Travel tip: Dollywood unveils record-breaking coaster, Lightning Rod

Vaught’s note: Just a reminder now that I have control of my blog, from time to time I want to provide some useful travel tips that some of you may like. I enjoy traveling and writing about places I visit that I think others might like. And Pigeon Forge is one of my favorite places with so many things to do, especially at Dollywood. In two weeks I am going to the Cowboy Saddle Up Roundup in Pigeon Forge for the first time. But today enjoy this information on a new attraction at Dollywood.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016) — Construction progress on the most anticipated new theme park attraction of 2016 is moving ahead at “lightning” pace. Dollywood officials showcased Lightning Rod, the park’s new record-breaking coaster, during a construction tour for regional media Wednesday morning.

Dollywood Photo

Dollywood Photo

Upon arrival at the ride site, onlookers can’t help but notice the coaster’s massive lift hill, which now sits high above Dollywood—more than 20 stories to be exact. Media also were able to see the imposing 165-ft. first drop which propels riders to 73 mph. The ride’s innovative twin summit airtime hills also were on display for media during the tour. Thanks to the undulating topography which the coaster races along during its 3,800-ft. journey through the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood, much of the track is hidden from view inside the park. This serves to heighten anticipation for those waiting to step aboard the thrilling ride.

Lightning Rod already has earned quite a following from roller coaster enthusiasts, thanks to its unique attributes. Lightning Rod not only is the world’s fastest wood coaster, but also it is the world’s first launching wood coaster.

Media also were able to glimpse Lightning Rod’s hot rod-themed ride vehicles, which closely resemble tricked-out speed machines from the 1950s. With the ride’s blisteringly-quick top speed, Dollywood guests soon will feel the same adrenaline-packed rush hot rod mechanics have after stepping behind the wheel of one of their newest creations for the first time.

The ride, which is located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, provides guests with nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

Dollywood’s development team has tapped Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) as the ride manufacturer. RMC is no stranger to out-of-the-box coaster projects, having designed a number of first-of-their-kind attractions around the world. Lightning Rod employs several unique features including the lift hill launch, twin summit airtime hills, a 90+ degree banked breaking wave turn, a 90+ degree outside banked turn, and a non-inverting half loop.

For more information about Dollywood’s Lightning Rod or 2016 Dollywood Season Passes, please visit or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.


  1. Wow it’s been 30 years since I went to Dollywood. Times have changed. It was almost all craft stuff when I went there the last time. I guess I just don’t go to the Gatlinburg area any more. I used to go a long time ago.

  2. I don’t do roller coasters, I like merry-go-rounds….don’t like the one the basketball team is on right now, but I’ll take it.
    Last time I went there was a craft area that circled the bottom of a mountain. My daughter is 37 years old and she was in the 8th grade….I was in hog heaven…ferns taller than me, old people sitting on porch swings….people warning me to walk on the opposite side of the road when I came to a curve, people warning me not to go off of the road and into the woods…people there would shoot me because they would think I was looking for their illegal operations, liquid and solid. Wow, I need to go back…I did learn you should not carry food in a bag because there are bears in them thar woods.

    1. I would take you Linda one on one with a bear any day. But you and King need to go back. I love spending time in Pigeon Forge for so many reasons

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