For a family-friendly thrill that puts you in the driver’s seat, take a ride on an alpine coaster. While roller coasters are known for adrenaline-inducing speed, turns, and dips, alpine coasters take adventure to the next level. You can enjoy flying down a mountain, making hairpin turns, and throwing caution to the wind in a private little car that carries just one or two riders. It’s a gravity-driven, pollution-free, noiseless ride that lets you appreciate the beauty of mountain vistas and grassy landscapes in an exciting way. From the valleys of Colorado to the slopes on New Hampshire, there are an abundance of cozy vacation rentals situated close to the most popular alpine coasters in the country. Take a look at the top alpine coasters in the U.S.
1. Alpine Coaster, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Ride the Alpine Coaster at Glenwood Springs, the first of its kind in America. It barrels 3,400 feet down Iron Mountain, twisting, dipping, and turning through the trees. Those hand brakes come in handy when you want to slow down to enjoy the scenery, which includes the twin Peaks of Mt. Sopris, the Colorado River Valley, and Glenwood Springs. While you’re in the park, check out the other rides, laser tag, and the 4D motion theater. Your passengers just need to measure 38 inches tall and be three years old.
2. Forest Flyer, Vail, Colorado
Forest Flyer’s summer program joins Vail Resort’s Epic Discovery program, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service. Other summer fun includes zip lining, river tubing, and wildlife trails. The alpine coaster curves and twists down the mountain, giving you glimpses of Vail and lots of towering aspen trees. Your three-year-old who is at least 38 inches tall can ride with you.
3. The Outlaw Mountain Coaster, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs claims the longest mountain coaster in North America, the Outlaw, which stretches out over 6,280 feet of track. The all-season sleds carry riders over a mile at heights that reach up to 40 feet above the ground, featuring waves, dips, full-circles, and thrilling turns. Riders control personal sled speed using the manual brakes during the ride. Passengers must be at least three years old.
4. Park City Resort’s Alpine Coaster, Park City, Utah
Any time of the year, get in on the fun at Park City Resort with a trip down the 3,000-foot-long Alpine Coaster. Then, check out one of the four alpine slide tracks, music concerts, the kids’ zip line, or mountain biking. There’s plenty of great dining, shopping, snow sports training, skiing, and snowboarding or hiking, depending on the season. Kids need to be 42 inches tall and three years old to ride with you.
5. The Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster, Bartlett, New Hampshire
Your exciting adventure starts with a ride up the Flying Yankee Quad chairlift at Attitash Mountain Resort to reach the beginning of the year-round Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster. Get ready to glide down the slopes, through the woods, and wild curves on your 3,000-foot dippy-dash. As long as your kiddos are three years old and at least 36 inches tall, they can ride with you. Besides the alpine coaster, check out the pool, mountain bike trails, bungee trampoline, and an alpine slide.
6. The Cowboy Coaster, Jackson, Wyoming
Year-round, the Cowboy Coaster makes it hard to wipe the smile off your face while you whip through nearly a mile of tracks winding through the trees. Your little partners need to be 38 inches tall to ride with you to take advantage of the fun as you whip through corkscrew turns that rise more than four stories above the ground in places. There’s also the Alpine Slide to enjoy.
7. Snowbird Mountain Coaster, Snowbird, Utah
Take the kids to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort’s Mountain Coaster, in the heart of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, less than 30 miles from Salt Lake City. The carts accommodate two riders, zooming through pine trees and aspens to reach the base of the mountain. Check out the other summer attractions, including the alpine slide, the Mountain Flyer ride, and the Vertical Drop 9-foot free-fall.
8. Wisp Resort Mountain Coaster, McHenry, Maryland
The Wisp Resort Mountain Coaster twists, dips, and barrels along 3,500 feet of track down 350 vertical feet down Wisp Mountain. You regulate the speed of your coaster cart by using the hand brakes. Ride during the winter to zip past skiers and snowboarders along the treeline of the first chairlift. In the summer, your ride carries under the people riding the second chairlift. When you reach the end of your ride, a camera captures your reaction, and the photo booth allows you to view and buy your images. Kids just need to be three years old and at least 38 inches tall to ride with you.
9. The Coaster at Goats on the Roof, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Pigeon Forge vacation rentals give you dozens of options for staying near awesome theme parks and family-friendly attractions, including the year-round Coaster at Goats on the Roof. You can’t beat the view you get when flying down a mountain near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The mile-long ride at a speed of almost 30 mph adds the thrills and chills. Use the hand brakes to vary the speed and wow factor of your experience. Passengers must be at least age three on this family attraction. After your ride, let the kids feed the goats and do some gem mining before moving on to your next adventure in Pigeon Forge.
10. The Timber Twister at Spirit Mountain, Duluth, Minnesota
For an exhilarating ride through the trees with an incomparable view of Duluth, hop on the Timber Twister alpine coaster at Spirit Mountain. Towering over three stories on elevated tracks, the coaster swoops down the mountain, dodging tree branches, and zipping around hairpin turns as you look out above the treetops to catch glimpses of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River below. Let the kids who are at least three years old ride with you. Next, check out the Adventure Park attractions, including the zip line, jumping pillow, and mini golf.
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