#7 of 39 Dollywood Rides


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Written by: David Angotti
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Thunderhead, which is 3,230' long classic wooden coaster, features a 100-foot drop and speeds of up to 55 MPH. This amazing roller coaster is nestled between two mountains and both the views and thrills are sure to impress!

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

If you’ve ever heard the rumbling of a storm cloud, you’ll understand where Thunderhead gets its name. You’ll hear this wooden monstrosity long before you’ll see it as it bangs its way through the trees that it’s surrounded by. A wooden favorite through and through, Thunderhead has been ranked in the top 10 for the Golden Ticket Award for favorite wooden roller coasters since it opened in 2004. Once you take it for a spin, you’ll understand why.

Take a seat on the train car and pull down that lap bar; you’ll want it there as this coaster knocks its way around the wooden track at 55 mph for 3 minutes. As you leave the loading station, your ride starts out smoothly by taking you around a turn to the right and then pulling you up a 100 foot hill. This is going to be the one and only smooth part of your ride, so enjoy it while it lasts.

As you come to the crest of the hill, you’ll be shot back down those 100 feet and eventually blasted up a horseshoe shaped curve that’ll send you up and back down before you’ve even realized what’s happened. If you think it’s going to get smoother after this intense start, think again. Thunderhead maintains its speed throughout its entire trek. You’ll experience airtime hills that’ll have your stomach flying and twists that might just knock you over into your neighbor.

Once out of the first horseshoe turn, you’ll encounter multiple twists, turns, mini hills that’ll give the sensation of jumping over them, and tilts that’ll make you hold on with all your might! You’ll encounter a grand total of 22 turns and 32 crossovers that’ll have your head vibrating by the time you come to a stop. Think you can handle the intensity of this coaster that’s a thunderous favorite among many? Climb in and find out!

Inside Tip:
Thunderhead is a very jostling ride, so if you get headaches easily, this probably isn’t the best ride for you.