Colorado’s Top Thrill Rides
Built for the boldest of the brave.
By Lisa Blake
Dangling over canyon walls, screaming your way across a zip line, flinging yourself over a ledge and soaring like a bird. Sound like your dream day? Colorado is stocked with daring, heart-dropping thrill rides.
Start building your summer bucket list with these top-rated screamers.
Your first stop should be family-owned Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Some of the state’s most exhilarating rides live on top of Iron Mountain just outside of Glenwood Springs. Take the cable-line tram to this high-altitude amusement park and start with the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride. The winged open-air two-seater lives up to its name, carrying riders 600 feet vertical and dropping them down the wind-whipped mountain. The world’s first drop ride to plummet underground, the Haunted Mine Drop plunges riders 110 feet down inside 7,000-foot Iron Mountain, screams echoing off the rocky walls. Life-like ghost miners share their tragic tale while the floor drops out, adding an authentic touch.
The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster pushes stomach-dropping limits at 7,160 feet, making it the highest elevation roller coaster in North America. Watch the Colorado River flow 1,450 feet below as you whip around corners and drop down rails bolted to a concrete pad on the edge of a cliff. For something a little more mellow but still terrifying, hop on the Glenwood Canyon Flyer. The tree-swing-gone-wild spins riders higher and higher until swings are airborne 1,300 feet over the river and surrounding canyon. Frequent Glenwood thrill flyer? There’s an annual pass for you.
Yes, there’s an amazing engineering feat in the form of a suspension bridge sprawling across a deep, mysterious canyon framing the Arkansas River 956 feet below. But the adrenaline rush at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park lies in the year-round thrill rides speckled around the property.
The Royal Rush Skycoaster harnesses one, two or three people in for a 50-mph free fall, dangling 1,200 feet above the rushing Arkansas River. With the canyon and the entire valley laid out below, your feet swinging in the air, it’s no wonder thrill ride fans are calling this the world’s scariest skycoaster. After you catch your breath, head over to America’s highest zip line and whiz across the gorge on the Cloudscraper Zipline. The hands-free adventure puts you 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River, daring riders to look down.
In Denver, Elitch Gardens Theme Park will strap you and a friend into a human Sling Shot and catapult you to 80 mph from a standstill in just a few short seconds. Launch into the air in a ball of screams, before gravity pulls you back to Earth. Love bungee jumping? Elitch’s XLR8R is your destination for borderline-insane free-falls. Colorado’s largest free-fall swing pulls you up 150 feet in the air and drops you for some harness-stretching, hang-gliding meets skydiving elation.
Extreme rides thrive in extreme environments, making the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Manitou Springs a natural spot for adventure. Launch off a 200-foot rocky cliff over breathtaking Williams Canyon on the Terror-dactyl. Free-fall speeds edge 100 mph before riders swing like a pendulum above the canyon floor. Hit 40 mph on the Bat-a-Pult‘s 1,200-foot round-trip flight above the canyon. You’ll soar like a winged nocturnal native on this adrenaline rush of a ride.
Explore more Colorado spring and summer fun ideas.