you'll need and make sure that you stay safe throughout your journey. Give us a call to book your tour today.