Knott’s Berry Farm is one of California’s best theme parks. The fairly small location is Anahiehn California, only a few minutes out from Disneyland packs an incredible punch into its fairly petite footprint. The Park has a lot on offer with its Replica Ghost Town, Mining and Forging exhibits, great restaurants, model trains, and Carriages, and a fantastic family atmosphere.
However, most people come for the rides, and Knott’s Berry has a seriously good lineup of top rides that will really get the heart racing and the blood pumping. The Park has always been a hotbed for innovation and has over the years been at the epicenter of ride firsts and breakthroughs. Some are not a part of history and are preserved here for posterity. But this is more than just a theme park Museum there are some bang-up-to-date rides on offer that are the envy of the theme park world and rides Coaster fans really love and come back for more. With over 40 Rides to choose from, we break down the Best Rides at Knotts Berry Farm and show you which are worth your time and which you can happily skip.
We have Ridden them all so can bring you our exclusive Knotts Berry Farm Ride Guide…Enjoy.
10 – Calico Mine Ride
- Manufacturer – Wendal “Bud” Hurlbut
- Type – Dark Ride
- Peak Speed – 8mph
- Duration – secs
We know this is hardly the most extreme ride in the park, You may think it’s slow, fairly dull, and not exactly revolutionary. However, you would be wrong, at least on the revolutionary part. This is one of the most revolutionary rides in existence! It’s just the revolution has already happened, and this ride is now basically a Museum Piece.
What we have here, is the FIRST Dark Ride! In just about every theme park around the world Dark Rides are now a mainstay of the amusement park industry, and this is where it all started. Walt Disney made no secret of watching Bud’s new idea and then ripping it off in his own parks. The Disney Dark Ride is an Icon of the industry and it all started on this unassuming little train track.
The idea is simple, jump in a Mine Train and take a tour of the inside of a mountain Mine. Inside the mine, you will find colorful displays of the Mining environment, detailed animatronic characters toiling away in the dark, and beautiful natural cave formations. It has been fully restored and looks really good…it’s actually a really fun little dark ride and an incredible piece of history.
9 – Sol Spin
- Manufacturer – Mondial Rides
- Type – Flat Ride
- Height – 60 ft (18 m)
- Duration – 1:50 Min
Honestly, we are not the biggest fans of flat rides and always feel they are a “cheap” option for a theme park to add to the ride roster without any proper imagination and investment. And really that is exactly what they are, even when they are really good Flat Rides such as Sol Spin.
The good first, this is a really fun ride. The action of the arms is really chaotic and you are never really sure where you are going or where you have been. It’s like being picked up by a giant robot and shaken about all ways. It really is hard to deny its a fun and wild ride.
But it is just an overblown Fairground ride, and not really anything overly new or exciting. But the queues are often almost zero and in that case it’s well worth a ride, definitely not a right after-lunch kind of ride though.
8 – Pony Express
- Manufacturer – Zamperia
- Type – Launched Coaster – Steel
- Height – 52 ft (16 m)
- Peak Speed – 38mph
- Duration – 40 secs
Pony Express is pretty unimposing and looks a pretty tame horsey ride, but we were really surprised by how fun a ride on the horses really was. Part of the thrill comes from the ride vehicle. Here you sit astride a model horse a bit like a Carousel, but instead of gently bobbing up and down, you are launched at 39mph around a coaster track, so it feels pretty exposed and extreme.
It’s actually really secure as a strange robotic bondage-esque restraint system raises up trapping your feet, and presses against your back, but it feels pretty open and exposed greatly increasing the thrill and fun of the ride.
The Track itself is pretty short but quite fun, the 38mph launch feels much faster than the low top speed suggests. Because it’s launched there are no lift hills or drops, but the track is built into the side of a hill so the track runs pretty high up in the air.
Queues are often short and the ride is well worth a look, as we say, it doesn’t look great but it’s a lot of fun.
7 – Coast Rider
- Manufacturer – Mack Rides
- Type – Wild Mouse
- Height – 52 ft (16 m)
- Peak Speed – 37mph
- Duration – 2:30 Mins
We love Wild Mouse Coasters and have always grown up with the tales of how these rides are the most dangerous and how cars can fly off the tracks at any given moment. This adds real jeopardy to the proceedings and makes any Wild Mouse ride quite thrilling. The way the ride cars operate really adds credence to these myths as the cars fling their way down the track.
Of course, Modern Wild Mouse rides, of which Coaster Rider certainly is, built in 2013, are far safer than the old wooden, and we are not even sure if our childhood suspicions of the danger were true, but they still feel inherently unsafe and that’s all part of the charm.
Coast Rider is a Typical Wil Mouse with a long ride to the top and a fun drop and then a long windy route to the bottom through a series of fun switchbacks. It is supposed to simulate the Stunning Pacific Coastline of California but this is pretty tenuous, to say the least, it is however really fun, as most rides of this type are.
6 – Supreme Scream
- Manufacturer – S&S – Sansei Technologies
- Type – Turbo Drop Tower
- Height – 312 ft (95 m)
- Drop – 252 ft (77 m)
- Peak Speed – 50mph
- Duration – 45 secs
Let’s start with a confession. This ride scares me. A self-confessed Ride-Geek, there has never been a ride I would not strap into, but these drop towers fill me with dread. It’s the slow, steady climb, the huge exposure to the height, and the unpredictable moment of the impending drop. It’s all a bit much.
Supreme Scream is also an Absolute Beast of a tower. It opened as the tallest in the world and still only has a handful of superiors, notably Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, attached to the pesky Kingda Ka, the current record holder.
The Three gondolas slowly creep up the tower giving riders one of the best views around from the tallest structure in the county. then reaching a height of 252ft they pause, then are accelerated to the ground faster than free fall, before hopefully coming to a stop at the bottom. It’s a crazy thrill and well worth the queue, if you can stomach it!
5 – Xcelerator
- Manufacturer – Intermin
- Type – Launched Coaster – Steel
- Height – 205 ft (46 m)
- Peak Speed – 82mph (0-82mph 2.3 Seconds)
- Duration – 25 secs
- Inversions – 0
Xcelerator is in a bit of an odd situation ride-wise. It was a technical marvel when first built, being one of the tallest and fastest coasters ever made, and used brand-new ride tech unseen before and with the potential to revolutionize the Roller Coaster industry.
Itermins Hydraulically Launched Coaster did just that and in a few short years, the Top Thrill Dragster, Kingda Ka, and Formula Rossa all utilized the Tech Pioneered here to smash world records and make some of the most intense and thrilling rides ever designed. This left poor old Xcelorator looking rather dowdy.
However, the reality is this is still a fantastically thrilling ride. 0-82 mph, powered by over 10,000 horsepower of Hydraulics, never gets old and this fling the ride trains up and over the 205ft vertical hill in just a few seconds and then roars around the remaining 1500 ft in no time at all. It’s not a Typo above in that the whole ride is only 25 seconds long, that’s what you get when 10,000hp is firing the trains out of the station!
It’s a great ride and a worth top 5 entry and a definite must-ride at Knott’s
4 – Timber Mountain Log Ride
- Manufacturer – Wendal “Bud” Hurlbut / Arrow Dynamics
- Type – Log Flume
- Height – 85 ft (26 m)
- Drop – 42 ft (13 m)
- Peak Speed – 15 mph?
- Duration – 4+ Mins
The Timber Mountain Log Ride is actually the MOST popular ride at Knott’s Berry Farm with more people riding the flume than entering the park on most days (Made Possible by REPEAT rides), Timber Mountain is now THE reason to Visit Knott’s.
Not Quite the first ever Log Flume built but the Timber Mountain Log Ride does have it’s place in Theme Park History. It was Bud’s idea and he wanted to build the first log flume here, but the owner, Walter Knott, thought the untested nature was too risky to his guests so vetoed the concept!
Bud sold his idea to Arrow Dynamics who then built the ride elsewhere (Six Flags over Texas) and after testing in situ, Walter was sold and allowed Bud to build his Log Flume ride at Knott’s. Again Bud was responsible for what is now an Absolute Mainstay of theme parks.
The Actual log flume here really does feel every bit as dated as it is. The drop is really small, especially considering the two lift hills, and it’s not steep or fast. It really shows how risk-averse Walter was being. However, like the Calico Mine Train, the Log Ride is not about being modern and fancy it’s about preserving the history on show in the park and the Log Ride is a real museum piece.
The ride has undergone recent renovations and features some great animatronics in the dark-ride portions and is wonderfully nostalgic. We love seeing these old rides sitting alongside newer, fancier tech and still being more popular than ever. We toyed with putting this first place on the list as it’s just so well-loved and iconic, but we have some really great rides to go!
3 – HangTime
- Manufacturer – Gerstlauer
- Type – Infinity Coaster – Steel
- Height – 150 ft (46 m)
- Drop – 150 ft (46 m) – 96°
- Peak Speed – 57mph
- Duration – 2:05m
- Inversions – 5
The Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster is not a common Ride Type in the USA, making this a pretty unique ride. It also features some pretty unique and exciting ride elements. The Carriages are seated 4 across in 4 rows with up to 4 cars circulating the track, this makes for some fast through-pt and queues are fairly short most of the time. The restraints are lap-based not shoulder, which always feels less secure and adds to the fun, especially at the hold.
Starting off with a vertical lift hill, one of the scariest parts of the ride, the car then holds at the top of the Lift Hill, feet dangling for around 5 seconds, this is very precarious and feels a lot longer. The drop comes as a relief and while it’s over-vertical at 96° it just feels great to be off the tower and moving. The first loop is a unique negative-g stall loop. This is really fun and feels very Fighter Jet-like, As you crest the hill and then flip over towards the ground again, it’s a great sensation.
The ride then passes though some more loos and Airtime hills before arriving back at the station. It feels fast and aggressive and is a lot of fun. The only downside is the Infinity Coaster can be a little rough. It’s far from a smooth ride and the cars do bash you around a little. The theming is a little weak, but hey it’s a solid ride and well worth the queue time.
2 – Silver Bullet
- Manufacturer – Bolliger & Mabillard
- Type – Steel – Inverted
- Height – 146 ft (45m)
- Drop – 109ft (39m)
- Peak Speed – 55mph
- Duration – 2:30m
- Inversions – 6
Silver Bullet is a B&M Invert. If you know your coasters, you know that means something, if not, it means it’s a great coaster. B&M is probably our favorite Coaster manufacturer and rarely makes a bad design, and the inverted coaster has been some of their best and most popular coasters to date.
The Ride Carraiges sit under the tracks giving the riders a sense of flying with their feet dangling into the ether. The Silver Bullet is a great example of this kind of Ride with some really good ride elements.
The ride is situated in the re-themed Fiesta Village and is a close second place for the best ride at the park. It is silky smooth and glides around the track almost flawlessly with very few bumps, bangs, jars, or jerks. A super quiet and slick ride. The fluid motion of the ride kind of masks the intensity and the ride is actually pretty wild with some great elements.
The Initial drop is fairly large but mild, it’s about building momentum rather than a vicious steep drop. The ride then hits a large loop, before a really satisfying Cobra Roll, a Helix then a fantastic Zero-G Roll, The ride then hits two corkscrews that turn opposite directions before a really tight helix, that keeps tightening, and that adds a lot of G.
It’s a really fun ride that feels super floaty light and smooth.
1 – Ghost Rider
- Manufacturer – Custom Coaters International
- Type – Wooden
- Height – 118 ft (36 m)
- Drop – 108 ft (33 m)
- Peak Speed – 56mph
- Duration – 2:50m
- Inversions – 0
Ghost Ride is a Large Wooden Coaster sitting at the Park entrance and dominates the Skyline of the Park. The Wooden Structure is really imposing and the thundering trains really make an impression as you enter the park and wait to ride the GhostRider.
The Lift Hill is fairly shallow so takes a long time to clack up to the top, with some really nice views of the park and the surrounding area. It feels a lot higher than it actually is, but the drop is almost as high as the tower and is steep enough to get you out of your seat.
The train takes a short turn and then over large Airtime Hill with impressive Ejector time! The ride then heads up and down and through some nice backed turns before a second large drop, which feels more intense than the first and again makes a series of backed turns and ejector seat airtime hills.
It is a long ride, with loads of airtime and some nice bends, but doesn’t do anything too special. It is a fantastic wooden coaster though, and while it’s pretty rough, as most Woddies are, the worst of the roughness is padded out by the exceptionally comfy seats!
There is little in the way of restraints just some lap-bars and this makes for a really intense ride where Ejector Time is really felt. It is a great example of modern Wooden Coasters and why we Coaster Geeks really love them!
Other Fun Rides
There are over 40 rides at Knotts Berry Farm and while some of these are really small Kids Rides there are still a host of great rides not to make our top 10.
MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress
MontteZOOma would definitely have made the list but it’s currently closed. Undergoing a full refurb this ride will make a re-entry when it re-opens in 2024. A real piece of history!
Another Flat Ride, and another cop-out on the investment front, but again a fun and worthwhile Fairground-style ride. A Large Swinging Pendulum that Spins as it lifts riders 65ft into the air.
Calico River Rapids
We really like the River Rapids here and they are excellently themed to the wilderness areas of the State. Expect a good soaking!
A fairly small and sedate Family Coaster. Worth a ride for those with younger kids looking to work up to bigger rides.
Ghost Town & Calico Railroad
Without this Narrow Gauge Railway line, there would be no Knott’s Berry Farm, at least not in the way we know it today (who knows maybe it would be a farm still?) So it really is a part of visiting the park to take a ride on Walter Knott’s glorious Replica Railway that puffs it’s way around the outskirts of the park.
Have Your Say
Let us know your top rides at Knott’s Berry Farm. Do you go for the Bi Thrill Rides or prefer the small family attractions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and if you have any questions just fire away.