Here at Terry Waters French Polishing we believe no job is too big, and you don’t get much bigger than these examples of wooden design on a grand scale. The craftsmanship and technical design that has gone into these wooden constructions is nothing short of amazing. The majority of the wooden roller coasters have been built from Southern Yellow Pine, this type of wood is chosen because of its superior compression strength and durability.

Here are our top ten wooden roller coasters in the USA:

10. Lightning Racer at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania
The Lightening Racer was built in 2000 and covers a distance of nearly 3,400 feet. The roller coaster has two tracks to choose from that duel against each other for the fastest time.


9. Thunderhead at Dollywood in Tennessee
This roller coaster is named after the nearby Thunderhead Mountain and is made from 700,000 feet of Southern Yellow Pine. The strength of the pine is similar to Red Oak with a higher compression strength, which is a key wooden design consideration.

8. GhostRider at Knott’s Berry Farm in California
The GhostRider stands 118 feet tall and consists of 4,500 feet of wooden track. Originally built in 1998 and currently under refurbishment, the GhostRider has built up a bit of a reputation as being a bit of a rough ride, which has led to the recent refurb.


7. The Raven at Holiday World in Indiana
Similarly to the Thunderhead, the main track of The Raven is made from Southern Yellow Pine and opened in 1995. The durability of the wood is the reason why this type of pine is often used for decks, walkways, flooring and other wooden design with high footfall.

6. The Beast at Kings Island in Ohio
The Beast is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world and has a top speed of 64.8 mph. One of the older roller coasters on the list first came into operation in 1979 and spans over 35 acres. It uses the wooded surroundings to enhance the rider experience as it weaves around the park.


Photo by Astros4477

5. Ravine Flyer II at Waldemeer in Pennsylvania
The Ravine Flyer II has the greatest drop of any roller coaster featured on the list at a whopping 120 ft. The original Ravine Flyer was closed in 1938 and the latest version was built in 2008 by Jeff Mason of the Gravity Group.


Photo by daveynin

4. Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce in Connecticut
The longest roller coaster on the East Coast at 4,725 ft, the Boulder Dash was voted the world’s favourite wooden roller coaster by the National Amusement Park Historical Association in both 2001 and 2004.


3. The Phoenix at Knoebels in Pennsylvania
The Phoenix was originally known as “The Rocket” and was relocated from San Antonio, where it stood from 1947 up until the parks closure in 1980. There were no blue prints for the reconstruction of the roller coaster so workers had to individually number each piece so the wooden design could be rebuilt in Pennsylvania. This must be in the running for the world’s biggest jigsaw.


2. El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey
El Toro ticks the boxes for most of the key ingredients of a great roller coaster, it ranks in the top 3 for steepest drop, structure height, drop height and fastest speed. The predecessor to El Toro was “The Viper” which stood on the same site up until 2004.


Photo by Astros4477

1. The Voyage at Holiday World in Indiana
The top wooden roller coaster on our list is “The Voyage” which just out pipped “El Toro” to the post. The Voyage has been voted the best wooden roller coaster by Amusement Today from 2007 up until 2011. The track is made from Southern Yellow Pine and is supported by over 680 tonnes of steel.

French polishing, wood restoration and wooden design repair services

At TWFP we provide commercial wood restoration, remedial wood repairs, French polishing, spray polishing and appraisal services for a wide and diverse range of businesses and organisations. Whether you’re a small or large business, contact Terry Waters today to discuss your exacting needs. Call us on 01827 874 535 in complete commercial confidence. Alternatively, email TWFP now.

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