Ranked: The Top 10 Attractions at Knott’s Berry Farm

Welcome back to another “Ranked” article here on Laughing Place. This time, we’re going to dive into my local theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm. In fact, I only live just a few blocks away! Now the thing with Knott's is that there are a lot of smaller, less interesting flat rides; some I’ve done, some I haven’t. So rather than attempting to rank all those smaller attractions, I thought I would just share my Top 10 attractions at the park. The cream of the crop, shall we say?

So with that, let’s countdown my Top 10 attractions at Knott’s Berry Farm!

10. Knott’s Bear-y Tales

The newest attraction at Knott’s is actually a tribute to a classic attraction from the 1970s. Knott’s Bear-y Tales opened this year, as a modern version of the original attraction of the same name that ran from 1975-1986. The original was an animatronic heavy dark ride created by former Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. The modern version takes the theme and characters, but transitions them into a screen-based shooting ride. I find it to be one of the weaker shooting rides I’ve been on, as the “gun” or pie-blaster is somewhat awkward to hold in your hand and shoot at the same time. It’s also a little tricky to know what you’re shooting at, and if anything has actually happened. However, the set-design, music and overall feel of this attraction are good enough to give it a spot in my Top 10!

9. Calico River Rapids

Another updated classic is Calico River Rapids, a reimagined version of the park’s original Bigfoot Rapids. This update added animatronics (including Bigfoot himself), interactive elements and beautiful show scenes, vastly improving the original experience. The only thing holding Calico River Rapids back is the layout of the ride itself, which is essentially just a simple figure eight. If they were somehow able to work a drop in there, this could be Southern California’s best rapids ride.

8. Sierra Sidewinder

Sierra Sidewinder is a completely deceptive roller coaster. Located in the park’s Camp Snoopy area, you would think this is a small, kid-friendly attraction. And while that is mostly true, some might consider Sierra Sidewinder to be one of the more forceful coasters in the park, as the low to the ground helixes combined with the spinning element really pack a deceptive punch.

7. Montezooma’s Revenge

Montezooma’s Revenge is a Knott’s classic and the last of its kind operating in North America. Opening in 1978, it uses a flywheel launch system to catapult riders up to 55 mph in 3 seconds through a vertical loop forwards and backwards, and up two near vertical spikes. Sure it’s a one-trick pony, but the trick it offers is still an intense and smooth ride over 40 years later.

6. Xcelerator

Consider Xcelerator the modern equivalent to Montezooma’s Revenge. It provides a similar, yet far more intense ride experience. The world’s first Xcelerator coaster by manufacturer Intamin, Xcelerator launches riders from 0-82 mph in an astonishing 2.3 seconds. That makes this one of the quickest accelerations in the entire world, and therefore one of the most intense. By the end of the launch, I’m left wondering if it’s ever going to end. From there, you traverse a 200ft tall “top hat” that provides some great air-time on the way down, before twisting and turning back to the station. Much like Montezooma’s Revenge, Xcelerator is kind of a one-trick pony, but the trick here is even more impressive and intense.

5. HangTime

The newest roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm is HangTime, a rather compact looping coaster that took over for the park’s former Boomerang. The main gimmick of HangTime is the vertical lift hill, followed by a pause at the top, before you plunge down a 96 degree beyond-vertical drop. If you’ve never experienced a vertical lift hill or holding brake, then be forewarned that the experience is very strange. After a powerful first drop, the rest of the ride is filled with great moments of hang-time (hence the name), along with one really good air-time moment. HangTime is also complimented by an excellent lighting package at night, which is often timed along to the music in the Boardwalk area.

4. Calico Mine Ride

One of the oldest rides at Knott’s Berry Farm is a bonafide classic. Partially inspired by the similar Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland at Disneyland, the Calico Mine Ride opened in 1960 as the brainchild of Knott’s legend Bud Hulburt. This inventive, multi-story ride takes you on a tour of the Calico Mine, past massive show scenes and animatronics that are as close as Knott’s can get to something like Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride was updated in 2014 with more modern animatronics, freshening up the attraction for a whole new generation of fans.

3. GhostRider

The last big attraction built by the Knott’s family before they sold the park to Cedar Fair was a great one to go out on. GhostRider is my personal favorite wooden coaster and it really is a beast. Cleverly built in and around the Marketplace and parking lot, this old west themed coaster takes guests through a layout that is filled with drops, air-time and lateral forces. The coaster was completely re-tracked in 2015, also receiving brand new trains that make this one of the smoothest and most comfortable wooden coasters out there.

2. Silver Bullet

Objectively, there are better roller coasters in the park, but Silver Bullet has always been the one I’ve found to be the most fun. The inversions, high speed helixes and other elements of this inverted roller coaster are taken smoothly and gracefully, yet with that classic Bolliger & Mabillard (the ride’s manufacturer) force. Silver Bullet does feature an atypically shallow drop for this type of ride, but that is purely due to the space they had to fit the ride in. I never fail to get off this ride without a big goofy smile on my face!

1. Timber Mountain Log Ride

When you think of Knott’s Berry Farm, you’re very likely to immediately think of the Timber Mountain Log Ride. While it wasn’t the world’s first log ride, it was the first to work in some truly astonishing theming that still holds up to this day. Like with the Calico Mine Ride, the Timber Mountain Log Ride has also received some sizable upgrades over the last decade, including new animatronics and a song provided by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. The drops provide just the right amount of splash, refreshing you but not getting you too soaked. Let’s not forget the fantastic and quirky Halloween Hootenanny overlay that brings aliens and other random creatures to Ghost Town.

I hope you all enjoyed this ranking of the Top 10 attractions at Knott’s Berry Farm. If you want to see some more theme park rankings, feel free to check out my other “Ranked” articles listed below:

Luke Manning
Luke is a fan of all things theme parks and self-proclaimed #1 fan of Joffrey’s Coffee, who lives in Kissimmee, FL