The 5 Best Woodies in California

DSC_0221.JPG (Large)California is a great state if one’s looking to ride some great roller-coasters! We might not have the most renowned line-up of Wooden Coasters in the state, but we sure have a thrilling collection of these wooden giants. Here’s the 5 best woodies in California!

5. Roar

Kicking off our list is Roar, at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. The quick turns and transitions of Roar are accentuated nicely be the first ever Millennium Flyer trains, which masterfully navigate the twisty track. Though the first with Millennium Flyers, it may have become one of the roughest coasters with Millennium Flyers. The course is well paced, with some good swings to it, has a unique head-chopper tunnel, and even an occasional pop of GCI airtime, earning it the number five spot on this list.20130705_150219 (Large)

4. Apocalypse

Opened as Terminator Salvation: The Ride in 2009, this heavily themed woodie was a real GCI master piece and was the first (and only) woodie to ever feature on-board audio. In 2011, it was renamed Apocalypse, and the on-board audio was removed. Navigating its twisty track at high speeds, the ride includes tunnels, a station fly-by, and fire-effects! Though recently its age is starting to slowly show, it’s still a must-experience attraction at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The non-stop action packed ride is a favorite of many!20140618_135038 (Large)

3. GhostRider

Due to its glass-smooth, crazy air-time filled ride experience, GhostRider was probably the most ‘hyped’ about coaster when it made its debut in late 1998. Though the ride is now considered a hell-on-wheels by many, this rather rough ride is still one of the most massive wooden attractions the state has ever seen. GhostRider has a classic feel, with a great amount of air-time packed hills, which in a state filled with GCI’s is quite unique! It remains to be one of Knott’s Berry Farm’s most popular attractions, which is likely also due to the great length of the ride! A can’t-miss when at Knott’s!20140806_161106 (Large)

2. Giant Dipper (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk)

As one of the ten oldest operating coasters in the United States (1924), this ride’s historical significance alone is enough to put it on this list. However, it is actually an excellent ride! The contrast between plentiful airtime, and strong laterals make it fierce ride, regardless of its age. This classic double out and back still packs a pretty massive punch and is an absolute must-ride!DSC_0221.JPG (Large)

1. Gold Striker

There’s likely no way you’re going to disagree. After many years without any new additions, California’s Great America hit a home-run by adding the amazing Gold Striker in 2013. The ride, mainly due to local noise complaints, is plastered in walls and tunnels, making it the most head-chopper filled woodie around. Gold Striker includes a tunneled drop, crazy amounts of air-time, quick forceful transitions, and does it all glass-smooth and very fast. From the moment you drop, there’s not a single moment for guests to catch their breath. Gold Striker takes you on an incredible two and a half minute journey, a journey that crowns it to be the best Wooden Coaster in California. 20140726_183815 (Large)

Comment your thoughts below! What’s your top 5 woodies in California? Or Top 5 anywhere?!

One Reply to “The 5 Best Woodies in California”

  1. About the “Giant DIpper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Fred Church of ‘the team of Prior and Church collaborated on amusements park designs in the 1930’s. The Giant Dipper is one of the few Fred Church coasters still working. Growing up as a child in Chicago, my favorite coaster of all time was at Riverview Park. It was named the ‘BOBS.’ Both roller coasters are based on Church’s design. Riverview Park was sold in 1967 and torn down along with the ‘BOBS.’ Ten years later I took a trip to California and spotted the Giant DIpper. I screamed in delight and headed straight to the Boardwalk. Due to space limitations, the Giant DIpper is functionaly 2/3 of the length of the ride. The Giant Dipper is a classic double out and back, coaster while the BOBS was a triple out and back of the same design The first 2/3rds if the Giant Dipper are a mirror image of the first 2/3rds of the BOBS. The BOBS Fred Church also designed the trins for his BOBS styled roller coasters. In 1921 Fred Church patented a new type of roller coaster train with articulated couplings. They were two seater bob sled style cars, set on flanged wheels and coupled to the car ahead with a ball and socket joint. When GCI started building roller coasters I believe they modernized this design for their roller coasters and are called “Millennium Flyers.” I hope that when the trains at the boardwalk need replacing, they equip the Giant Dipper with these trains. It would server to make a great ride, fantastic. Chrch also has another coasters in operation. It is, the Mission Beach “Giant Dipper,” in San Diego, CA.

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