The 10 Tallest Roller Coasters in the World

The 10 Tallest Roller Coasters in the World

 Tripsavvy

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 and race down the world's tallest coasters.

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Number 1: Kingda Ka- 418-Foot Drop

Kindga
Courtesy of Arthur Levine

When it opened in 2005, Kingda Ka was the world's fastest (at 128 mph) and tallest roller coaster. It doesn't come close to the record for the world's longest coaster ride. In fact, at 50.6 seconds it may be one of the shortest.

It's since been topped in the speed category, but it's still incredibly fast. Does its height and speed make it a great ride? Not necessarily. Read our review of Kingda Ka.

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Number 2: Top Thrill Dragster- 400-Foot Drop

Top Thrill Dragster
Courtesy of Cedar Fair

Cedar Point has a history of introducing record-breaking coasters, including Magnum XL-200, the first hypercoaster to break the 200-foot threshold and the ride credited with starting the “coaster wars.” Top Thrill Dragster held the record for being the world's tallest (and fastest) coaster 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.

It sits smack in the middle of Cedar Point’s midway, and is almost as much fun to watch as it is to ride. Before it takes off like a bullet, huge racing lights on its tower build anticipation by changing from red to yellow to green. At 30 seconds in duration, the coaster is even shorter than Kingda Ka. Read our review of Top Thrill Dragster.

  • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
  • Type of coaster: Hydraulic launch rocket coaster
  • Height: 420 feet
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Number 3: Red Force- Approximately 347-Foot Drop

Vertical Accelerator coaster at Ferrari Land
Port Aventura

Like Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka, Red Force has a top-hat tower that goes straight up and straight down. Unlike those rides, the Spanish coaster uses magnetic motors instead of hydraulic propulsion to launch it out of the loading station. Red Force features a Ferrari theme and, appropriately enough, hits 112 mph in 5 breathtaking seconds.

PortAventura, one of Europe’s biggest and best theme parks, is also home to another record-breaking ride, Shambhala, which is on the list below. Located on the coast near Barcelona, the resort’s two theme parks offer a total of nine coasters.

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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) as well as with more regularity. 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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Number 4 (tie): Tower of Terror- 328-Foot Drop

Tower of Terror
Courtesy of Dreamworld

Using linear synchronous motors, Tower of Terror (which bears no resemblance to the same-named Disney World 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.

Tower of Terror opened the same year as Six Flags' Superman: Escape from Krypton ride. Although the two rides hit the same speed and drop the same distance, the Australian coaster accomplishes both feats with a shorter tower. 

  • Dreamworld, Queensland, Australia
  • Type of coaster: Magnetic induction shuttle coaster
  • Height: 377 feet
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Number 5: Fury 325- 318-Foot Drop

Carowind Fury
Steve Nuss/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Known as a "Giga-Coaster" (for surpassing 300 feet in height), 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. In addition to its impressive stats—it drops at a disarming 81 degrees and tops out at 95 mph—Fury 325 is acknowledged by park enthusiasts as being among the world’s best roller coasters. 

  • Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Type of coaster: Out and back Giga-Coaster
  • Height: 325 feet
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Number 6: Steel Dragon 2000- 307-Foot Drop

Steel Dragon 2000
Holiday Point/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

As with Fury 325, Steel Dragon 2000 uses a traditional lift hill (rising an incredible 318 feet) and gravity to propel it to a face-melting speed of 95 mph. At four minutes and with a length of 8133' feet, the coaster is the world's longest. Steel Dragon 2000 is located at Nagashima Spa Land, one of Japan’s premier thrill ride destinations. The ark boasts a total of 12 roller coasters.

  • Nagashima Spa Land, Nagashima, Japan
  • Type of coaster: Out and back terra-coaster
  • Height: 318 feet
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Number 7: Leviathan- 306-Foot Drop

Leviathan
Courtesy of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

Another entrant in the relatively limited Giga-Coaster field, Leviathan was the first to meet the specifications from Bolliger and Mabillard, makers of super-smooth and sleek coasters. (The company also manufactured Fury 325.) While the ride is incredibly tall and incredibly fast, given B&M's "track" record, it's also incredibly smooth. Leviathan is the tallest roller coaster in Canada.

  • Canada's Wonderland, Maple, Ontario, just outside Toronto
  • Type of coaster: Out and back Giga-Coaster​
  • Height: 306 feet
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Number 8 (tie): Millennium Force- 300-Foot Drop

Millennium Force Cedar Point coaster
Courtesy of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

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 more quickly move its trains up its mammoth 310-foot hill). Accelerating to 93 mph, the coaster is so intense that some passengers experience a brief moment of "grayout" at the bottom of the first drop.

Lots of coaster fans love Millennium Force. Others, however, move it down a few pegs for a variety of reasons. For example, despite its incredible height and speed, Millennium Force is surprisingly devoid of much airtime. After its initial drop, Millennium Force is fast, but can seem oddly lackluster.

  • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
  • Type of coaster: Out and back Giga-Coaster
  • Height: 310 feet
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Number 8 (tie): Intimidator 305- 300-Foot Drop

Intimidator 305 coaster Kings Dominion
Courtesy of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company

Like Millennium Force, the original Giga-Coaster 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 our review of Intimidator 305.

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Unranked: Hyperion- 262-foot drop

Hyperion coaster Poland
Energylandia

Scheduled to open in 2018, Hyperion will fly at a ferocious 88 mph. Its first drop will be at a nearly vertical 84 degrees. The Polish park Energylandia, is also opening a second coaster, Speed, in 2018. Despite its name, Hyperion will actually top its speed. At 164 feet, however, Speed will will reach impressive heights in its own right.

  • Energylandia, Zator, Malopolskie, Poland
  • Type of coaster: Mega-coaster
  • Height: 253 feet
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Number 9 (tie): Coaster Through the Clouds- 256-Foot Drop

Coaster Through the Clouds
Intamin Amusement Rides

As with Millennium Force, the massive Coaster Through the Clouds uses a cable lift to more quickly get its trains up its 243-foot lift hill. It is the tallest coaster in China. At 85 mph, it is also the country's fastest coaster.

  • Nanchang Wanda Park in Xinjian, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China
  • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster
  • Height: 243 feet
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Number 9 (tie): Shambhala- 256-Foot Drop

Shambala roller coaster
Courtesy of PortAventura

The mountain-expedition themed coaster is also one of the world's fastest (at 83 mph). Shambhala rises 249 but drops 256 feet because it enters an underground tunnel at the bottom of its first drop. It includes five airtime hills, the smallest of which is 70 feet (which is bigger than some coasters’ highest point). Read more about Shambhala.

  • PortAventura in Salou, Tarragona, Spain
  • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster
  • Height: 249 feet
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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 Goliath is loaded with fun. In fact, with its punishing double helix, a ride aboard the coaster could be loaded with discomfort and dread. Read our review of Goliath.

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Number 10 (tie): Titan 255-Foot Drop

Titan Dusk 2
Courtesy of Six Flags

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.

  • Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas
  • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster
  • Height: 245 feet
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Unranked: SkyScraper- 570-Foot Drop

SkyScraper coaster at Skyplex
Skyplex

We used to list this never-opened ride at the top of the page in the first position. At one time, it appeared that construction crews were actually going to build all 570 feet of SkyScraper. In anticipation of its eventual debut, we gave it the number-one spot on our tallest coaster rundown. Now that it's been delayed a number of times, it appears that the project is defunct, however. That's why we've moved it to the bottom of the list.

SkyScraper would have reportedly climbed a 570-foot observation tower. It would have supposedly reached speeds of 65 mph, and its plans called for inversions. The ride would have been located at the SkyPlex on International Drive in Orlando.

Although it's unlikely it will ever take passengers up 570 feet into the air, you can read more about the plans for what would have been the world's tallest roller coaster in Florida.

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