Opening early Spring 2020 in Banner Elk is the first Alpine coaster in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains! Ride the two-person carts down the mountain at speeds up to 27 MPH - complete with three 360-degree loops. Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster will be open year-round, including ski season at nearby Sugar and Beech Mountains. They hope to open by April 1.
The 2,160 feet of tract descends through the forests via banked turns with braking controlled by the rider. The run has plenty of curves around boulders and trees for an exciting ride - complete with the latest safety technology.
Photo from our visit February 27, 2020 to check construction progress.
The carts are built for two people but you can go solo if you are at least 56 inches tall. When riding double, the passenger needs to be at least 38 inches tall. The entire ride up and back down is completed in about 7 minutes, so you can ride multiple times. After the first ride, each additional same day trip is half price.
Here's the construction progress as of July 31, 2019. Owners Tara and Eric Bechard are directing the construction very carefully, with the help of a German design company. You find many similar coasters in Europe, but there are only 20 or so in the United States. While they had hoped to open in fall 2019, they hit a few construction challenges at their mountainside location.
Located between Grandfather Mountain and Banner Elk, the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster is located at 3229 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk - along NC Highway 184. It's about 72 miles from Asheville, allowing about 1.5 hours to drive. See our Banner Elk Guide for many other things to do nearby. It's about eight miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Check back for updates on opening date!