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Boulder Dash Roller Coaster at Lake Compounce in Connecticut

The Coaster Will Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes

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Boulder Dash enters its turnaround at the far end of the ride.

An out-and-back roller coaster, so named because its track is essentially one long oval, Boulder Dash enters its turnaround at the far end of the ride.

©Arthur Levine, 2009. Licensed to About.com.
When the folks at Connecticut's Lake Compounce wanted to build a roller coaster, they were faced with a dilemma: Surrounded by a mountain and a lake, there was no available land to erect a thrill machine. So, they did something brash and bold; they built the coaster into the side of the mountain. The first coaster of its kind, Boulder Dash makes wonderful use of its mountain setting and delivers a ride that many rank among the world's best.

Up-Front Info

  • Type of coaster: Wooden Out-and-Back, Terrain
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6.5
    No inversions, but considerable speed and G-forces.
  • First drop: 115 feet
  • Top speed: 60 mph
  • Track length: 4725 feet
  • Height requirement: 48 inches
  • Ride time: 2:30 minutes
  • Boulder Dash Video
  • Boulder Dash Photo Gallery

Mountain Air (Time)

Boulder Dash heads home. Note that the coaster's wooden structure barely rises above the terrain of the mountain.

©Arthur Levine, 2009. Licensed to About.com.
Besides its unusual location, Boulder Dash doesn't look like a typical coaster. Instead of a mass of lumber rising well off the ground, the ride uses the mountain as its base and follows its wild topography. Leaving the station, the train heads over 100 feet up the mountain. At the summit, the train takes a small turn and heads roaring down the mountain and into the woods.

Dubbed a "terrain" coaster, the 60 mph speeds it delivers seem all the more impressive as riders whiz past trees and ground-level boulders. It uses the mountain's rock face as thrill elements. At some points, it looks like the train is diving right at boulders...then, bam! Boulder Dash skirts around them at the last second.

Also known as an "out-and-back" coaster, Boulder Dash makes a half-mile circuit around the perimeter of the park before turning back. Call it voodoo, but the ride never lets up and actually seems to pick up speed on the return trip. Throughout the ride, a series of small hills help Boulder Dash deliver some wonderful moments of airtime, that free-floating sensation that coaster lovers crave.

Watch out for the "trick-track" toward the end of the ride. This intentional disruption in the track abruptly sends the car trains flying first one way, then the other. Save the intentionally tricky maneuver, Boulder Dash is nonetheless rock-solid smooth and a heck of a lot of fun.

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