You feel the high-octane energy as you walk into the service bay. It’s obvious that some serious wrenching, chopping, and tweaking goes on in here, but the place is spit polish clean and ready for action.

Type: Wood Coaster
Track Length: 3,800 Feet
Inversions: None
Ride Elements: Zero to 45 MPH Launch = 1500 HP
Trick Hill (Twin Summits)
90 + Degree Bank Breaking Wave Turn
90 + Degree Outside Banked Top Hat
Twist and Shout
Step Up
Quadruple Down
High Speed Airtime Hill
Non-Inverting Half Loop
12 Total Airtime Moments
Top Speed: 73 Miles Per Hour
Lift Height: 206 Feet (80 Ft. Above Crest of Lift Hill)
Drop Height: 165 Feet
Ride Duration: 3 Minutes, 12 Seconds
Height Requirement: At least 48"
Passengers Per Train: 24
Manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Construction, Inc.
Hayden, Idaho

Once aboard Lightning Rod ®, Dollywood guests take a thrilling race through the hills surrounding the park in the ride’s radically-designed trains. With huge header pipes and flamed bodywork, the trains are reminiscent of the powerful hot rods which once cruised down city streets and competed at dragstrips across the country in the 1950s and 60s.

To create Johnny Rev’s racy new machine, Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) has designed an impressive coaster train to treat guests to an adrenaline-charged ride on Lightning Rod. The train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

RMC manufactures their trains to aircraft standards using high quality steels and aluminum alloys. Unlike traditional wooden coaster trains, RMC’s design includes road and guide wheel suspension systems which provide higher vertical, lateral and roll articulation. A dual lock restraint system with monitoring also allows the company to produce cars without shoulder restraints.

These features, combined with Lightning Rod’s Topper track system, deliver the smoothest ride, highest thrills, and fastest speed ever recorded (73 mph) on a wooden coaster.


Lightning Rod utilizes the Topper track system, which consists of a steel “box” which replaces the top two layers of wood typically used on a wooden coaster. A six-layer stack of wood is then placed atop the steel box. This unique system creates a smooth experience for riders while maintaining the aesthetic and feel of a traditional wooden coaster.

The groundbreaking Topper track design allowed RMC to create an adrenaline-packed ride featuring the first wooden coaster launch, a record-breaking 73 mph top speed and more than a dozen airtime moments during its 3/4-mile length. Thanks to the track design, riders race through exhilarating 90 degree banked turns (one banked to the outside!), a non-inverting half loop and the “Twist and Shout,” a thrilling, “twisting” section of track which ensures every rider will be “shouting” with excitement.

Thanks to its history of producing revolutionary and innovative concepts in the roller coaster and theme park industry Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) is the firm Dollywood selected to create Lightning Rod and its numerous radical new features.

Formed in 2001 by Fred Grubb and Suanne Dedmon, RMC has designed, engineered, manufactured and installed some of the world’s most daring coasters. Additionally, the company has performed rehabilitation work on a number of wooden coasters worldwide.

In 2008, renowned coaster engineer Alan Schilke collaborated with Grubb to design RMC’s two new revolutionary track technologies, the “Topper” and “I Box” tracks. These two new track systems have established RMC as one of the world’s leading coaster engineering companies.