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Highest looping roller coaster in the US opens in Colorado

A new roller coaster also features the steepest freefall drop in the western United States.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado is now home to the highest looping roller coaster in the country.

A grand opening celebration for the new Defiance coaster will be held Saturday, July 9 at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs.

Built into the side of Iron Mountain above Glenwood Springs, Defiance features a 102.3 degree, 110-foot freefall drop, which is the steepest freefall drop in the western United States, according to the park.

> Above video from 2019: New gondola opens at Glenwood Caverns

Defiance sits at 7,132 feet above sea level with views of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, Mount Sopris, South Canyon, Glenwood Canyon and Glenwood Springs during a 75-foot vertical climb.

The park said the new coaster reaches speeds of 56 miles per hour and has a 98-foot twisted top hat and switch, an 111-foot high-speed bank banana roll, and 41-foot zero-g heartline-roll.

The coaster has three cars that each sits eight people.

The name Defiance is a nod to the original name of Glenwood Springs. The park said the name is also fitting because the coaster "defies gravity" with its loops, drops and vistas.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park's grand opening celebration for Defiance on Saturday, July 9 will have giveaways, swag and live music.

Prior to July 16, the roller coaster will open at 12 p.m. on weekdays. After July 16, Defiance will operate Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH manufactured the coaster.

“Working with Gerstlauer for over 25 years, I am always astounded by their creativity and ability to innovate no matter what the project is,” said Ed Hiller, CEO of Ride Entertainment. “It is no different with the custom layout and challenging location for this coaster, which is sure to become a showcase attraction known around the world.”

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Credit: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

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