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The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm

by Tad on February 16, 2024 Los Angeles

Top Thrill Rides at Knott's Berry Farm - Pinterest'Sup? Tad here, the Frog Family's tween and adrenaline junkie. If you're seeking excitement south of Los Angeles, then hop into Buena Park for these top thrill rides at Knott’s Berry Farm! Knott’s provides the full variety of respectable thrills that will satisfy everyone from the first-timer, just-tall-enough-to-ride tadpoles to the veteran roller coaster speed demons (like my dad, Leap).

The park's most recent addition, HangTime is my personal favorite — the real thrill is in the vertical lift-up! Here's our guide to Knott’s Berry Farm’s thrill rides from the gentlest thrills to the white-knuckle, heart-pounding thrills that will have you leaping out of your seat.

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm

Everybody stow your loose items, sit down and buckle up, as we are about to go full throttle through the top thrill rides at Knott's Berry Farm!

Jaguar (min. height 48 inches)

Jaguar is your basic family-friendly, classic roller coaster, perfect for developing thrill-seekers. It is good for riders new to thrill rides without any large hills or inversions, but it does offer a lengthy two-minute ride and a max speed of 30 mph which makes it a great next step after mastering the short baby coasters.

Check it out at night with the toadally cool new lighting and fog effects. Sometimes you can see fireworks shooting off (and projections on the ride building) as part of the new Fiesta Village nighttime entertainment.

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - Jaguar lit up at night

Sierra Sidewinder (min. height 48 inches or 42 inches with a supervisor)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - Cars spin on Sierra Sidewinder

This Camp Snoopy coaster will please every level of thrill-seeker in your family. There aren’t any huge hills to stress over, but the biggest thrill comes from the unexpected. This four-car coaster combines speed with spinning, and you never know which direction your car will rotate as you move through nose-dives and dips. Think Tilt-a-Whirl meets roller coaster. The Sierra Sidewinder lasts two minutes and hits a maximum speed of 37 mph.

Calico River Rapids (min. height 46 inches)

Top Thrill Rides at Knott's Berry Farm - Calico River Rapids

Calico River Rapids is an eight-minute, outdoor whitewater raft ride that just might leave you soaked. As your raft moves through rapids and past geysers and waterfalls, laugh and scream as you dodge the water. Will you be the one who gets wet or your raftmates? All of you? This ride used to be known as BigFoot Rapids and has undergone a major renovation to incorporate the story of Walter Knott's family of pioneers moving west to settle on land next to the river. New features include new animatronics, themed show scenes, a new story overlay and dynamic water effects. Even non-riders can get in on the explosive fun by activating TNT and geysers as unsuspecting riders float by.

Top Thrill Rides at Knott's Berry Farm - Timber Mountain Log Ride

Timber Mountain Log Ride (min. height requirement 46 inches or 36 inches with a supervisor)

Speaking of water rides, this elaborate six-minute log ride at Knott's goes way back to 1969. It's themed after a 19th-century lumber camp. Guests travel through a 330-foot-long mountain range and plunge down an 85-foot-high drop.

The Timber Mountain Log Ride reopened in 2013 after an extensive revitalization and restoration of classic scenes, upgrades to ride figures, and new special effects to both thrill guests and preserve the classic attraction for a new generation. During the fall, ride the Halloween Hootenanny version for some additional spooky surprises. 

Coast Rider (min. height 54 inches or 44 inches with a supervisor)

Coast Rider offers the safest choice for younger families among the sea of the scariest thrills rides at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boardwalk area.

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - A car ascends the hill of Coast Rider

Hop into a four-person vehicle and climb to the top of a 52-foot-tall peak for some quick drops and hairpin turns that will zoom you to 37 mph. Take in the view of the park from atop this high coaster during the two-minute and 30-second long ride. It’s just the right amount of lifting-out-of-your-seat fun for riders looking to experience some hills.

Pony Express (min. height 48 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - People on horseback are about to go for a wild ride

Slip into the saddle of a 16-horse team and get launched from 0 to 38 mph in under three seconds! The Pony Express mail carriers in the Old West never dreamed of moving this fast. This exhilarating ride lasts only 38 seconds, but it sure beats the merry-go-round. Don’t worry ... you’ll be strapped in safely.

MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress (min. height 48 inches)

Note from Mommy Frog: Montezooma's Revenge is undergoing a major refurbishment to MonteZOOa. It reopens in 2025. The surrounding Fiesta Village is already open. 

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - MonteZOOMa art

One of the earliest thrill rides in the park, Montezooma’s Revenge blasts you from 0 to 55 mph in three seconds, sending you through a seven-story loop and straight up a hill, only for you to fall backward, once again zooming through the loop, past the loading station and up another hill, where you pause ever so slightly while staring straight down at the ground, before zooming back to the end. Whew! The ride might last only 35 seconds, but its thrills pack a lot of punch.

But the ride is undergoing a refurbishment and embracing a new backstory, while simultaneously keeping the charm of the original coaster. The new coaster will also feature a new twist to its original track. Riders won't know if they are launching forwards or backward... until it hoppens! For the new version of the ride, riders are scavengers who have just discovered Montezuma's treasure, hoping to break the curse and escape with the treasure (and their lives) once and for all!

Sol Spin (min. height 54 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - People spin and twirl on Sol Spin

If you love spinning, then give Sol Spin a whirl. Each of the ride’s six spinning arms rotates 360 degrees, and as the arms spin the whole ride swings around. This one may have you regretting what you ate for lunch, so proceed with caution.

La Revolución (min. height 48 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - La Revolucion at night

Just across from Sol Spin, you'll find another swinging and rotating ride that just may have you rethinking what you had for lunch. (Who wants to ride back-to-back? ... Anybody?) La Revolución will have you swooping 64 feet in the air (over six stories high!) to 120 degrees in both directions, all while spinning continuously! It just got a colorful new paint job to fit in with the refurbished Fiesta Village.

GhostRider (min. height 48 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - Riders ascend the big hill on GhostRider

GhostRider is the longest, tallest, fastest wooden roller coaster you’ll find on the west coast. Climb into mining cars to find yourself racing through 4,533 feet of lumber. GhostRider reaches speeds of 56 mph and a height of 118 feet, all in two minutes. Expect sudden weightless moments, drops and quick turns. The afternoon sun filtering through the slats of wood creates a psychedelic effect on top of the physical thrills of the largest ride in the park’s history. As if this coaster isn’t already rough enough, the back seat offers the wildest ride.

This ride is one of the most popular thrill rides in the park, but it's one of the first rides to open and is just a hop away from the park entrance in Ghost Town, so we like to ride it as soon as the park opens for the shortest wait of the day. In fact, the ride often opens before the park opens, so it's worth it to arrive 30 minutes early. Check this ride off your list before the park even opens. Otherwise, it will be a long wait.

Xcelerator (min. height 52 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - xceleratorOn Xcelerator, you'll hop into a seat of a flaming, fin-tailed ’57 Chevy convertible and zoom from 0 to 82 mph in 2.3 seconds. You’ll shoot straight up hundreds of feet in the air and straight back down, turning 90 degrees as you descend. We recommend sitting in the driver’s seat (the front) for this exhilarating race. Xcelerator got a fresh new color scheme before closing for repair last year.

Supreme Scream (min. height 52 inches)

If you do not suffer from a fear of heights, then the view from Supreme Scream is spectacular. You’ll be whisked straight up 252 feet in the air, with your feet dangling over the sides. You’ll wait for the drop that you know is coming, but when? Just when you start to question your judgment over getting on this contraption, you’ll be blasted downward over 50 mph only to bounce halfway back up. We promise your screams will indeed reign supreme during this gravity-defying thrill.

Silver Bullet (min. height 54 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - Riders go upside-down on Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet is one of our favorite thrill rides at Knott's Berry Farm. It's an inverted roller coaster, meaning your feet are dangling and you're suspended from above, making for a smooth ride through spirals, corkscrews, cobra rolls and overbanked curves. It will throw you for a loop, sending you upside down over six times! The ride lasts two minutes and 10 seconds and reaches speeds of 55 mph and heights of 146 feet. Real thrill-seekers will not want to miss this fan favorite. Every seat is exciting, but the best visual effect is in the front. You might think you want to head here first at park opening, but it usually opens a little after the park opens, so make this your second stop of the day after GhostRider.

HangTime (min. height 48 inches)

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - HangTime at night

Cowabunga, dudes! Surf’s up at Knott’s Berry Farm. HangTime was the first dive coaster in California. Not only that, but it boasts the steepest drop in California — a beyond-vertical drop of 96 degrees. What does that mean? After you vertically climb 150 feet to the top (the straight-up climb is a thrill in itself!), you’ll crest the top of the “wave,” sit at a 60-degree angle and literally Hang Ten, staring down at the illusion of the track disappearing into itself for almost 10 seconds. Then, ride the wave of your life through banked turns and five gravity-defying inversions, including a negative-G stall loop, Immelman, corkscrew, cutback and cobra roll. All this while your flippers are hanging free (unless you're tall enough for your legs to reach the coaster floor).

The Top Thrill Rides at Knott’s Berry Farm - Hangtime during the day

The front seat provides the highest thrill, especially when staring straight down the hill before taking the plunge. Ride again at night for the cool lighting effects of the track changing colors.

How to Skip the Line for the Top Thrill Rides at Knotts

This ranked list takes you through our top thrill rides at Knott’s Berry Farm. One thing that really scares us is long wait times, so we recommend skipping the lines with a Fast Lane ticket, which allows you to skip the lines for the thrill rides and even get to hop back on some of your favorites for a second or third time!

In early 2024, Knott's launched a new Fast Lane pay-per-ride option available for eight Knott’s rides: Bear-y Tales, Ghost Rider, Hang Time, Jaguar, Pony Express, Silver Bullet, Timber Mountain Log Ride and Xcelerator. You have to be in the park to purchase, and the price per ride is $7.50 and up. The all-day Knott’s Fast Lane pass costs about $74 to $119. It covers these eight rides plus seven more. Sales of all Fast Lane tickets are limited, but you can buy the same ride twice if available.

Our other strategy is to arrive at least 30 minutes before park opening and hit Ghost Rider and then Silver Bullet right away. For a different kind of thrill, consider visiting Knott’s Scary Farm in the fall for terrifying mazes, scare zones and, of course, these bone-chilling top thrill rides.

For more thrill rides in Southern California, read up on Disneyland’s top thrill rides, which can be found just 10 minutes south of Knott’s Berry Farm, or find out how to get the best coaster seat at Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles. If you’ll be visiting Universal Studios, you’ll want to find out how to maximize time at Universal Studios Hollywood so you can maximize your thrills there too.

Are you excited to ride the top thrill rides at Knott’s Berry Farm? Us, too! Looking for Knott's Berry Farm tickets? Be sure to check out our discount Knott's Berry Farm tickets!

Related: The Full Lineup of Beary-Good Knott's Berry Farm Events

Related: Our Hoppening Guide to Visiting Knott's Berry Farm This Summer

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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