Lightning Rod is HERE! World’s Fastest Wooden Roller Coaster is now open!


Are you a roller coaster enthusiast?  If so, then you are in for a real treat at Dollywood!   After months of anticipation, excited Dollywood guests will be able to step behind the wheel of Dollywood’s Lightning Rod when it officially opens to the public on Monday, June 13. The record-breaking coaster has been in a technical ride rehearsal since May 23.

Not only is Lightning Rod the world’s fastest wood coaster, but it also is the world’s first launching wood coaster. The ride marks another incredible addition to Dollywood’s impressive list of world-class coasters. Upon arrival at the ride site, onlookers can’t help but notice the coaster’s massive lift hill, which sits high above Dollywood—more than 20 stories to be exact.

“I knew we really had something truly special when we started talking about building Lightning Rod,” said Dolly Parton. “It’s going to bring people from all over the world to Dollywood so they can experience all that speed and excitement. I just can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks when they burn rubber on that wild ride through the hills in our newest hot rod! I know one thing; it’s definitely going to flip your wig!”

Once launched to the top of the lift hill, riders encounter the ride’s innovative twin summit airtime hills before racing down the 165-ft. first drop. The ride reaches a world record-breaking 73 mph at the base of the drop. From there, the coaster races along its 3,800-ft. track through the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. Thanks to the rolling topography, much of the track is hidden from view inside the park, serving only to heighten anticipation for those waiting to step aboard the thrilling ride.

 Lightning Rod already has earned quite a following from roller coaster enthusiasts, thanks to its unique attributes.

 “Just as Dollywood has already reached iconic status in the amusement industry, Lightning Rod has the potential of being that rare breed of coaster which is considered an icon 25 years from now,” said David Lipnicky, Vice-President, American Coaster Enthusiasts. “Lightning Rod’s quadruple-down might be the single most anticipated element on a wood coaster in maybe a decade.”

“This is a big year all around the world in terms of new coasters,” Lipnicky continued, “but it’s undeniable that Lightning Rod is generating more buzz among coaster enthusiasts than any other new ride this year.”



The ride, which is located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, provides guests with nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

Lightning Rod’s hot rod-themed ride vehicles, which closely resemble tricked-out speed machines from the 1950s, have been noted as being some of the most unique coaster trains in recent memory. With the ride’s blisteringly-quick top speed, Dollywood guests soon will feel the same adrenaline-packed rush that hot rod mechanics have after stepping behind the wheel of one of their newest creations for the first time.

For more information about Dollywood, please visit or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

33 thoughts on “Lightning Rod is HERE! World’s Fastest Wooden Roller Coaster is now open!

  1. Dawn McAlexander says:

    We went there when the ride was supposed to open. Unfortunately there were still some safety concerns and we didn’t get to see it in operation. I have to go back now and see it run!

  2. mskathykenny says:

    Oh gosh. It made me cringe. It’s so scary just on the video alone. I can’t even imagine myself there. I would just fall apart.

  3. Elizabeth O. says:

    I wouldn’t call myself a roller coaster enthusiast but it’s nice to be able to join the fun from time to time whenever I find myself in an amusement park with an exciting roller coaster as one of the main features. I’m curious about this one! What a heart-stopper!

  4. cris says:

    Jeeeeze, they still make these in wood? Haven’t they heard of metal? Not sure I’d be happy going on this. That said, I get dizzy walking.

  5. pjkuhn says:

    My grandchildren we just on this one. They loved it. The 5 year old didn’t try it, the smallest one was too much for him, but Dollywood has fun rides for the younger ones, too.

  6. Jay Simms says:

    My husband loves roller coasters, me not so much. I showed him this and he want’s to go and try it along with my 7 year old daredevil.

  7. Kathy says:

    That looks like so much fun! I am such a huge fan of roller coasters. I love thrill rides. I hope I’ll be able to go on this one someday!

  8. hautebeautyguide says:

    I love wooden roller coasters. The creaking noise adds a bit more fun. We have one across the bay! I would love to visit this one.

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