What are Wooden Roller Coasters and are they Safe?

Wooden roller coasters are a popular type of amusement park ride, but there are some safety concerns that you should be aware of before you ride one.

History of Wooden Coasters

Wooden coasters have been around for centuries, and their history is fascinating. These coasters were originally used to transport goods and people around the world. Wooden coasters were also used to build houses and other structures. Today, wooden coasters are still used to transport goods and people, but they are also used for entertainment purposes.

Wooden coasters are a popular attraction at amusement parks and theme parks. These coasters provide a thrilling ride for passengers and are a great way to experience the history of these fascinating structures.

What are Wooden Roller Coasters?

A wooden roller coaster is a thrilling amusement park ride that consists of a track made of wood, with banks, valleys, and twists and turns.

The trains that ride on wooden roller coasters are also made of wood.

Wooden roller coasters have been around since the 1800s, and they continue to be a popular choice for both amusement parks and riders. Many people believe that wooden roller coasters provide a more intense and exciting ride than their steel counterparts.

While wooden roller coasters can be thrilling, they also come with some inherent risks. Because the tracks are made of wood, they are subject to wear and tear. This can eventually lead to cracks or breaks in the track, which can be dangerous for riders.

the roller coaster during the golden hour

Are Wooden Roller Coasters Safe?

These types of rides have been around for over a century and are a staple of many amusement parks.

So, are wooden roller coasters safe?

Overall, wooden roller coasters are safe. In fact, they have a very good safety record.

However, there have been some accidents involving wooden roller coasters, some of which have been fatal.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you're considering riding a wooden roller coaster. First, be sure to check the height requirements.

The Risks of Riding a Wooden Roller Coaster

So, are wooden roller coasters more dangerous? While wooden roller coasters can be a lot of fun, they also come with some risks. One of the biggest risks associated with wooden roller coasters is the potential for the track to break or collapse. This can happen if the coaster is not properly maintained or if it is not inspected on a regular basis. If the track does break, it can result in serious injuries or even death. Another risk to consider is the possibility of getting stuck on the coaster.

Wooden Roller Coasters vs Steel Roller Coasters

There are many differences between wooden roller coasters and steel roller coasters. The most obvious difference is the material from which each type of coaster is made.

Wooden coasters are, as the name suggests, made mostly of wood, while steel coasters are made of steel. This means that wooden coasters are much more susceptible to fire than steel coasters.

Another difference between the two types of coasters is the way in which they are built. Wooden coasters are typically built by overlaying wooden boards on top of each other, while steel coasters are built by welding steel beams together.

This difference in construction methods means that wooden coasters are generally smoother than steel coasters.

The Pros and Cons of Wooden Roller Coasters

Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of wooden roller coasters.


Wooden roller coasters tend to be more smooth and provide a more classic ride experience.

the steel roller coaster during the sunset

They can be customized more to create different ride experiences.

Wood is a more natural material, so some people prefer wooden roller coasters for that reason.


Wooden roller coasters require more maintenance than steel roller coasters. They are not as fast or intense as steel roller coasters.

They can be more expensive to build.

Final Thoughts

Wooden roller coasters have been around for centuries, and they're still a popular choice for thrill seekers today.

While there are some concerns about their safety, wooden roller coasters are generally considered to be just as safe as their steel counterparts. With proper maintenance and inspection, wooden roller coasters can provide years of fun and excitement for riders.

Commonly Asked Questions

Why are wooden roller coasters way bumpier than steel?

Wooden roller coasters are often way bumpier than steel roller coasters because of the way that the tracks are constructed. Wooden tracks are often made of planks that are nailed together, which can create a lot of bumps and jolts. Steel tracks, on the other hand, are typically made of smooth metal rails that are joined together with welds. This makes for a much smoother ride.

roller coaster and the purple sky

Why do most wooden coasters have catwalks and railings?

Wooden coasters are often very tall, and therefore have catwalks and railings to allow maintenance workers to safely access all parts of the coaster.

Catwalks also provide a place for workers to stand while the coaster is in operation, in case of any emergencies.

What exactly makes a coaster rough or bumpy?

There are many factors that can make a roller coaster rough or bumpy.

One factor is the age of the coaster. As a coaster age, the tracks can become worn down and warped, which can lead to a rougher ride.

Another factor is the maintenance of the coaster.

If the coaster is not properly maintained, the tracks can become dirty or rusty, which can also lead to a rougher ride.

Finally, the type of coaster can also affect how rough or bumpy it is. Some coasters are designed to be rougher than others.

What are your thoughts on wooden coasters with loops?

Wooden coasters with loops are one of the most thrilling experiences a theme park can offer.

The Goliath at Six Flags Great America is one of the tallest and fastest wooden coasters in the world and features a double loop.

For those who are looking for a more extreme experience, the Wicked Cyclone at New York's Coney Island has a 100-foot drop and reaches speeds of up to 55 mph.

Why are wooden roller coasters better?

There are a few reasons why wooden roller coasters are considered better than their steel counterparts.

Firstly, wooden coasters provide a more traditional theme park experience.

They are also renowned for being smoother and more atmospheric rides.

Additionally, wooden coasters typically have a more thrilling and intense riding experience due to their construction. Lastly, wooden roller coasters are more aesthetically pleasing than steel coasters and often blend in better with their natural surroundings.

Author - Olivia Poglianich
Olivia Poglianich          

Content Strategist

Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the wooden crafts and 3D product design space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.


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