The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area is spoilt for choice when it comes to alpine coasters.
One of our favorite rides, and the only single-rail alpine coaster in North America, is the Anakeesta Rail Runner.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this ride then you’ve come to the right place.
We provide everything you need to know, including insider tips and advice, so keep reading to find out more!
- Anakeesta Rail Runner
- How Long is the Anakeesta Rail Runner?
- How Fast is the Anakeesta Rail Runner?
- What is a Mountain Coaster?
- Operating Hours
- Rider Requirements
- Location and How To Get There
Anakeesta Rail Runner
Unlike your typical dual-rail mountain coasters, Anakeesta Rail Runner features a monorail which is built close to the ground and simulates the thrill of downhill mountain biking.
The single-rail mountain coaster is the most popular style used for Canadian Mountain Coasters so this ride is unique for the United States.
Most people who ride the Anakeesta Rail Runner say that the ride feels much faster because of the single rail.
The Anakeesta Rail Runner ride experience is made up of two parts.
Riders depart the loading station and immediately descend down the mountain experiencing a 400 ft (121m) elevation change in only 1,600 ft (487m) of rail.
This makes for a short but extremely fast and exhilarating ride, especially if you don’t apply the brake.
The single rail also adds to the feeling of speed and adds a bit more thrill compared to the standard two-rail alpine coasters.
At the bottom, the cart and riders are taken back to the starting point via a cable-pulled ascent.
If you’re planning on riding the Anakeesta Rail Runner we highly recommend going early in the day as the popularity of the ride combined with the low capacity could mean long waiting times.
How Long Is the Anakeesta Rail Runner?
Reaching speeds of up to 25mp/h (40km/h), the Anakeesta Rail Runner is approximately 1,600 feet (487m) in length and offers riders an exhilarating ride with multiple 360-degree loops, twists and turns as it winds its way through the trees and down the mountain.
The total ride time (including a cable-pulled ascent at the end) is approximately 5 minutes.
The downhill section lasts about 50 seconds.
How Fast is the Anakeestra Rail Runner?
The Eagle Coaster can reach a maximum speed of 25mp/h (40km/h).
This mountain coaster is fitted with a manual brake that lets riders control the speed of their descent.
If 25mp/h (40km/h) is too fast for you, you can slow the ride down to a speed that feels more comfortable.
The brake lever is located between your legs, pulling it back engages the brakes.
It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and before you know it you’ll be cruising down the mountain.
What is a Mountain Coaster?
If you’re unfamiliar with mountain coasters (also known as alpine coasters), check out the post we wrote.
Mountain or alpine coasters are gravity-powered roller coasters that use the natural contours of a mountain to provide riders with a thrilling downhill ride experience.
Mountain coasters are a great activity that the whole family can enjoy. However, given the nature of this ride, there are some age and height restrictions that apply.
In addition, mountain coasters are equipped with a manual brake, enabling riders to adjust their descent speed.
This unique feature allows riders to have greater control of their experience.
If things get a bit too fast for your liking you can apply the brake, if you’re more of the daredevil type then you can leave the brake untouched for maximum speed.
And finally, no prior experience or training is necessary. You can just jump in and enjoy the ride.
Anakeesta Rail Runner Video
One of the great things about mountain coasters is that many people have filmed their experiences.
These videos give you an opportunity to “experience” the ride before you go on it.
The video below gives you a first-person view of what you can expect from start to finish on this mountain coaster.
One thing to be aware of though is that point-of-view videos can be a bit misleading.
The wide-angled lens makes the drops shallower and the ride seems way slower than it is in real life.
They provide a good idea of what the ride looks like but only real-world experience tells you how they feel.
So get out there and try it for yourself!
How Much is the Alpine Coaster at Anakeesta?
The Anakeesta Rail Runner has well-priced options for both single and tandem riders.
At the time of writing, the cost to ride the Anakeesta Rail Runner was as follows:
Additional rides are offered at a 50% discount. Tickets can only be purchased onsite.
It is worth noting that you’ll still need to pay for a $25 lift ticket in order to get up the mountain.
This ticket includes the scenic Chondola ride, Gatlinburg’s most scenic views and a number of other activities.
The prices to ride the Rail Runner are in addition to the lift ticket.
Operating hours vary depending on the time of the year.
Our suggestion would be to visit the official Anakeesta website, where you’ll find an up-to-date calendar detailing when all the activities, including the Rail Runner Alpine Coaster, are available.
Due to the braking system, the Anakeesta Rail Runner is unable to run in the rain.
If you’re planning on riding the mountain coaster and the weather doesn’t look good we recommend checking online or phoning ahead to confirm it is open.
The key height and age restrictions to ride the Anakeesta Rail Runner are listed below:
- The minimum age for single riders is 7 years old and the rider must be at least 48″ (122cm) tall.
- Children between the ages of 3 and 7 ride as a passenger and must be a minimum of 38″ (96cm) tall.
- Passengers can be no taller than the driver’s shoulders.
- The maximum weight per cart is 230 lbs (104 kg).
- This ride is not suitable for pregnant women.
Additional information on riding requirements can be found on the Anakeesta website here.
Location and How To Get There
The Anakeesta Rail Runner is located at Anakeesta, Tennessee’s award-winning Mountain Top Advent Park.
Address: 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Directions to Anakeesta can also be found on the map below:
Phone: (865) 217-2164
Before You Go
When it comes to mountain and alpine coasters, Tennessee has some of the best on offer in the USA.
With a total of nine mountain and alpine coasters (and there seems to be a new one added every few years) on offer, you really are spoilt for choice.
So if you live in the area or are planning a visit then make sure you check out our guide to Tennessee’s Alpine and Mountain Coasters.