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22 Best Roller Coasters in California For The Fearless

22 Best Roller Coasters in California For The Fearless

So you’re seeking extreme thrills on the west coast? Why wouldn’t you, it seems like everything is actually bigger in California. This is our rundown of the best roller coasters in California.

However, before you go through the list we just wanted to include a quick note about the amusement parks where you will find these coasters.

This way, you can find the best park for your situation.

Six Flags Magic Mountain- Definitely the “thrill epicenter” of California. This park has 19 coasters, the thought of getting through them all in one day is daunting alone. Overall, this park is best for anyone seeking the best roller coasters in California.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom- This park is the best in Northern California. There are tons of great roller coasters but it also features other attractions like animal and ocean life exhibits.

Knotts Berry Farm- This is an epic park in the heart of Socal. There are tons of extreme coasters and it is very reasonably priced. Surely the best option if you’re in Southern California and cant get to Magic Mountain.

Disney’s California Adventure- While California Adventure is surely a blast, it doesn’t have a ton of roller coasters. However they do have one fantastic coaster that did make the list.

California’s Great Adventure-  A premium amusement park in Northern California. They have over 40 rides and more than one coaster that made our list.

SeaWorld- This park was already fun. But now that it has a roller coaster good enough to make our list you can get your fill of thrills and Sea animals. San Diego is officially on the roller coaster map.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk- An iconic boardwalk amusement park right on the beach in Northern California. You have probably seen it in a movie or show before.

 

The Best Roller Coasters In California:

  1. Goliath
  2. X2
  3. Xcelerator
  4. Superman: Escape From Krypton
  5. Full Throttle
  6. Twisted Colossus
  7. GhostRider
  8. Medusa
  9. The Joker
  10. Scream
  11. Riddlers Revenge
  12. Tatsu
  13. The Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster
  14. The IncrediCoaster
  15. Silver Bullet
  16. Electric Eel
  17. HangTime
  18. Flight Deck
  19. Gold Striker
  20. Batman
  21. Giant Dipper
  22. Apocalypse

The List

1. Goliath

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 85 MPH
Highest Drop 255 Feet
Inversions 0

Goliath is a "hypercoaster," because the term "roller coaster" wasn't strong enough.

Goliath starts with a slow drag up an enormous hill. The drag is so long that you may start to freak out at about half way. At that point, there is no escape.

You may have noticed that this ride is 235 feet tall but the drop is 255 feet. Thats because Goliath takes you underground and into a tunnel. Then comes the next drop of 185 feet.

As the ride goes on, you will twist sideways and dive into a helix. Experience the feeling of weightlessness to being pulled back into your seat. 

If not the best, definitely one of the best roller coasters in California.

 

2. X2

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 76 MPH
Height 175 Feet
Highest Drop 215 Feet
Inversions 2

This ride features 360-degree rotating seats. The rider is taken "off the track," and drops head-first and face down.

The half loops become total drops.

This roller coasters aim is to give the rider sensory overload. There is music, fire and lots of sound effects.

This ride is insane, surely one of the best roller coasters in California.

Truly a fifth dimension roller coaster and could be the most popular thrill ride in the world. 

 

3. Xcelerator

Location Knotts Berry Farm
Top Speed 82 MPH
Height 205 Feet
Highest Drop 200 Feet
Inversions 0

This is definitely a contender for best ride on this list. Xcelerator is tall and fast. It is especially menacing looking when you stand next to it.

This ride gets my vote for the best coaster at Knotts Berry Farm.

The name Xcelerator is the perfect fit. This ride launches riders at 82 mph straight up a 205 foot hill. Then you immediately drop.


4. Superman: Escape From Krypton

This roller coaster just looks scary when you see it. Then, when you ride it, it's almost over before you realize it. However, those seconds you are on the ride, are purely terrifying in an awesome way.

This ride shoots you in reverse from 0-100 mph in 7 seconds. This coaster takes riders vertical and gives them the feeling of being weightless. Next you drop at 92 mph.

This ride also has an electromagnetic motor that was designed specifically for this ride.

 

5. Full Throttle

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 70 MPH
Inversions 2

This roller coaster is a current world record holder. Right now Full Throttle is the world's tallest and fastest looping coaster.

Features:

  • Go through the 160 feet tall loop twice (once backwards)
  • 3 Separate launches of up to 70 mph (including once backwards)
  • Sci-fi tunnel

 

6. Twisted Colossus

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 57 MPH
Height 121 Feet
Highest Drop 128 Feet
Inversions 2
Duration 3:40

Formerly Colossus, this ride is now known as Twisted Colossus.

This is a hybrid coaster made of both wood and steel.

Recreates the classic appeal of wooden roller coasters but with enhanced modern thrills.

This ride is "rough" and takes you down huge drops and steep twists and turns.

 

7. GhostRider

Location Knotts Berry Farm
Top Speed 56 MPH
Inversions 0
Height 118 Feet
Highest Drop 108 Feet
Duration 2:40

The world famous GhostRider is definitely the best wooden coaster I have ever ridden. It currently holds the title for the fastest, longest and tallest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast.

This ride goes on for 3 whole minutes and goes over 14 hills. The drops are huge and there is no shortage of twists and turns.

This ride is an old classic, but it was completely refurbished in 2016. As far as wooden roller coasters go, this is a strong contender for best roller coaster in California.

Try this coaster at night for the best experience!

 

8. Medusa

Location Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Top Speed 65 MPH
Height 150 Feet
Highest Drop 150 Feet
Inversions 7
Duration 3:15

This coaster holds the title of highest and longest in all of Northern California. This coaster actually looks terrifying- or amazing, when you look at it.

Medusa takes you upside down 7 times. One of its vertical loops is 128 feet and actually of one the worlds tallest.

 

9. The Joker

Location Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Top Speed 53 MPH
Height 100 Feet
Inversions 3

A combination of wood and steel, known as a hybrid coaster.  Seeks to combine classic and modern roller coaster elements. 

This ride was meant to simulate the Jokers volatile personality with many turns and twists.

Features:

  • Purple and green track
  • 3 inversions (Zero G barrel roll
  • 15 extreme airtime moments

10. Scream

Location Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Top Speed 63 MPH
Height 150 Feet
Inversions 7
Highest Drop 141 Feet
Duration 3:00

Surely one of my favorite coasters on the list. This coaster is a ton of fun, it literally makes you happy. But it's still very extreme.

This ride has you sitting but your feet still hang, it is very unique. When they made the ride, their goal was to make you feel like you're flying, they did succeeded.

This ride features huge drops, inversions and high speed. This is another one I could ride all day.

11. Riddlers Revenge

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 65 MPH
Height 156 Feet
Inversions 6
Highest Drop 146 Feet
Duration 3:00

This roller coaster is another one on this list that I can simply describe as fun. It's a coaster done right.

You are actually standing up while on this ride. The Riddlers Revenge is actually the world's fastest and tallest stand up coaster. 

There are tons of inversions on this ride. So, you will pretty much be upside down the entire time you're not going down massive drops.

 

12. Tatsu

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 62 MPH
Height 170 Feet
Inversions 4
Highest Drop 111 Feet

Tatsu, represented by a dragon, seeks to make you feel like a flying dragon.

This is a a very special roller coaster. So how do they make you feel like a soaring dragon?

You ride "face down." That means you spend a majority of the time on this ride starring at the Earth.

Although the max heigh is 170, in reality this coaster is on top of a hill which takes you to a 263-foot elevation.

This ride includes lots of inversions (corkscrews, zero gravity roll, horseshoe, pretzel loop and an in-line twist)

 

13. Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster

Location Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Top Speed 70 MPH
Height 62 Feet
Inversions 2

This roller coaster is brand new in 2018 to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. It is the first dueling looping coaster in the world. ‘

This ride features:

  • Two trains side by side
  • Trust forwards, backwards and upside down
  • 12 inversions
  • Riders sit face to face

14. The IncrediCoaster

Location Disney's California Adventure
Top Speed 55 MPH
Height 120 Feet
Highest Drop 108 Feet
Inversions 1
Duration 2:36

This roller coaster is toward the top of the list for most visited coasters in the entire world.

However, it is also potentially the most purely fun coaster I have ever been on. If you ever get lucky enough to go to Disney's California Adventure on a day where there is no crowd you will want to ride it all day.

The ride isn't too extreme, but the drops, launch and loops are great fun that fill you with joy when you ride. Some people think this is one of the best roller coasters in California.

 

15. Silver Bullet

Location Knotts Berry Farm
Top Speed 55 MPH
Height 146 Feet
Highest Drop 109 Feet
Inversions 6
Duration 2:30

This inverted roller coaster was a great addition to Knotts Berry Farm. Inverted meaning that the riders "hang," with their feet dangling.

This ride features huge drops and inversions. The inversions include loops, rolls, corkscrews and a helix.

16. Electric Eel

Location Sea World San Diego
Top Speed 62 MPH
Height 150 Feet
Inversions 1
Duration 0:55

This is SeaWorld San Diego's tallest and fastest roller coaster of all time. Electric Eel is also San Diego's tallest and top speed roller coaster.

Featuring: 

  • Multiple high speed launches of up to 60 mph
  • Inversions (Including twists, loops and a "heartline roll"
  • Drops from as high as 150 feet
 

17. HangTime

Location Knotts Berry Farm
Top Speed 57 MPH
Height 150 Feet
Inversions 5
Duration 2:30

This roller coaster is "surf themed," and is also California's first dive coaster. That means it provides the sensation of "free-falling."

This Coaster Features:

  • The steepest drop in California that goes beyond the point of vertical.
  • Inversions
  • Mid-Air Suspensions, giving riders the feeling that the track has disappeared.
  • Whats more is this coaster has a stunning illuminated nighttime track.
 

18. Flight Deck

Location California's Great America
Top Speed 50 MPH
Height 102 Feet
Highest Drop 91 Feet
Inversions 3
Duration 2:26

One of Norcal's best coasters, this floorless coaster is fast and  takes you on loops outside the track.

It used used to be called Top Gun after the Tom Cruise movie but had the name changed after.

You also get a great view of part of the 49ers Stadium on the climb and are suspended over a lake while on the ride. 

 

19. Gold Striker

Location California's Great America
Top Speed 53.7 MPH
Height 108 Feet
Highest Drop 103 Feet
Inversions 0
Duration 2:13

This has been a Top 10 Wooden Roller Coaster since its launch.

It is a model among modern wooden coasters.

This coaster has been called "relentless." It features turns, twits and large drops.

 

20. Batman

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain
Top Speed 50 MPH
Height 105 Feet
Inversions 2
Duration 2:00

On this Batman themed ride your feet dangle in the air as you soar through the sky.

This ride starts with a massive drop then goes into a 360-degree loop. This is followed by corkscrews, more loops, and a fully inverted roll.

Definitely a great coaster and a ton of fun. A must-ride if you end up going to Six Flags magic mountain.

 

21. Giant Dipper

Location Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Top Speed 55 MPH
Height 70 Feet
Inversions 0
Duration 1:52

This historic coaster was built in 1924. Most of us have seen this wooden roller coaster in a movie at some point.

This ride is a National Historic Landmark with over 60 million riders.

This icon is one of the world's most popular wooden roller coasters.

 

Riding the Giant Dipper! from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Vimeo.

22. Apocalypse

Location Six Flags Magic Mountain Top Speed 50 MPH Height 95 Feet Highest Drop 87.3 Feet Inversions 0 Duration 3:00

Another epic wooden roller coaster. This one has a Sci-fi end of the world theme, hence the name, apocalypse.

Full of twists, turns and four massive drops. Its fast and has everything you'd want in a wooden roller coaster.

 

Note: The data used in this article was pulled from Coasterpedia.

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