Colorado Is Opening the Highest Looping Roller Coaster in the U.S. — With the Steepest Freefall Drop in the West

·2 min read
A sketch of the Defiance Coaste at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
A sketch of the Defiance Coaste at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Courtesy of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

There's a new gravity-defying roller coaster opening in Colorado next month, and it will be the highest looping roller coaster in the country.

The coaster, aptly called Defiance, sits on top of Iron Mountain at a whopping 7,132 feet above sea level, the park shared with Travel + Leisure. The coaster, which will open at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., on July 9, features a 75-foot vertical climb and a 102.3-degree, 110-foot freefall — which the park said is the steepest freefall drop in the western United States.

The Defiance Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
The Defiance Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Courtesy of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

"Defiance offers a one-of-a-kind experience as the highest looping roller coaster in the United States, perched atop America's only mountain-top theme park," Nancy Heard, the general manager of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, told T+L. "With the steepest freefall in the West… the best view is from the top of the lift hill where riders will briefly look out across the expansive views of the mighty Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, Mount Sopris, South Canyon, Glenwood Canyon and the City of Glenwood Springs before plunging 90 feet. It's a thrill and view unlike any other."

The Defiance Coaste at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
The Defiance Coaste at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Courtesy of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

After those breathtaking views, riders will plunge the length of the coaster in 56 seconds at up to 56 miles per hour. The coaster also features a 98-foot twisted top hat switch, a 111-foot banana roll, and a 41-foot Zero-G heartline roll.

Beyond the mind-blowing statistics, the Defiance name is special as well: it was the original name of Glenwood Springs back in 1879.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park also features other high-flying rides like the Giant Canyon Swing, which offers visitors the chance to swing back and forth over a cliff on top of the mountain at up to 50 miles per hour, and a tandem Soaring Eagle Zip Ride to feel the weightlessness of a bald eagle mid-flight.

The gondola lift at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
The gondola lift at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Courtesy of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

For those more inclined to choose gentler rides, the amusement park also offers a Mine Wheel ferris wheel to take in the views as well as tours of the Glenwood Caverns Cave, which are included in a Funday Pass.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.