There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love rollercoasters and those who can’t stand them. Obviously, there are many in between, but unless you’re seriously passionate about the thrill rollercoasters provide you won’t seek them out. Some of us here are absolutely obsessed with the adrenaline buzz we get from riding a particularly exciting rollercoaster. Others are terrified by the mere mention of these twisting monstrosities.
Whatever your particular predilection, it’s not an understatement to say that some rollercoasters around the world would scare even the most hardened thrill-seeking veteran. These contraptions are clearly built by mad people and maintained by even madder ones. If you’re going to go on these rollercoasters, you’ll probably want to make sure you’ve got nerves of steel. Here are the 10 scariest rollercoasters in the world.
Kingda Ka (New Jersey, USA)
Six Flags is a wonderful place, but it’s hiding a venomous snake in its midst. Kingda Ka is a truly terrifying rollercoaster. It’s currently the tallest coaster in the world, with a 418-foot drop to look forward to. It’s in the Golden Kingdom portion of Six Flags and is named after a mythical Bengal tiger. That’s a pretty appropriate way to name one of the most vertiginously scary rollercoasters in the world. Kingda Ka is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Top Thrill Dragster (Ohio, USA)
Top Thrill Dragster is one of only two strata coasters in existence. If you don’t know what a strata coaster is, it’s a rollercoaster with a height or drop of at least 400 feet. That should tell you something about Top Thrill Dragster (the other one is Kingda Ka). As of this year, the coaster has the second tallest height, third fastest speed, and second highest drop height of any steel rollercoaster. Its vertical drop will terrify even the hardiest of riders. Don’t go near this one unless you have a lion’s courage.
Formula Rossa (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
This coaster is themed around Formula 1, so it’s no surprise to learn it’s the fastest rollercoaster in the world at the time of writing. It’s capable of reaching top speeds of 150mph, which we suppose is fitting. Everyone who rides Formula Rossa is required to wear protective eye goggles in case of contact with insects or airborne debris particles. This coaster also has a shape inspired by Italian racetrack Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
El Toro (New Jersey, USA)
Another entry for Six Flags. El Toro is the world’s fastest wooden rollercoaster. Given that these machines can’t quite reach the speeds of their steel cousins, El Toro still manages an extremely respectable 70mph. It might not match the blistering speed of Formula Rossa, but a ride on El Toro will still have you thinking about the choices you’ve made in life. After you ride, take a step back and marvel at the incredible construction of this wooden wonder.
Gravity Max (Taichung, Taiwan)
Gravity Max is the first rollercoaster to ever feature a tilt section. This essentially means when you ride, you’re being tilted vertically on a pivot point, which means the train is now facing downwards. If that’s not terrifying, we don’t know what is. Hanging “upside-down” (of course, you’re never really in danger as this element is tightly controlled) 114 feet in the air is enough to scare absolutely anyone into living a cleaner life.
Full Throttle (California, USA)
Unfortunately, Full Throttle isn’t named for its 1995 LucasArts adventure game namesake. No, this steel rollercoaster is located in Valencia, California, and is part of the Six Flags Magic Mountain park. It may no longer have the tallest vertical loop in the world (that honour now belongs to Flash in Xianyang, China), but Full Throttle’s 160-foot height is still not to be sniffed at. Full Throttle laughs at gravity, but you probably won’t be laughing while you ride it, unless you are truly crazy.
Wicked Twister (Ohio, USA)
Just like Top Thrill Dragster, you can find Wicked Twister at Cedar Point in Ohio (that place is making a name for itself as a thrill-seeker’s paradise, no?). One look at the spiraling towers of Wicked Twister, the world’s largest supported impulse coaster, should be enough to turn any coaster-phobe’s stomach while simultaneously filling lovers of these contraptions with unbridled glee. Just take a glance at Wicked Twister and you’ll almost certainly know whether you want to ride it or not immediately.
Takabisha (Fujiyoshida, Japan)
In Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland nests the Takabisha. This serpentine monster has a maximum vertical angle of 121 degrees and boasts a total of 7 inversions. Looking at this machine puts one in mind of a sea monster or a giant land snake. Takabisha isn’t the scariest rollercoaster in the world and doesn’t do anything particularly flashy, but what it does, it does extremely well. Nothing gets the blood pumping like the rapid-fire thrills of Takabisha.
Banshee (Ohio, USA)
Once again, Ohio rears its head when it comes to terrifying rollercoasters. Banshee is the world’s longest inverted rollercoaster and boasts a length of 1,257m of track. This coaster’s twisting inverse loops and pretzel knots will strike fear into the hearts of all who ride it. The zero-G section gives an unparalleled feeling of weightlessness, lurching you immediately back to life as you hit a pretzel knot. Banshee is, true to its name, a horrifying experience.
Cannibal (Utah, USA)
There’s something to be said for American engineering and rollercoasters. Many of the world’s most fear-inducing coasters find themselves in the Land of the Free. Cannibal is based in the Lagoon amusement park in Utah. It’s currently got the steepest drop of any rollercoaster in the USA (a drop of 116 degrees) and combines traditional rollercoaster thrills with a water feature and a cave-like tunnel section. If you’re a lover of adventure, you owe it to yourself to check out Cannibal at least once in your life.