Defiance: New Glenwood Caverns roller coaster has highest drop in U.S.

When thrill seekers strap in and climb to the first peak on the new Defiance roller coaster, coming to Glenwood Caverns Amusement Park in 2022, they’ll be sitting at 7,132 feet in elevation.

Only for a brief moment of anticipation though: The coaster then drops 110 feet at a 102.3 degree angle, shooting riders through other segments of the ride called twisted top hat, the banana roll and zero-g roll, according to a recent announcement. The whole head-spinning experience lasts 55 seconds and tops out at 56 miles per hour.

Defiance is lauded by the park as the country’s highest elevation looping roller coaster. It is so named to harken back to Glenwood Springs history, when a group of prospectors and miners set up a base to search for gold on Ute Indian land that was protected by a treaty with the U.S. government. The base was reportedly called Fort Defiance.

Technicians claim the 102.3-degree drop to be the steepest freefall in the Western United States. Though there are others with steeper angles, a representative with Ride Entertainment, which is installing the roller coaster, told USA Today most beyond-vertical coasters have holding brakes to stop the train or trim brakes to slow it down.

Defiance, by contrast, won’t be a “true, gravity-driven freefall drop,” the publication reported. The coaster was custom designed by Germany’s Gerstlauer Amusement Rides.

Take a virtual ride below:

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