You needn’t stand in line at Elitch’s to enjoy a roller coaster ride this summer. Instead, head to the high country where you can board an alpine coaster and have a uniquely Colorado experience. The Centennial State now offers six of these rollicking adventures, with one more on the way, so you and your family can get your heart-racing thrills at various vacation destinations throughout the state. All the alpine coasters have minimum height and/or weight requirements, and most require waivers. We recommend you check out the details online before heading to the hill. Enjoy the ride!
Known as the first mountain coaster in the U.S., Glenwood Caverns’ Alpine Coaster has beautiful views of the Colorado and Roaring Fork canyons—if you can catch a glimpse of the scenery between the ride’s sweeping, hairpin curves. Zip down 3,400 feet of track in your own car—alone or with one other rider—and be reassured that you have control of the brake (and thus, your speed).
Details: Open year-round to riders older than three and over 38-inches tall (kids between 38 inches and 56 inches must ride with an adult).
Cost: The ride is included in Glenwood Caverns’ Summer Funday Pass, which costs $49 for children (ages 3–12) and $54 for adults.
The newest buzz in Aspen is the 18-month-old Breathtaker Coaster, which races at speeds of up to 28 miles per hour along a mile-long track situated in verdant forest. The ride only takes about seven minutes, but you’ll be feeling the adrenaline rush long after it’s over. Head to the resort’s nearby Elk Camp Restaurant for lunch and drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) to fuel up before you head off to your next adventure.
Details: Riders must be over 38 inches tall (you must be at least 54 inches tall to drive the car). Advance reservations are required. Call 866-857-8769 or book your adventure online.
Cost: $54 per person for unlimited rides, including the gondola service up, or $84 adult/$54 child as part of an all-day Lost Forest Pass.
The 5,800-foot-long Rocky Mountain Coaster drops 430 feet at a grade averaging nearly 11 percent. It’s open in both summer and winter.
Details: Passengers must be at least three years old and over 36 inches tall (kids ages three to eight can only ride with a driver 16 years or older). You must be at least nine years old and 52 inches tall to drive yourself.
Cost: $20 online in advance/$25 walk-up per ride
North America’s longest alpine coaster, Steamboat’s Outlaw Mountain Coaster plunges 400 vertical while speeding through hairpins and 360-degree, stomach-clenching turns along its 6,280-foot-long track.
Details: You must be at least three years old and 38 inches tall to ride the coaster and between 54 and 84 inches to drive the car. Drivers with passengers must be at least 16 years old.
Cost: A single ride costs $15 child (12 & under)/$20 adult.
This rockin’ ride begins with a lift up the hill, so you’ve got plenty of time for your nerves to kick in before the Gold Runner Alpine Coaster starts to drop. It’s part of the resort’s Peak 8 Base Camp park, which is accessed via a free gondola.
Details: Drivers must be at least 54 inches tall to ride alone and at least 16 years old to transport a passenger. Passengers must be at least 38 inches tall and weigh a minimum of 45 pounds.
Cost: A single ride is $27 for drivers and $13 for passengers; multi-packs and all-day park passes are also available.
Zip through the trees on Vail’s 3,400-foot-long Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, an anchor attraction at the resort’s Epic Discovery adventure center, which also features more adrenaline-packed activities including ziplines, adventure courses, and a climbing wall.
Details: Participants who stand less than 54 inches tall must ride with a driver who is at least 16 years old and 54 inches in height. You must be at least three years old and 38 inches tall to ride the coaster.
Cost: Enjoy a single ride for $27 or as part of the $75 Coaster and Brews package with a friend. Participants without a current Epic Pass must also pay for a scenic gondola ride ($39) to get to the start.
When it opens this summer, Purgatory’s Inferno Mountain Coaster will be the state’s latest downhill ride, complete with nine switchbacks and stomach-lurching dips that you can enjoy in both summer and winter.
Details: Construction was postponed due to the 416 Fire but is expected to be finished near the end of the summer.
Cost: Pay $20 for a single trip or get a substantial discount by purchasing one of the resort’s Total Adventure tickets.