The World's 10 Highest Roller Coasters

Roller coasters are often known for their speed. But in order to reach mind-numbing speeds, they have to first scale vertigo-inducing heights (at least in traditional non-launched coasters). The world's ten highest roller coasters listed here make the grade for having the ten tallest drops. Since some of the coasters have underground tunnels or are built into ravines, they aren't necessarily ranked as measured from their highest points to ground level. Heights are included for each coaster. No standing beyond this point as we click-clack-click up the world's tallest coasters.

1. Kingda Ka- 418 Foot Drop

  • Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey
  • Hydraulic launch rocket coaster
  • Height: 456 feet
Less a roller coaster and more a thrill machine designed for bragging rights, Kingda Ka is, in my opinion, a one-trick pony. Granted, it's a heckuva trick and, as the world's tallest coaster, a once-in-a-lifetime rush. But, for me, once is enough. The launch scared me silly--and I'm a fairly seasoned coaster vet. But, in the end, despite its record-breaking 456-foot top hat tower, Kingda Ka left me flat.
2. Top Thrill Dragster- 400 Foot Drop
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  • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
  • Hydraulic launch rocket coaster
  • Height: 420 feet
When it debuted in 2003, Top Thrill Dragster was the top dog--the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. The similar Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure has since eclipsed it, although not by much. Like all rocket coasters, Top Thrill Dragster is all about the hang-on-for-your-dear-life launch. It's over so quickly, riders barely have the time to fret over being so high off the ground.

3. (Tie) Superman The Escape- 328 Foot Drop

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  • Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
  • Magnetic induction shuttle coaster
  • Height: 415 feet
Similar to Australia's Tower of Terror, Superman has a taller (415 feet) tower. The trouble-prone coaster is often not operating.

4. (Tie) Tower of Terror- 328 Foot Drop
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  • Dreamworld, Queensland, Australia
  • Magnetic induction shuttle coaster
  • Height: 377 feet
Using linear synchronous motors, Tower of Terror (which bears no resemblance to the Disney drop tower rides) shoots straight and up an L-shaped track, slows as it reaches the top (and delivers a huge pop of free-floating airtime), and then retraces its route backwards to the loading station.

5. Steel Dragon 2000- 306 Feet Drop
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  • Nagashima Spa Land, Nagashima, Japan
  • Out and back terra-coaster
  • Height: 318 feet
Unlike the launched rides that precede it on the world's tallest roller coasters list, Steel Dragon 2000 uses a traditional lift hill (rising an incredible 318 feet) and gravity to propel it to a face-melting speed. At four minutes and with a length of 8133' feet, the coaster is the world's longest.

6. (tie). Millennium Force- 300 Feet Drop
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  • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
  • Out and back Giga-Coaster
  • Height: 310 feet
Cedar Point's second entry on the world's tallest coasters list is a more traditional thrill machine--although Millennium Force uses an elevator cable instead of a lift chain to quickly move its trains up its mammoth 310-foot hill. Accelerating to 93 mph, the ride is so intense that I experienced a brief moment of "grayout" at the bottom of the first drop when I rode the coaster.

7 (tie). Intimidator 305- 300 Feet Drop
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  • Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia
  • Out and back Giga-Coaster
  • Height: 305 feet
Like the original Giga-Coaster, Millennium Force at sister park, Cedar Point, Intimidator 305 is all about crazy speed and intense G-forces. It does not include any inversions, nor does it incorporate any gimmicky features such as an hydraulic launch or rider-controlled onboard audio. But it does go insanely fast and rattles riders with enough positive Gs to, well, intimidate the heck out of them.

8. (Tie) Goliath- 255 Foot Drop
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  • Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
  • Hypercoaster
  • Height: 235 feet
Goliath is one of those you-either-love-it-or-you-hate-it roller coasters. Some thrill machine fans put it at or near the top of their favorites list. Put me in the hate-it category for a number of reasons. Chief among them: More than the brief grayout I felt on Millennium Force, I nearly passed out from extreme positive G forces while enduring Goliath's punishing helixes. Extreme height and speed aren't necessarily great things for coasters.

9. (Tie) Titan- 255 Foot Drop

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  • Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas
  • Hypercoaster
  • Height: 245 feet
The 3-minute-and-30-second ride, which uses a traditional lift chain, soars down a 255-foot first drop and zooms through a 120-foot long tunnel.

10. Fujiyama- 230 Foot Drop
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  • Fuji-Q Highland, Yamanashi, Japan
  • Hypercoaster
  • Height: 259 feet
At 6708 feet and with a running time of 3:36, Fujiyama is also one of the world's longest coasters.

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