Log flumes are one of the most popular and recognizable amusement park attractions. They have become an essential component of most amusement parks because they are a familiar aquatic thrill ride that continues to entice new riders.
History of the Log Flume Ride
Log rides were inspired by the flumes that were used to move logs from mountaintop sawmills to railroad depots using the flow of water and some good, old-fashioned gravity. While loggers occasionally rode logs down the flume to perform safety checks and ensure the flume was working properly, log flume riding was dangerous. Still, some daredevils would "shoot the flume," for an afternoon thrill. That daring spirit would inspire what is the modern-day log flume ride.
The first log flume was opened in 1963 in Six Flags Over Texas, and it was so popular the park added a second one in 1968. When St. Louis Six Flags was being built, they actually built two right from the beginning. Today, there are more than 50 log flume rides at amusement parks across the United States.
Notable Log Flume Rides
It's hard to go to an amusement park without seeing a log flume ride. Some of the most notable include:
El Aserradero (Six Flags Over Texas)
El Aserradero is the first ever log flume ride, opened in 1963. There's nothing especially thrilling about the ride itself - it's not the tallest, fastest or steepest. However, it's notable simply for being the first. It is, in fact, the fourth oldest amusement park ride in operation.
Ripsaw Falls (Islands of Adventure)
Dropping a whopping 75 feet, Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls takes riders through the cartoon themed ride that features one of the longest drops. You are guaranteed to get wet! The Los Angeles Times rated this as one of the Top 25 water rides in the United States.
Daredevil Falls (Dollywood)
Splash Mountain (Various Disney Parks)
Splash Mountain is located in Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. It is based on the Song of the South. The ride is, by and large, in the dark. It is extremely long - riders will be on the ride approximately ten minutes. Each location has something slightly different to offer. For example, in Tokyo, they actually have logs designed to reduce the splash so riders don't get as wet.
Log Chute (Mall of America)
It's hard to remember that you are in a mall when you take a ride on this cool log flume. While not especially notable for its height (it has a respectable 40-foot drop), this attraction is the theme park's second most popular attraction according to the Mall of America blog. This one is especially neat for old-timers, as it's an original Camp Snoopy ride.
Thunder Creek Mountain (Dorney Park)
Thunder Creek Mountain, in Dorney Park, is one of the few log flumes in the world that was built right into a natural mountain. It is also one of the longest in-ground flume rides in the country. Riders descend some 210 feet over the ride's many hills.
Timber Mountain Log Ride (Knott's Berry Farm)
Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm is not one of the longest, tallest or fastest water log rides. However, it is one of the oldest, which is how it landed on Minitime's list of the world's most epic log rides.
Chiapas (Phantasialand, Germany)
Chiapas has the world's steepest descent for a log flume ride and is touted as the most "modern log flume ride" in the world. Set in the theme of Mayan ruins, Chiapas has three runs, one of which includes a backward shot. It's also the only log flume ride where you'll actually get some air time, so the thrill factor is high. Because of its constant waterfalls, steep drops, and interactive nature of the display, Chiapas is likely one of the wettest log flume rides ever.
Stormforce 10 (Drayton Park, England)
A lifeguard themed mission, Stormforce 10 has three hills and is noted as being one of the more thrilling rides at England's Drayton Park. To add to the 'wet factor,' the second drop goes down backward, ensuring that every rider gets as wet as possible.
Ride a Log Flume
The traditional log flume is a thrilling way to cool off on a hot summer day! In general, this type of ride is suitable for a variety of riders as there is typically only one big drop. The next time you're in an amusement park, look around and you're likely to find one. Hop on for some wet and wild fun!