It seems like every amusement park has the requisite white wooden roller coaster with blue and red accents. You know, the one that was built in the 1970′s and has a rather pedestrian “American theme”. They usually aren’t a star in their respective park’s lineups, but Screamin’ Eagle may be an exception.
Located at the back of the hilly Six Flags St. Louis, you’ll find Screamin’ Eagle. At 110 feet tall it was the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the World when it opened in 1976. I wasn’t surprised by the ride’s empty queue and sparse station. An odd bracelet shrine (pic here) was notable though. Apparently, guests thought it would be cool to add their bracelets and loose change to this roof over the years. At least it’s much less of an eye sore than a gum shrine. The ride ops were on-point, but the riders that I saw returning to the station weren’t doing back flips as they exited. My expectations were fairly low.
Oh No! Not Again
After leaving the station, the train took us up the lift. As I mentioned, Screamin’ Eagle’s located at the back of the park and its on a large hill. So, the lift provides an excellent view. The view was interrupted by the train being released from the lift. It took a bit of a dip as it careened around a pretty rough u-turn. Just a few seconds off of the lift and I was dreading the ride to come. Screamin’ Eagle was about to be my third new wooden coaster of the day and 5th wooden ride. “Oh great! Here we go again,” I thought as I braced my body for an impending rattle-filled beat down.
Surprisingly Smooth & Fun
I took the first drop, then another, and then another. I was surprised to find that Screamin’ Eagle was not only smoother than I expected, it was actually pretty darn fun. Realizing that I didn’t need to employ my defensive riding skills, I let go and enjoyed Screamin’ Eagle’s air-filled journey through a wooded area. There was really only a little roughness in the rest of the ride. It was definitely a forgivable amount considering its age. After the beating I took on Boss, it was nice to be able to throw my hands up, get some good airtime, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
For me, Screamin’ Eagle’s highlight occurred during the final third of its layout. There’s a nice interplay with the ride’s wooded terrain. After taking a left turn, you’re faced with tree branches hanging over the track dead ahead. Before you hit them, the train takes a nice dive down a hill right below them. It doesn’t quite fall into head-chopper territory, but at first sight they do appear to be an obstacle. This ride is just another example of why I love terrain rides. Something about this ride reminded me just a bit of Boulder Dash.
While I’d stop short of calling Screamin’ Eagle a masterpiece, it provided one of the most memorable experiences during my time at Six Flags St. Louis. I re-rode it a couple more times and enjoyed it again and again. Wooden roller coasters can be frustratingly rough and boring, but they can also be unique gems. Even the older rides that you wouldn’t expect had much to offer can surprise you. Screamin’ Eagle is very solid roller coaster. Final Rating – 7.5 (Good Approaching Great)
Screamin’ Eagle is rated TR for Traditional. It’s a 2 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale. It’s a good roller coaster for novices and kids working their up to more adventurous rides.
What’s your take? What do you think of Screamin’ Eagle? Leave a comment below.