National Roller Coaster Day: An Up-and-Down Day

National Roller Coaster Day is Thursday, August 16, a great day to scream at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park where we’re celebrating with Cliffhanger Roller Coaster thrill rides, free cake and amazing prizes.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado is home to the world’s highest elevation roller coaster. The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster is situated at an elevation of 7,160 feet above sea level and to make it even more thrilling, the Cliffhanger overlooks a 1,450 foot cliff with views of the Colorado River below.

On Thursday, August 16, we’ll be observing National Roller Coaster Day along with theme parks across the county. The celebration festivities include free cake for park guests, prize giveaways and an annual thrill pass to the Park for two lucky winners—our 100th and 300th riders on the Cliffhanger Coaster. For a screaming good time, make plans to join us for a day of topsy-turvy fun. Read more about the history of this unusual national holiday below.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.When roller coaster enthusiasts in the 1980s decided to establish a National Roller Coaster Day, they looked back to Aug. 16, 1887, when Gnonen H. Chadeayne of Buffalo, N.Y. received a patent for “a new and useful Improvement in Toboggans…which are mounted upon rollers, and designed more particularly for coasting indoors or during the summer months.” He had come up with guide rollers to keep the toboggan from hitting the sides of the track.

Cliffhanger Roller Coaster

It wasn’t the earliest patent for a coaster-related ride—that was in 1869 for an “artificial sliding hill”—and the first commercial roller coaster in the United States (not counting the coal-carrying Mauch Chunk Gravity Railway in Pennsylvania that had been turned into a joyride) had been running on Coney Island since June 16, 1884. LaMarcus Thompson built that coaster based on designs by Richard Knudsen, who got his patent for the “Inclined-Plane Railway” on Jan. 1, 1878. But Aug. 16 became the date.

“A lot of people say, ‘Why don’t you change it to a Saturday?’ It’s Aug. 16,”  explains Roy Brashears, who manages a National Roller Coaster Day website, Facebook page, and Twitter. He also designs a new commemorative T-shirt every year.

“This event doesn’t belong to any one group,” says Brashears, one of four founders of the American Coasters Enthusiasts that has grown to more than 5,000 members since 1977. He is semi-retired after working for 22 years at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. Some parks participate by offering a free, discount or charity-related admission to their park on Aug. 16. Others might give a prize for riding all of their coasters. The Facebook page keeps track of activities, and its 3,000 members can indicate where they’ll celebrate the day.

At Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, National Roller Coaster Day is a great day to scream. Regular park admission applies on Aug. 16, National Roller Coaster Day.

August 16th is National Roller Coaster Day!

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 16th and get ready to scream: it’s National Roller Coaster Day! We will  be celebrating at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park by riding the nation’s highest roller coaster, the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster. There will be prize giveaways, including Annual Thrill Passes for the 100th and 300th Cliffhanger riders!

At a whopping 7,100 feet above sea level, the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster overlooks Glenwood Canyon and the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Riding the Cliffhanger is a breathtaking experience with unbelievable views, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate roller coasters!


The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster offers incredible views and huge thrills!

National Roller Coaster Day 2016 celebrates 138 years of roller coasters, starting in 1878 when a U.S. patent was awarded to Richard Knudsen and J.G. Taylor for a design that would eventually be called a wooden roller coaster. Roller coasters enjoyed a boom in popularity in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The most famous of the roller coasters from that era is the historic Coney Island Cyclone, built in 1927, which is still in operation today.

Today, wood and steel roller coasters are bigger and better than ever. The Kingda Ka Coaster, in the Six Flags Great Adventure Park, is the word’s highest coaster. Kingda Ka is 456 feet off the ground; about 23 giraffes stacked on top of each other! The coaster drops 416 feet from the first hill: not for the faint of heart!

Have the need for speed? The Formula Rossa coaster in Dubai is the world’s fastest roller coaster, with a top speed of 149 miles per hour. Riding the Formula Rossa, you’ll experience the same g-forces as Formula 1 drivers!

Roller coasters provide all different kinds of experiences, but they have one thing in common: they are all a lot of fun! We’re excited to be a part of National Roller Coaster Day, and we hope you’ll join us on August 16th for roller coaster thrills! We will be open from 10am to 6pm. Regular admission applies. For more information, visit our park info page.