Hades - Mount OlympusHades: A Trip to Hell and Back
In Greek mythology, Hades was the god of the underworld. Hades, the roller coaster, more than lives up to it’s name. It boasts the single most impressive tunnel section I’ve ever experienced. The tunnel’s not only long, it’s a white knuckle journey through a terrifying pitch black abyss.

Mt. Olympus, located in Wisconsin Dells, WI, is a smaller theme park with several go-kart tracks and an array of water slides. In the past decade, the park has expanded and started to add more coasters. Everything is Greek-themed with coasters like Zeus, Cyclops, and even a rare water coaster called Dive to Atlantis. Since it’s a smaller park, I enjoyed discounted admission off of an already reasonable entry price, free parking, and shorter lines. On the other hand, Mt. Olympus won’t be winning any awards for park operations anytime soon.

“They Don’t Pay Me Enough to Smile”
The ‘Hades experience’ starts with a station that you have to climb three stories to reach. After your hike, you’re greeted with a sparse station, just large enough for the queue and the train. There’s no theming and indifferent ride ops that are unfriendly and don’t speak to you. One thing I always look for in a world-class coaster is a raucous station with enthusiastic, efficient ride ops and a D.J. that hypes you up as you leave and greets you upon your return. You won’t find any of that on Hades. Luckily, the ride itself makes up for the operations shortcomings.

One of the Best Openings Around
Thanks to the elevated station your ride starts with a short drop from the very beginning. You better have your hands up or be ready to hold on tight, the opening has a few popsHades - Mt. Olympus of air, twists and turns, and more speed than you’d expect from such that short drop out of the station. Some fans have called this opening a microcosm of the entire ride and I agree. There’s plenty of action pre-lift hill.Then, you start your 13-story climb. The big drop is fairly steep for a wooden coaster at 65 degrees and all you see is a hole below as the track dives below the parking lot.

The Subterranean Masterpiece
The next thing you know you’re in complete darkness. You can’t even see your hand in front of your face and it’s not like the dark tunnels on The Voyage that are fairly brief, this truly is a journey. As you tear through the dark at 70 mph the train banks and dips as it tries to throw you around like a rag doll. You can’t see a thing, but I could’ve sworn I saw some red eyes down there. It’s insane! Did I mention that this coaster lived up to its name? As you start to see light breaking through at the other end, you realize that the train is not right side up. You climb up the wall and ride along it, but because of the darkness and speed you can’t even tell. Check out this pic from the tunnel with the lights on. You come down from the wall and rise up into the turn around point.

The columns around the turn around section are a great touch. You crest a hill and drop back down near theHades Roller Coaster highway that passes the park, rise up a shorter hill and drop back down into the tunnel. The ride back is less eventful, but still very dark. As you exit two back-to-back airtime hills follow. Next, you reach the finale, which is the weakest part of the ride. I remember a bit more roughness than the rest of the ride. Finally, you reach the brakes. As the train re-enters the sub-par station, the cold ride ops release you and your on your way.

Basically, Hades missed a 10 rating because of the rougher finale, single train operation, the sparse station, and those terribly uninterested ride ops. You’d think Mt. Olympus would have their best people working their main attraction, but I hope that wasn’t the case with Hades. At one point I saw these two foreign-born, (I’m guessing Eastern European) ride ops sitting on the floor of the chatting to one another as the train hurled into the station. I was glad to see that the station’s brakes were automated, but it was just a little unnerving to watch their lack of attentiveness. Aside, from these negatives the actual ride on Hades is top-notch and enough to push it all the way up to number seven on my Top Coasters list. Get to Wisconsin Dells for Hades and Avalanche and you won’t regret it! Final Rating – 9.5 (Excellent-Approaching Superior)

What’s Your Take?
Ever ridden Hades or been to Mt. Olympus? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

56 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Hades was so intense that when the ride was over, the skirt I was wearing was around my stomach. It was a really sweet ride but I agree the part coming back was quite rough, but the drop in your stomach as everything goes pitch black is priceless.

  2. natasha

    my class is going to mt. olympus for our end of the year thing and i promised my friend i would ride it with her…until i knew what it was!! Now i think i might crap myself when i ride it!!!=D

  3. The Coaster Critic

    I'm sure you'll be fine. Trust me, you'll be glad that you at least tried to conquer it rather than just chicken out. Let me know what you think after you get back.

  4. werp knarly

    the mt olympus hill is the site of the first waterslide in wisconsin dells, it was a 3 wide cement waterslide that was made up of a sweeping 's' curve. the grumpy guy would eject us the first time we got up enough speed to jump from one trough to the next… every single time


  5. Derek

    It is way too rough, especially when going underground. My dad broke his rib on the ride. I agree with what you said about the workers too, like 70% of them are foreign and really really hate their job.

    • Kurt

      Broken ribs??? Sounds perfect! Just like a wooden roller coaster should be.

  6. Russ Fox

    I have now ridden three outstanding woodies designed by the Gravity Group (Hades, Voyage and Ravine Flyer II). Hades is my favorite, hands down! I felt that the intense finale helped make this ride so incredible, from start to finish. As most coasters lose their intensity near the end, Hades does the opposite! I see that as plus, not a minus. Voyage features a mid-way break stop and Ravine Flyer is a much shorter ride. Perhaps TheCoasterCritic doesn't doesn't appreciate a little roughness on a good woodie, but I do, especially in the finale! Rides, like the super smooth and fun El Toro score lower, in my opinion, because they seem so fake. The Dells also features the largest collection of woodies in the world (when you include the killer Avalanche coaster just down the street)… a total of five! If you love woodies, the Dells is second to none!

  7. QB3

    its course of action looks alot alike the course of bizzaro exept backwards. airtime first, G`s later.

  8. tusforeverlove

    I went on Hades 8 times on saturday (halloween day) the workers they had there that day were alot of fun and were making us all laugh. My friend hadn't been there before and they were joking around making him feel comfortable. It was alot of fun and the ride itself is priceless. It is a little jerky towards the end but I feel that Zeus is a lot worse than hades.

  9. Prof. BAM

    Hades is the best woodie I've been on. My family even has a timeshare at the hotel connected to the park. But they do need a steel coaster there (even if it is a Vekoma).

    • The Coaster Critic

      Agreed. Hades is one of the best I've been on too. And, definitely an underrated coaster. Maybe I'll do an underrated coasters post to compliment my overrated coasters post.

      Thanks for stopping by Prof.BAM!

  10. Quil

    CC, is it possible to make the replies not mess whith the order of the comments, matbe order the comment by numbers, not place, it makes it look as if you posted before me, which would be confusing to anyone who hadn`t been closley monitoring this page.

  11. Judy P in Pgh

    I was confused by the new way of ordering comments, but if you look above, you'll see that you can now reply to specific comments. For example, CC replied specifically to Prof. BAM, so it falls directly underneath that post.

  12. Prof. BAM

    Now that you've put up the Timberliner post, Hades really needs Timberliners. Based on the Gravity Group's hype about them, do you think that Hades would get a 10 if you re-reviewed it?

    • Quil

      once i saw your comment above your one on the timberliners I knew wqhat your post was. totaly agree though.

  13. Jon

    This roller coaster is DANGEROUS!!! WAY too rough!!! Our entire group had to leave the park after riding this piece of crap. We all experienced intense whip lash, spinal injury, muscle strain, and brain injury. DO NOT Ride this unless you enjoy PHYSICAL INJURY and PAIN. This thing pounds your spine, snaps your head so violently you will feel like crap for days. I'd like to force the guys who put this together to ride it just once….

    • Dnoffke

      Agreed. I pity the young kids riding this over and over. They have no idea how this will affect their body down the road!

      Loved the speed and thrill but it was the first and LAST time I will ride it.

      • Darren

        I totally agree with this. My neck and spine are killing me right now! Rode the ride for the 1st time today, and it will be my last! I know wood rides are rougher than the steel rides, but man, this one takes the cake! I didn't enjoy this ride AT, ALL!!! Do not ride this ride. It hurts!!!! Off to the Chiropractor I go!!!

    • mike

      This wasn't that bad. We went yesterday, and the Pegasus and Cyclops were harder on us than Zeus or Hades. The only problem with Hades was the rough return, where they have you stop too quick the first time, then feel the need to jerk you two more times to abrupt stops before letting you out.

      The initial drop and the ascent to the hill is almost better than the rest of the coaster, but that's insane on the 90 degree ride on the wall! I knew I was resting on the person next to me, but I didn't think I was literally on top!

      • RCTPro

        Zeus not being hard on you, are you sure that you're talking about the same ride that when I rode the first time last year that after getting off my side hurt SO badly that I thought I had broken a rib?
        For me, Cyclops and Pegasus are the ONLY two enjoyable coasters in the park, Cyclops being my new number one ride of all time after giving me one hell of a last ride that was filled with Ejector air, and Hades, I'm too scared to ride because I fear how bad it'll be on me and not because of it's height or speed,

    • thor

      3 years later I still have neck problems that cause headaches, dizziness and pain throughout my neck and shoulders. I never had problems until that day. I have also had some issues coordinating my hands that I never had until after the day I rode hades. I believe I have some brain damage from this. On the ride I could feel my brain bashing against my skull and for a moment everything went black. This is some scary stuff. Prior to this my family were coaster enthusiasts. This experience has made us never want to risk it again. We have ridden dozens of coasters, taller coasters, faster coasters, scarier coasters. Nothing is as scary as the thought of being permanently disabled!

  14. Jen

    We rode this on October 22, 2010, when the park was open at night on kind of a "Halloween" theme. Coastercritic – would love to hear about your thoughts if you were to re-review this coaster. We have heard that the ride has gotten rougher since Hades was new. We had a great time, but the ride was SO rough as to be "almost" not fun. Great design, wild fast ride, but seriously seriously rough and jerky throughout. We did it once and thought it was a great coaster, but chose not to do it again because it was rough to the point of distraction. The screams of delight of the riders stopped shortly after the lift hill, and our cars hurtled through the darkness in total silence for most of the ride. Again, not to say it isn't a good coaster, but it seemed like everyone was just hanging on for dear life as Hades shook them to pieces.

    Love the design! Love the speed and excitement! Could do without the harsh brain scramble. (I have loved other wooden coasters, and I do know that some rumble and shake is part of the design.)

    • The Coaster Critic

      In a way I'm not surprised that it's gotten so rough. Wooden coasters tend to get rougher with age if they're not well-maintained and from what I saw of Mt. Olympus I wouldn't expect them to give Hades a lot of TLC.

  15. Prof.BAM

    Mt. Olympus recently announced that something big is coming in 2012. The words "THINK BIG" and "FLY" are in caps. A flying coaster perhaps? Or something that makes it seem like that you're flying? I hope the addition includes a retrack for Hades (and Timberliners) along with a transfer track and additional themeing. The whole bit it does have isn't all that good. The best time to ride Hades is definately at night. I'm heading to the Dells in mid-January. I might see something of note in the way of construction or advertisement.

    • Quil

      Hyper flying coaster? It would make sense. "The Flight of…" It sounds like a lot of fun, can't wait to see what it is.

  16. 2Coastercrazy

    They should make a ride called "journey to mt olympus" and theme it like an aquatrax or "journey to atlantis." that would be quite fun dont you think?

  17. 2Coastercrazy

    They should make a ride called "journey to mt olympus" and theme it like an aquatrax or "journey to atlantis." that would be quite adventurous dont you think?


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