Review: Boulder Dash Wooden Roller Coaster Lake Compounce

Coaster Round Up

Boulder Dash Blue Train Entering Break Run Wooden Roller Coaster Lake Compounce

Boulder Dash is the coaster that put Lake Compounce on the map, winning five Golden Ticket Awards and being considered by many to be one of the best wooden roller coasters out there at its peak. But how has the coaster held up over the years? We are reviewing based on how it was running during the 2020 season.

This coaster is a terrain wooden roller coaster located along Mt. Southington straddling the town line between Bristol and Southington Connecticut. It is surrounded by trees for the first half before running parallel to the park's lake.

The layout begins with a lift hill before entering a 115 curved drop reaching its maximum speed of 60 miles per hour. It passes by the station before curving into the woods on the mountainside.

This part of the layout is by far the best part of the ride. It passes through some airtime hills that all brush right along the hillside. You are surrounded on all sides by hills and trees that give the ride a claustrophobic feeling that adds to the thrill factor. None of these hills are that impressive on their own, but combined with the setting and speed that you pass through the ride on.

You feel on the peaks of these hills as if you could reach up and touch the branches that have grown above the track, and the drops all come close to the ground of the hill.

Eventually, you emerge from the forest at a clearing where there used to be a ski lift attraction, once again dropping into a turn, eventually coming out alongside the lake, giving you an unobstructed view of the park while going through another series of airtime hills.

At the end of the ride, you go through a double up (formerly a triple up prior to 2017) and then come into a brake run before the station.

The ride picks up high speed on the first hill and it keeps up that intensity throughout the entire layout. This speed adds to the intensity by making you feel closer to a lot of the surroundings than you actually are, and making all of the elements feel more intense.

If you are a fan of airtime, you will like this ride, as that is the entire purpose behind its layout, to create as many and as intense airtime moments as possible, with the bigger hills really just ensuring you keep up speed through the two halves of the layout.

Boulder Dash Green Train Wooden Roller Coaster Lake Compounce

The most consistent complaint about this ride is its roughness, but I'm going to counter that by saying its biggest problem is how inconsistent it is. I have had amazing rides on this coaster that are smooth and intense, and I have had rides that are just painful with relatively little airtime.

Now I have ridden this coaster a lot of times over the last decade, and it has certainly gotten rougher over the years, but it can still give a great ride, especially if you catch it later in the day. I will say my 2020 rides were a lot smoother than the last few years, although that could be due to the fact that they were only partially filling the trains due to social distancing guidelines.

Also, the double up vastly improved the finale of the ride. Back when there used to be a triple up, the end was always more of a hold on and try not to get hurt section, even in the ride's smoother early days. There really just wasn't enough room for the element, and the double up is a lot smoother and makes the hill a lot more enjoyable.

Boulder Dash Wooden Roller Coaster Behind Wipeout Lake Compounce

This is personally my favorite terrain coaster in the world as it perfectly works itself into its environment in a way that makes every element feel more intense, without of your seat moments being met with tree branches just above your head. Also, if you can get a night ride, the coaster is an entirely different experience with a whole new sense of excitement.

It is worth mentioning that this coaster is often run with only one train, which can make the ride's line last longer. In fact, the ride once lost a train due to a crash while attempting to add a second train.

Boulder Dash Lakeside Hill Wooden Roller Coaster Lake Compounce

Overall this is a coaster, and it alone is worth making a visit to Lake Compounce. Has the coaster seen better days? Yes, but it is still one of the best coasters out there, and hopefully, it can get some work done before the park celebrates its 175th anniversary this season to ensure it is riding better than ever for such a significant milestone. It may no longer be the best wooden coaster, but it remains a stunning terrain coaster with a thrilling unique layout.

Finally, the ultimate question, should you ride in the front or back?

I personally would recommend that you try to experience both. Riding in the back you get the full impact of all of the airtime moments of the layout, and it is certainly intense. But riding in the front adds to the claustrophobic feeling of the coaster and allows you more of a chance to brace for some of the rough elements. I tend to prefer the back, but they really feel like two entirely different coasters.

Greetings From Lake Compounce Wall On Wildcat Roller Coaster

Boulder Dash is a coaster that any hardcore enthusiast should try to experience, and its relatively easy to combine a trip to Lake Compounce with a journey to either Quassy or Six Flags New England, both of which are roughly an hour from the park.