The 10 Tallest Roller Coasters in the World

  • 01 of 17

    Are You Afraid of Heights? Move Along

    Bizarro Tall roller coaster
    ••• Arthur Levine

    Roller coasters are often known for their speed. But in order to reach mind-numbing speeds, they have to first scale vertigo-inducing heights (at least that's true for traditional non-launched coasters). The world's ten biggest roller coasters listed here make the grade for having the ten tallest drops.

    Since some of the coasters have underground tunnels or are built into ravines, they aren't necessarily ranked as measured from their highest points to ground level. Heights are included for each coaster. No standing beyond this point as we click-clack-click up the world's tallest coasters.

    Looking for the world's fastest coasters? How about the parks with the most number of coasters? Or perhaps you're more of a thrills-centric person. If so, check out my picks for the 11 scariest coasters.

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  • 02 of 17

    Unranked: SkyScraper- 570-Foot Drop

    SkyScraper coaster at Skyplex
    ••• Skyplex

    Scheduled to open in 2019, SkyScraper will reportedly climb a 570-foot observation tower. It is supposed to reach speeds of 65 mph and include inversions. The ride will be located at the SkyPlex on International Drive in Orlando.

    Although the ride has been announced, its scheduled opening date has been pushed forward a number of times. It is unclear whether the coaster and the SkyPlex center will be built. Read more about the world's tallest roller coaster in Florida.

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  • 03 of 17

    Number 1: Kingda Ka- 418-Foot Drop

    ••• Courtesy of Arthur Levine

    It's since been topped as the world's fastest coaster, and Kingda Ka might also lose its current status as the tallest roller coaster in the world. It's still incredibly tall and fast, however. Does that make it a great ride? Not necessarily. Read my review of Kingda Ka.

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  • 04 of 17

    Number 2: Top Thrill Dragster- 400-Foot Drop

    Top Thrill Dragster
    ••• Courtesy of Cedar Fair
    • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
    • Type of coaster: Hydraulic launch rocket coaster
    • Height: 420 feet

    Cedar Point has a history of introducing record-breaking coasters, and its Top Thrill Dragster held the record for being the world's tallest (and fastest) for a few years. It has since been eclipsed by the similar Kingda Ka, but it is still one heckuva tall, fast, and great ride. Read my review of Top Thrill Dragster

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  • 05 of 17

    Number 3: Red Force- 367-Foot Drop

    Vertical Accelerator coaster at Ferrari Land
    ••• Port Aventura
    • PortAventura Park, Salou, Tarragona, Spain
    • Type of coaster: Magnetic induction rocket coaster
    • Height: 367 feet

    Like Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka, Red Force has a top-hat tower that goes straight up and straight down. It is part of the park's Ferrari Land and, appropriately enough, hits 112 mph in 5 breathtaking seconds.

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  • 06 of 17

    Number 4 (tie): Superman: Escape from Krypton- 328-Foot Drop

    Superman Escape
    ••• Courtesy of Six Flags

    Tied with Australia's Tower of Terror (which follows), Superman has a taller (415 feet) tower. It holds the distinction of being the first coaster to drop more than 300 feet and to feature a tower over 400 feet. When it debuted in 1997 (as Superman: The Escape), it was also the world's fastest coaster. Problem was, it often fell shy of its theoretical top speed of 100 mph and far shy of the top of its 415-foot tower. Even worse, the groundbreaking ride often ground to a halt and experienced a lot of downtime.

    In 2011, Six Flags gave Superman a makeover with new cars and a new lease on life that has it running with greater height (and, likely, speed). It also reversed the shuttle trains so that they blast out of the station backwards and send passengers free-falling down the 415-foot tower facing forwards.

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  • 07 of 17

    Number 4 (tie): Tower of Terror- 328-Foot Drop

    Tower of Terror
    ••• Courtesy of Dreamworld
    • Dreamworld, Queensland, Australia
    • Type of coaster: Magnetic induction shuttle coaster
    • Height: 377 feet

    Using linear synchronous motors, Tower of Terror (which bears no resemblance to the Disney drop tower ride) shoots straight and up an L-shaped track, slows as it reaches the top (and delivers a huge pop of free-floating airtime), and then retraces its route backwards to the loading station.

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  • 08 of 17

    Number 5: Fury 325- 318-Foot Drop

    Carowind Fury
    ••• Steve Nuss/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
    • Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Type of coaster: Out and back Giga-Coaster
    • Height: 325 feet

    Known as a "Giga-Coaster," Fury 325 debuted in 2015. It makes quite a splash at the front of Carowinds when it passes under the path leading to the front gate. The crazy-high coaster uses a traditional lift hill to climb its enormous lift hill.

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  • 09 of 17

    Number 6: Steel Dragon 2000- 307-Foot Drop

    Steel Dragon 2000
    ••• Holiday Point/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Nagashima Spa Land, Nagashima, Japan
    • Type of coaster: Out and back terra-coaster
    • Height: 318 feet

    Unlike the launched rides that precede it on the world's tallest roller coasters list, Steel Dragon 2000 uses a traditional lift hill (rising an incredible 318 feet) and gravity to propel it to a face-melting speed. At four minutes and with a length of 8133' feet, the coaster is the world's longest.

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  • 10 of 17

    Number 7: Leviathan- 306-Foot Drop

    ••• Courtesy of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
    • Canada's Wonderland, Maple, Ontario, just outside Toronto
    • Type of coaster: Out and back Giga-Coaster​
    • Height: 306 feet

    Another entrant in the relatively limited Giga-Coaster field, Leviathan is the first to meet the specifications from Bolliger and Mabillard, makers of super-smooth and sleek coasters. While the ride is incredibly tall and incredibly fast, given B&M's "track" record, it's also incredibly smooth.

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  • 11 of 17

    Number 8 (tie): Millennium Force- 300-Foot Drop

    Millennium Force Cedar Point coaster
    ••• Courtesy of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
    • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
    • Type of coaster: Out and back Giga-Coaster
    • Height: 310 feet

    Cedar Point's second entry on the world's tallest coasters list is a more traditional thrill machine (although Millennium Force uses an elevator cable instead of a lift chain to quickly move its trains up its mammoth 310-foot hill). Accelerating to 93 mph, the ride is so intense that I experienced a brief moment of "grayout" at the bottom of the first drop when I rode the coaster.

    Lots of coaster fans love Millennium Force. Me? Not so much. The grayout terrified me a bit—and not in a good coaster way. Despite its incredible height and speed, Millennium Force is surprisingly devoid of much airtime. And after its initial drop, I found Millennium Force oddly lackluster. Between the two Giga-Coasters, I much prefer Intimidator 305 (which follows).

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  • 12 of 17

    Number 8 (tie): Intimidator 305- 300-Foot Drop

    Intimidator 305 coaster Kings Dominion
    ••• Courtesy of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

    Like the original Giga-Coaster, Millennium Force at sister park, Cedar Point, Intimidator 305 is all about crazy speed, intense G-forces, and wild height. Heck, it brags about its wacky height right in the name. Intimidator 305 does not include any inversions, nor does it incorporate any gimmicky features such as a hydraulic launch or onboard audio. But it does go insanely high and rattles riders with enough positive Gs to, well, intimidate the heck out of them. Read my review of Intimidator 305.

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  • 13 of 17

    Unranked: Hyperion- 262-foot drop

    • Energylandia, Zator, Malopolskie, Poland
    • Type of coaster: Mega-coaster
    • Height: 253 feet

    Scheduled to open in 2018, Hyperion will fly at a ferocious 88 mph. Its first drop will be at a nearly vertical 84 degrees.

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  • 14 of 17

    Number 9 (tie): Coaster Through the Clouds- 256-Foot Drop

    Coaster Through the Clouds
    ••• Intamin Amusement Rides
    • Nanchang Wanda Park in Xinjian, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China
    • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster
    • Height: 243 feet

    The massive ride use a cable lift to more quickly get its trains up its 243-foot lift hill. It is the tallest coaster in China.

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  • 15 of 17

    Number 9 (tie): Shambhala 256-Foot Drop

    Shambala roller coaster
    ••• Courtesy of PortAventura
    • PortAventura in Salou, Tarragona, Spain
    • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster
    • Height: 249 feet

    The mountain-expedition themed coaster is also one of the world's fastest. It is the tallest roller coaster in Europe. Read more about Shambhala.

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  • 16 of 17

    Number 10 (tie): Goliath 255-Foot Drop

    Goliath Six Flags
    ••• Jeff Turner/Wikimedia Commons

    It may be tall, fast, and loaded with G-forces. But that doesn't mean it's loaded with fun. In fact, a ride aboard Goliath could be loaded with pain and dread. Read my review of Goliath.

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  • 17 of 17

    Number 10 (tie): Titan 255-Foot Drop

    Titan Dusk 2
    ••• Courtesy of Six Flags
    • Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas
    • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster
    • Height: 245 feet

    The 3-minute-and-30-second ride, which uses a traditional lift chain, soars down a 255-foot first drop, reaches a top speed of 85 mph (which places it among the world's fastest coasters as well as the tallest), and zooms through a 120-foot long tunnel. It is manufactured by the same company that designed and built Goliath and shares similar specs with the Magic Mountain ride.