The “Scariest” Rides at Dollywood Ranked (Top 5)

Dollywood offers something for everyone. The park appeals to thrill-seekers and scaredy-cats alike. That being said, the rides that attract the most attention are those designed to give adventurous types a rush.

Not sure if you can handle the excitement? You might enjoy yourself more if you know what to expect. Keep reading to discover which Dollywood rides are the most thrilling — and the most terrifying! We’ve ranked five of the park’s most popular rides from ho-hum to frightening.

5. Tennessee Tornado

brown metal roller coaster among green trees

At first glance, the Tennessee Tornado might seem intimidating. In reality, however, it’s not quite as scary as it looks. Some visitors actually report that watching the ride is more frightening than navigating it in person. Still, if you find loops nerve-wracking, this ride could be capable of getting your heart racing. Otherwise, this is a great place to begin if you like the idea of thrill rides but aren’t willing to immediately hit up Dollywood’s scariest roller coasters.

As its name implies, this ride is meant to mimic the feel of being tossed around in high winds during tornado season. You’ll whip about for less than two minutes, but that short time certainly packs a punch. Beginning in a tattered barn, you’ll twist and turn, reaching speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Every loop brings its own unique thrills, but the third is the most noteworthy due to its abrupt halt. Don’t be surprised if you’re left catching your breath after this whirlwind of a coaster.

4. Wild Eagle

blue curving roller coaster with blue skies and green tries

How scary you find Wild Eagle largely depends on whether you’re afraid of heights. If you’re okay with soaring through the air like a bird of prey, you might not actually find this ride all that worrisome. If, on the other hand, you typically shudder at the thought of heights, this ride may advance up this list to become the most scary for you.

No matter how you feel about heights, you’ll appreciate all that sets this ride apart from the ‘typical’ roller coaster experience. As an iconic wing coaster, Wild Eagle aims to make you feel as if you are flying. As such, you’ll be transported 210 feet in the air before the true excitement starts.

From there, you’ll find yourself navigating a huge drop and a loop that exceeds 110 feet in height. What’s more, the ride’s zero-gravity turns will make you feel weightless. You’ll adore this ride but may also be relieved to put your feet back on firm ground when it’s finished.

3. Thunderhead

wooden thunderbird roller caster at dollywood

This wooden coaster might not seem like the most exciting ride in the park, but looks can be deceiving. While the drop of 100 feet and top speeds of 55 miles per hour fail to match the stats for the park’s other roller coasters, this ride’s wooden construction grants visitors extra thrills that don’t quite resemble anything you can accomplish with other attractions.

Thunderhead involves nearly two dozen turns, which are bound to have your head spinning. Numerous airtime thrills also promise to get your pulse up. Jostling can be expected, so consider a smoother ride if you suspect that you’ll get a headache.

2. Mystery Mine

gray roller coaster mystery mine at dollywood

The name “Mystery Mine” alone suggests that you should approach this ride with trepidation. If you’re feeling gutsy, however, you’ll love the spooky vibes in this attraction’s abandoned mine setting. Helmets and carts add to the effect, so you’ll really feel as if you’re surrounded by mine equipment.

Speeds may only reach 46 miles per hour on this ride, but that’s a lot given its mine cart structure — not to mention its many twists and turns. Perhaps most notable, however, are the 90-degree incline features, which can feel intense even for the most experienced, thrill-loving Dollywood visitors.

1. Lightning Rod

wooden roller coaster with buildings and people on ground below

There’s nothing quite like Dollywood’s Lighting Rod, which is, as a wooden launch coaster, truly one of a kind. Another perk? The ride’s hot rod theme, which reminds Dolly Parton herself of the thrill of seeing “good lookin’ boys” cruising down Main Street Sevierville on the hottest wheels.

This ride promises to deliver major excitement whenever you visit, but it’s particularly scary on an overcast evening. No matter when you get in line, you’d best be prepared to go from 0 to 45 miles per hour in no time at all. You’ll be launched over forty stories — and at one point, you’ll hurtle from high in the sky back down to earth at the jaw-dropping speed of 73 miles per hour. All this proves that wooden rides can be far from old-fashioned.

If you crave an adrenaline rush, you’ll have no trouble finding it at Dollywood. Yes, this theme park can provide a charming experience with its bluegrass music and cute artisan shops, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on those classic roller coaster thrills. Work up the nerve to hit the scariest rides — you’ll thank yourself later!