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Big Bear Mountain roller coaster coming to Dollywood

by Susan and Simon Veness

Big Bear Mountain roller coaster has just been announced by Dolly Parton, and will be coming to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge in Spring 2023 as the park’s longest coaster and the first with on-board audio.

big bear mountain dollywood
Artist renderings courtesy of Dollywood

“The Smokies are all about adventure and going exploring,” Dolly Parton said during the August 5, 2022 announcement. “I’m excited our guests will be able to head out on their own trip into the Smokies to see if they can find that Big Bear. Whether he’s out there or not, I’m sure they’ll find a lot of memories along the way that they’ll keep forever.”

The $25 million roller coaster, designed by Vekoma, clocks in at nearly 4,000 feet, covers six acres of rolling hillside, features a top speed of 48 miles per hour, and includes three launches, multiple air-time hills, high speed turns, tunnels, and a thrilling pass behind a waterfall.

At its highest point the track reaches 66 feet, the ride time is 99-104 seconds, and each train holds up to 20 passengers.

big bear mountain dollywood graphic

Big Bear Mountain expands Dollywood’s new Wildwood Grove area, and, with a height requirement of 39 inches (3’ 3”), even younger guests can ride.

Big Bear Mountain legend

There is a story behind the ride, too. According to the tale, a massive black bear (“Big Bear”) has been roaming through Wildwood Grove for as long as the locals can remember, and although he has never been seen, he’s left telltale evidence throughout the hillsides.

Ned Oakley, Wildwood Grove’s wilderness explorer whose base camp is near Wildwood Grove’s Hidden Hollow, has been tasked with finding Big Bear, and he’s taking you along for the ride of your life in his specially-outfitted four-wheel drive SUVs.    

wildwood grove dollywood

“Big Bear Mountain is an exciting ride that really is going to be a game changer for us,” said Eugene Naughton, president of the Dollywood company. “Not only is it the fastest coaster we’ve built, but it includes features like on-board audio that are new for our company. Big Bear Mountain also expands the footprint of Wildwood Grove and serves as another monumental step in the ongoing investment plan Dolly and I announced in June 2021. She’s keeping me busy. Now that we’ve announced Big Bear Mountain, I’ll start working on the next projects she has lined up for me!”

Guests can pre-register for a Dollywood 2023 Season Pass, which puts them in prime position to purchase their passes, starting October 17, 2022.

For more information visit Dollywood.com/BigBearMountain.

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