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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Roller Coasters > Reviews > GhostRider


Knott's Berry Farm

When Knott's Berry Farm set out to begin the largest project in the park's 78-year history, no one knew for sure what sort of legend they would resurrect.

GhostRider Wooden Roller Coaster
GhostRider wooden coaster at Knott's Berry Farm theme park in Southern California.

The story begins with a Union soldier during the Civil War who ventured out west following a tale of gold to be found in the California. Settling in the California boomtown of Calico, this gentleman found work in the famous Calico mine.

What exactly happened to him is unknown, but according to local folklore this gentleman ventured into the Calico mine on horseback one dark night and never returned.

Following his mysterious disappearance locals' recall seeing something odd in the sky on dark, clear nights. The mysterious sightings appeared to be a ghost onboard a horse riding across the sky. So as the legend goes, the odd sightings became the Ghostrider in the sky.


Largest Project In Knott's History

Riders On GhostRider RollercoasterThree seven-car trains from the Philadelphia Toboggan Company operate on GhostRider.

Reviving the lost legend, the folks at Knott's set out to build one of world's greatest thrill rides and the first major new attraction in nearly a decade. GhostRider would become one of the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coasters in the world.

The project, the largest in the park's 78-year history was initiated nearly five years prior to the completion. It altered the appearance of the Old West Ghost Town, California Marketplace and made a bold change to the appearance of the park's main drag Grand Avenue.

Roller Coaster Facts
Type of Coaster:
Wooden Double Out and Back

Height: 118 feet
Max drop: 108 feet
Descent angle: 51°
G-force: 3.14 G's
Top speed: 56 mph
Length: 4,533 feet

Ride Time:
2 minutes, 30 seconds

Other Features:
'L' Shape Double Out and Back Layout, 360-degree Helix Finale

Quick Facts:
Read through the review and photo pages to learn more.

Wood Structure:
2.5 Million Board Feet of Southern Yellow Pine

Construction Materials:
50,000 pounds of nails, 1,000 tons of nuts and bolts, 250 tons of steel and 1,410 cubic yards of concrete

Number of Trains:
3 - 28 Passenger PTC Trains

Height Restriction:
Under 48-inches

Opening Date:
December 8, 1998

Coaster Designer:
Custom Coasters, Inc.

Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park, California

GhostRider First Drop Riders POV
From the rider's perspective, the 108-foot first drop on Knott's GhostRider roller coaster.

Shortly after the ground breaking Knott's Berry Farm was acquired by Cedar Fair L.P. based in Sandusky, Ohio, a company famous for their flagship park Cedar Point. The new management picked up where the Knott family left off and carried the project through to its completion on December 8, 1998.

The combination of a wooden coaster and the historic Ghost Town was a perfect fit. In fact, upon opening, GhostRider almost instantly earned the distinction of being called a world-class wooden coaster. Knott's Berry Farm and the Ghost Town would never be the same again...and all for the better.


GhostRider – The Ride Experience

GhostRider First Drop, Knott's Berry Farm

Designed to fit into the rugged Western town, GhostRider was the first major attraction for the Ghost Town since the Timber Mountain Log Ride opened in 1969. This state-of-the-art wooden roller coaster instantly became the park's flagship attraction and one of the most visible, seen passing over Grand Avenue at the park entrance and from nearby Beach Boulevard.

Beginning at the former site of the Pan for Gold attraction, which was relocated. The queue for GhostRider begins with a walk through a mineshaft that leads to a wooded frontier before encountering the impressive GhostRider Mining Co. building.

GhostRider Roller Coaster

This three-story wood building enhances the theme, but serves as the important loading station for this impressive wooden coaster which towers above and also houses the coaster's maintenance shed, hidden from public view beneath.

On the second level riders board either the gold, silver or copper mining cars, one of three, seven car trains built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Seated two to a row, 28-passengers depart the station dipping into a spiral turn before approaching the lift hill. While a nice start, it's just a quick teaser of what's to come.

While climbing the lift hill riders are treated to a beautiful Southern California view of Knott's and the nearby surroundings. Don't let the pleasant view fool you because the fun quickly begins at the lift's peak, when without warning the lead car suddenly disappears over the edge. Falling down the eleven-story first drop at a 51-degree angle, to reach a top speed of 56 mph! If you're in the rear prepare for the first of what will be many doses of airtime.

GhostRider Airtime

GhostRider Second Drop
Click any of the photos to enlarge and learn more about GhostRider.

Screaming into the structure beneath the helix the train emerges in style climbing the second hill that passes over Grand Avenue, the first of four crossovers.

If you're into airtime then GhostRider is going to be your best friend. GhostRider sets a precedent for what airtime should be on a world-class wooden roller coaster...EXTREME!

Out of the second drop the lead car powers up a hill and dips into a 180-degree turn with a swooping dip at the edge of Beach Boulevard. The trains take the turn with relentless speed, delivering powerful lateral forces. Out of the turn the train dives into the third drop crossing over Grand Avenue again speeding back towards the station.

Slowing down high above the station the trains make a 180-degree turn without banking on level track. But don't be fooled by the milder attitude...a surprise awaits, especially for those in the rear of the train.

As unexpected as it comes the train passes through the block break to suddenly fall with force down a steep drop into the middle of the wooden structure. Those in the rear cars will surprisingly be ejected from their seats with force for some standing airtime.

Knott's GhostRider Wooden Coaster

Riders On GhostRider At Knott's

The second half of GhostRider takes on a different feel. Easily compared with the Texas Giant, the GhostRider track winds its way through the immense wooden structure. Screams can be heard from within as the train flies over Grand Avenue to enter the lower level of the second 180-degree turn at the Beach Boulevard end.

Headed back towards the station the train screams up and over a bunny hill crossing Grand Avenue again with a pop of floating air. Entering the finale the intensity does not let up. The train flies into the helix with speed comparable to that of the first drop. Your body is immediately taken over by lateral forces that are so intense that even the strongest of souls must beg for forgiveness.

With speed to spare the train rounds the final corner to meet the final break run which quickly slows the mining cars to a stop. The initial reaction...words cannot describe it. Quite simply said GhostRider's one incredible ride!

Knott's Berry Farm teaming with CCI (Custom Coasters International) has certainly built a winner. And so the legend of the GhostRider lives once again, this time as a world-class wooden coaster, which has earned the title "best in the west."

More photos of can be found in the GhostRider Picture Gallery, including a panorama shot of the entire roller coaster.