I found myself drawn to Missouri for this year’s long-distance theme park trip. While there were two amusement parks there for me to check out, Silver Dollar City’s Outlaw Run really ignited my interest and was pretty much the deciding factor in why I chose this trip over the others I was considering.

Awe, No They Didn’t!

Outlaw Run - Double Barrel Roll - LoopI still remember sitting there, awe-struck staring at the first image of the double barrel roll as it was under construction. I remember bugging my wife as I tried to explain the gravity of what I was looking at. The unique wooden looper, Son of Beast had its loop removed and (at that point) its days were numbered. Could it be done better? And who were Rocky Mountain and Silver Dollar City to think that they could pull it off? I’d ridden and loved Rocky Mountain’s New Texas Giant, but it had no loops and its track was entirely steel where Outlaw Run’s wouldn’t be. I had to get down to Branson to find out.

Early Praise

Right out of the gate, Outlaw Run was well-received. A reader even sent in a great review. Read: Early Reviews of Outlaw Run. So, I was as excited as ever when I arrived at Silver Dollar City on a Sunday in late April. I met readers Daryl and Kendra at the park and we quickly made our way to the ride. It was about twenty minutes after the park had opened and there was already a decent line. Not much of the ride is visible from the park’s paths or station, but the double-looping finale is. It was surreal seeing, first-hand now, a wooden coaster doing something so uncharacteristic and odd as back-to-back tight, twisting inversions.

Outlaw Run’s Theme

I was pleasantly surprised by how sister park Dollywood gave Wild Eagle, a kind of inspirational uplifting theme. In a somewhat similar fashion, Outlaw Run was given a theme where: “The Good Guys Always Win”. Building on Silver Dollar City’s 1880’s mining town theme, the ride’s story is centered around a stage coach that’s being chased by outlaws. A wild ride ensues, but in the end the fine, upstanding citizens get away to safety. As Herschend CEO Joel Manby shared (Must-See Outlaw Run Documentary) they wanted to make sure that the good guys were the focus, not the villains. There were certain choices made about the logo and even a monument to law enforcement near the ride. I know that many may not notice these theming touches, but being a parent I can really appreciate the effort. There were also special Outlaw Run-themed treats like chocolates and slushies custom-made for the ride. Lastly, the station includes an authentic Stagecoach Depot with a real stagecoach, luggage and period furnishings.

Boarding the Stage Coaches

Outlaw Run First Drop - Silver Dollar CityExcitement was really building, until it was muted. After a few minutes in line, the ride was down. It was the typical scene when a ride goes down: the maintenance crew was on-hand right away, some people left the queue, and trains were run empty for a while. We decided to stay and got a few laughs from the ride op that was keeping the crowd amused with old-fashioned, family-friendly jokes. After about twenty minutes or so a ride op successfully rode and returned to the station and the ride was running again. Considering this is the debut of Rocky Mountain’s trains and restraint systems, I wasn’t too surprised that they were still working out the kinks. While they’re an inconvenience, these kinds of things don’t worry me as they’re usually caused by the ride’s safety system. So the park is erring on the side of caution.

Rocky Mountain’s trains had a unique look to them. They’re open and more akin to wooden coaster trains. There’s no handle bars or really anything to hold on to. Similar to the cars on some Intamin hyper coasters like Bizarro at Six Flags New England, there’s a lap bar and another bar that goes across your lower-legs/shins. The ride ops make sure that you are fully secured and snug. This doesn’t take away from the ride experience at all. Just keep in mind that they’re doing some one-of-a-kind elements on Outlaw Run and it makes sense that they’d again, be extra cautious.

The Ride Begins

With everyone fully-secured and ready to go, we were off. The train exited the station, passed under the exit ramp and we immediately started our climb. As with a lot of the Silver Dollar City’s rides you get an excellent view of the park’s wooded terrain. Spring had just sprung so there was a sea of light green foliage all around us, but no clear view of the layout or exactly what was ahead. As we crested the top, the train took a short dip fooling some who that we’d roll right over into the big drop. This is likely done so that the train’s completely off of the lift hill. Then, we began the first drop and Outlaw Run’s controlled insanity began.

The Insanely Fun Outside-Turn

Outlaw Run 153 Turn - Silver Dollar City - SmThe first drop, at a record setting 81-degrees, was exhilarating. Using the park’s terrain, Outlaw Run dove down 162-feet after climbing only 102-feet. The steepness was very apparent and some good airtime was offered. Now down close to the ground, Outlaw Run returns to the sky for a very memorable element. The 153-degree Outside-Turn caused a bunch of “Is it an inversion?” buzz last year when it was being built. I’d argue the fact that it doesn’t completely invert, actually makes it more fun and disorienting. The train rose up flipped upside-down for a moment as it passed through a support structure and then flipped out the other direction. There’s both the head chopper effect with the supports and a bit of orientation confusion as it feels much stranger than it looks on video. I loved this element!

Twisting & Turning + The Wave Turn

Next, close to the ground again, we experienced some good airtime hills via the double-down and double-up. The airtime is definitely on the stronger end of the scale as I was pulled upward rather than just floating out of my seat a little. The next element, known as the Twist & Turn, is another stand out. The train climbed up and turned side-ways as it passed through the lift hill before dumping us into a short steep drop. Again, like the Outside Turn, it was another element that really took me by surprise.

The Wave Turn not only put the train completely on its side, almost like we were riding along side a wall, but was also performed during a terrain-based hill. It was a pretty cool sensation and you feel pretty vulnerable riding at that angle for so long. In rapid-fire succession Outlaw Run has kept the thrills going to this point. For the moment, the World is turned right-side-up again and the layout sneaks in a good little airtime hill, before the showstopping finale.

Double Barrel Roll Goodness

Immediately after the pop of airtime produced by a short hill, the train charged right into the first barrel roll. Outlaw Run completely inverted us in a smooth and quick motion. The second barrel roll was taken a bit slower. As a result, I experienced more hang time and really felt that I was upside-down. After exiting the last loop the train flipped out into a turn that put it straight into the station brakes. The riders applauded as we returned to the station having successfully outran the outlaws.Outlaw Run Barrel Roll - Silver Dollar City - Riders

Does it Work as a Looping Woodie?

It was interesting when Robb Alvey stated that the loops seemed like they were “supposed to be there”. I can see what he meant now. Rather than being some intense element added to an otherwise different kind of ride (Son of Beast), the barrel rolls really do fit. They work and feel right because of the incredibly fun and wild elements that preclude them.

Final Thoughts

The press releases touted 9 moments of those sought after joyous moments we call “airtime” and that’s not just marketing buzz, they’re all there. On Outlaw Run, every element delivers and there’s not a wasted foot of track on the entire ride. I have to give Silver Dollar City credit for going out on a limb to bring us a new, one-of-a-kind roller coaster. Sure, the ride’s related to Rocky Mountain’s other projects, but it still takes some guts to not stick to the tried and true, completely proven formula of a more traditional ride. The gamble paid off as the park can now boast a world-class, record-setting, and extremely enjoyable new roller coaster. For me, Outlaw Run is a Top 10 Roller Coaster and a Top 5 Wooden Roller Coaster.

Here’s a complete POV video for Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City:

Note – For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster without permission from the park. Also, here’s an Off-Ride and Reverse POV Video.

One More Thing – Wood, Steel, or Hybrid? Who Cares?

I feel the need to address the controversy among some in the enthusiast community. Some consider Outlaw Run a wooden roller coaster and others prefer to call it a steel coaster. Its track is unusual in that it has a mostly wooden structure, but instead of a relatively small strip of steel on top of the stacks of wood that make the track, there’s a considerably large wide portion of steel that the trains ride on.

Even for a long-time roller coaster enthusiast, and someone who likes to categorize things in general, I’m not going to join the battle on either side. I’ll put it in the wooden category, but it’s something so new and different that I can see why people who say steel as well. If you’re curious, I consider New Texas Giant steel because the rail is entirely made of steel. Again, I’m not going to correct anyone or challenge anyone to a duel at high noon over it. I have been and will be referring to this genre-bending ride as a wooden coaster.

What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Outlaw Run? What’d you think? Leave a comment and rate it below. Images courtesy of Silver Dollar City.

While I received a complimentary media pass when I visited this park, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Outlaw Run 153 Turn - Silver Dollar City - Sm
Experience Factors & Final Rating
My Take
On Outlaw Run, every element delivers and there's not a wasted foot of track on the entire ride. I have to give Silver Dollar City credit for going out on a limb to bring us a new, one-of-a-kind roller coaster.
Reader Rating1 Vote
Incredibly fun and wild elements that'll take riders by surprise.
Makes great use of the terrain.
Great theme elements for a wooden coaster.
While it packs quite a punch it does feel a little on the short side.
The restraints include a leg bar that might prevent some riders from fitting on the ride.

26 Responses

  1. ukcoasterfan

    Sounds like it has lived upto the hype, jealous we dont have anything like this in the UK, still the increasing number of high profile woodies being built surely means its only a matter or time.

      • ukcoasterfan

        Smiler looks sub par to me, its a euro fighter with added props, we already have Saw the ride for that.

        In the UK we are seriously lagging behind in quality coaster building, we havent had a new woodie since 96.

        Im praying for an influx in quality rides soon but I think the recession has meant that parks are going for cheaper manufacturers cause the general public wont know the difference and are just impressed by the number of inversions etc.

    • RunninOUT

      just rode it this weekend! WOW, what a rush. I am not that experienced in roller coasters, but would say that I have never experienced anything like it. The head chopper illusion is ridiculouS!

  2. Jonathan

    Outlaw Run looks like a great ride! Could you put it into a Roller Coaster Showdown? How does it compare to other outstanding rides?

    • Joel

      I’m not sure what coaster would make for a good showdown, but I think ranking it the 10th best coaster I’ve ridden should answer your second question.

  3. Jonathan

    I’m traveling to Branson this weekend for the Coaster Crew event there. I haven’t been this excited about a new coaster in a long time. Nice review.

  4. CoDAce

    The loop on SoB, while innovative looked out of place since those kind of loops are most commonly associated with steel coasters and while the same could be said about the barrel rolls, but they flow with the ride where as the loop on SoB just looked placed there for an Alton Towers style ‘worlds first’ for the hype that it would bring (but it ended up backfiring on them, a small hill there might haven been better, but i admit that I’m no expert on that subject), the barrel rolls and overbank turn were thought out, which is what’s so good about it, it’s a prime example of good ride pacing from the POV’s for me, no element looks out of place and belongs, which is how wooden loopers should be, thought out and planned that way and not like SoB or Hades 360 where they’re just thrown in there,
    But nice review BTW, but out of curiosity, are you going to post a review of Wildfire, Powder Keg, Patriot and the other coasters from the trip?

    • Joel

      Thanks CoDAce. Good points about pacing.

      Yes more reviews from this trip are on the way and also an interview that I had with Silver Dollar City’s GM. In case you missed it, I already posted my review of WoF’s Prowler. Timber Wolf will be next. Then either Powder Keg or Wildfire.

  5. Jeff

    I have season passes to Silver Dollar City and have already been twice. Outlaw Run is a definite have to ride when I’m there. Once I get off, I can’t wait until the next time. I enjoy riding coasters and I’d have to say the Outlaw Run is by far, one of my favorite!

  6. John

    I just drove 10 hrs each way from Houston to Branson last weekend to ride this thing and it was well worth it. I have to agree that it is one of the best coasters out there. It’s like the New Texas Giant but more out of control. Definitely on my top 5.

  7. Dru

    Hey Joel, I am still wondering, did you like the over-banked turns more than the rolls?
    I can’t wait for your review of Maverick…

  8. Quil

    Looks like there’s finally a coaster that that looks like the nightmare coaster envisioned by children’s cartoons. I’m happy to know that it’s actually a quality ride and not a train wreck. (this analogy would be much more fitting if they had given this ride a train-chase theme and not a caravan-chase theme) I’m happy to see that Rocky Mountain is making themselves a formidable force in the world of semi-wooden coasters. I’m still waiting for B&M to jump on the bandwagon, though. (C’mon guys, I know you’ve got it in ya.)

  9. Will

    I just rode it today! Definitely one of the best coasters I’ve ever been on. There’s a lot of airtime and it’s non-stop action from the moment you get off the lift hill. I would recommend a trip to Silver Dollar City for anyone who has not ridden Outlaw Run or Powder Keg!

  10. Matthew

    Extremely disappointed is an understatement. I sure wouldn’t invest a day’s long drive to reach this place like we did. The hype was over-blown.

    This ride has a serious lack of speed in the 720 degree roll, which was at the end of the ride. The train gets through but it felt like a crawl. There was no centrifugal force.

    The first drop was ok. Not quite the free fall feel of the first drop of wildfire. But it was ok.

    I rode on Sunday 05/19/2013 with my 11 year old daughter who is my coaster buddy. There were no cubbies for your personal belongings such as phone, etc. So we had to set stuff on the floor or use the pay lockers outside. I emailed SDC to express my displeasure.

    We came back Thursday 05/23/2013 after my event that I was hosting in Branson was complete. We made several trips to the ride and after waiting for several shut downs to finish up we thought we’d have a chance to ride.

    Not only where there no cubbies for belongings still, but we were not allowed in line unless we PAID FOR THE USE OF A STORAGE LOCKER or one of us (the other was my 11 year old daughter) waited outside with our belongings.

    With a wait time posted of 50 minutes and a front row wait usually much longer, we would have to get another family member to wait outside holding our stuff or pay for the locker. Since nobody would hear the phone ring in the locker, we walked away. I told the ops that a third alternative would be taken – I wouldn’t come back.

    I complained about Thursday but SDC did not respond until this morning. Their response indicates that your either get used to paying for locker space or get used to having one person wait outside the entire time with everyone else’s stuff.

    I have asked for a refund of our season tickets and season parking pass – money flushed down the drain.

    As a meeting planner that was in Branson hosting a meeting, this was really the final straw for Branson and SDC for us. Last December we experienced one hour plus wait times for powder keg and wildfire while the park refused to run a second train. We continue to fail to find a good reason to return even after we give everyone several second chances.

  11. Joe

    at 67 years I have to say that this is the best roller coaster that I have ever ridden. You know that for sure when the ride ends and you see everyone in the cars clapping and screaming with joy, everyone that rides this roller coaster walks away with quite a memory.

  12. Bobbie

    This coaster has it all – aggressive thrills, airtime, novelty – and is so good that it threatens to displace El Toro as my all-time favorite woodie. I never thought I’d say that about any coaster, as I have a sentimental attachment to Toro. However, Outlaw Run certainly gives it a run for the money and may overtake it. My rides on Outlaw Run were among the six best and most memorable rides of my life. I disagree that there are three inversions, as advertised, but the 153-degree banked turn comes awfully close. I thought that the choice of lap bar and shin restraint was interesting for a coaster with inversions, but it works – and there is virtually nothing to hold onto! Although I found the airtime somewhat better in the back of the train, staring down at the first drop from the front of the train was amazing. The double barrel roll almost blew me away. What a great coaster!

  13. Shane

    Be aware that the height requirements on this ride may well be too low. My nine-year old daughter more than exceeded them but during the course of the ride her head was whipped to one side with enough force to impact the side of the cart and actually broke one of her front teeth off.

    Honestly, if things are done right (height requirements, rider securement, padding etc) I don’t think something like that should be possible, but it happened.

  14. Justin O

    Been to SDC, Kings Island, Worlds of Fun, Disney World, Universal Studios and numerous Six Flags and I have to say this is the best and most exhilarating roller coaster I have tried.

  15. Jeff

    I’ve rode many, many top coasters including all of Cedar Points gems and this one is in my top 3. I live only two hours away and never dreamed Silver Dollar City would come up with a coaster of this caliber, but they did and it is way more than I expected. This ride is smoother than most steel coasters and everything works perfectly together. I really thought it would be similar to Maverick at CP which throws you around alot, but it doesn’t. It’s almost like your floating completely through the ride….no uncomfortable g forces what so ever. This one gets 5 stars for the Ozarks gem!!

  16. Lorraine

    I rode it and omg it was so fun. It goes by quickly but it was so amazing I was like WOW.

  17. Jason

    I’m sure this is a great ride for most people. It has the elements of an exhilarating ride. However, there needs to be a warning for tall people. I’m 6’4″ and I barely fit in the lap harness. The bar was resting on my shins. By the time the ride was over, I was in excruciating pain and I literally had indents in my shins. The uncomfortable seating ruined the ride completely. I’ll never ride it again.

  18. Sandra

    My husband and I have been on The Outlaw Run 10 or 11 times.That is the first place we go to when we go to SDC.It is a fantastic ride all the way from start to finish.


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