Yesterday, Carowinds announced that they will be closing Thunder Road. It is one of the few remaining wooden twin track racing roller coasters.

After 39 wonderful years and nearly 40 million scream-filled rides, Thunder Road will give its last race on July 26. The ride is being retired to make room for future family-fun attractions. Please join us this summer as we say good-bye to this iconic coaster.

Thunder Road Will Be Missed
Carowinds Closes Thunder Road Roller CoasterWhile I didn’t grow up  in the area, I do know that Thunder Road will be missed. The ride opened in 1976 only a few years after the park opened. It’s been a staple for Carolinians who’ve grown up in the area. It was a first full-sized roller coaster for many locals that I’ve met.

Thunder Road’s claim to fame of crossing the North Carolina-South Carolina state border was a well-known fact even outside of the area. I don’t think we’ll see “Save Thunder Road” campaigns like we did with rides like Cedar Point’s Disaster Transport, but I may be surprised. You never know how people will react when you remove something that so many experienced for nearly 40 years.

What Could “Future Attractions” Mean?
Is it too soon to talk about what’s next? We’ve known for a while about the $50 million investment plan, but aside from a massive new roller coaster (Fury 325) we weren’t sure exactly what that would include. There were rumors that the plan could include expanding the water park which Thunder Road boarders.
Carowinds Closes Thunder Road - Possible Water Park Expansion
I didn’t think the park would remove Thunder Road in order to expand the water park. I thought they might take a cue from sister park Kings Dominion and simply have a walking path under Thunder Road as KD created with Rebel Yell and their water park expansion. But at this point I would assume that the ride will demolished and not upgraded like Twisted Colossus.

For now, aside from “future family-fun attractions” in the statement and a hint at the park making a “big splash” next year during the Fury 325 press event, that’s all we really know. We’ll have to watch the park’s activity after July and hope for an announcement in the fall like we typically get from theme parks about their future attractions. Fans have until 10 PM on July 26th to ride this classic roller coaster.

What’s Your Take?
Are you sad to see Thunder Road go? Or, are you more excited to see what the “future growth” will be? Vote in the poll below. Also you can read about other defunct roller coasters.[poll id=”107″]

About The Author

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

10 Responses

  1. Judy P in Pgh

    Thunder Road was a nice stepping stone from Woodstock Express to Hurler, with the added thrill of racing that appealed to the middle school crowd, especially the boys. One could typically see groups of preteens cheering at the end of the race, then exiting the ride only to re-enter the queue for a rematch. Carowinds put a lot of new wood on Thunder Road within the past 2-3 years, so this move caught me by surprise. However, I have never seen cars parked in the lot that borders Thunder Road, so it makes sense for them to expand in that direction. While Thunder Road, Rebel Yell and Racer all have the same track layout, the recent care given to Thunder Road gave it the smoothest ride of these three coasters. I will definitely miss it!

  2. Bobbie Butterfield

    Having visited Carowinds for the 1st time last weekend and having enjoyed my 2 rides on Thunder Road, I am very sorry to hear this. After Fury 325, Intimidator and Nighthawk, Thunder Road provided a refreshing change of pace. I found it to be a fun and comparatively relaxing ride. One thing that particularly impressed me is that it’s not anywhere near as rough as one would expect from an aging woodie. The park’s other woodie, Hurler, is considerably rougher and for that reason among others I find Thunder Road to be the superior of the two rides.

    • Judy P in Pgh

      I agree with you about the roughness of Hurler. Too bad they couldn’t take IT our instead of Thunder Road. When I visit Carowinds, we usually take one ride on Hurler “just because,” but we do several rides on Thunder Road. Heck, you have to do at LEAST one ride on each side! 😉

  3. dru

    I am surprised, I just rode it last year and remember it being way better than rebel yell. Sad!

  4. Alex

    I remember going to Carowinds last year and riding this (in the rain). It was an amazing ride, despite the fact that I had ridden Rebel Yell over at Kings Dominion plenty’o times. The announcement took ME by surprise because over the past 3 years Carowinds spend a lot of money to rebuild Thunder Road to make it smoother after Paramount neglected it. At least Rebel Yell and The Racer aren’t leaving…then I would’ve been pissed.

    RIP Thunder Road

  5. Norman Spruill

    We just left carawinds and loved it.I rode woodstock with my kids .My first ride was rebal yell with my dad.
    Charlotte is full of southern hospitality.
    Thanks Norman

  6. Marsha Hunter

    How sad! I will truly miss Thunder Road!!! A very fun ride! Much better coaster than the Hurler.

  7. Leber

    Thunder Road was my first “adult” coaster many years ago. I was a season pass holder from 1992 – 2004. I always preferred Thunder Road to hurler even when Hurler was new. It is the roughest coaster I have ever been on. I was always impressed with the care given to Thunder Road, as it was the ride that really put Carowinds on the theme park map. True bigger faster rides were added, but Thunder Road was always the staple. Paramount took care of the ride in the years I was going, and even turned one side around to sit backwards as in Cincinnati. Sad to see Thunder Road gone, even if I am late in hearing the news, as I now live 14 hours away


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