Earthquake the Ride in Gatlinburg Is Just As Bad as You Think It Is

Earthquake the ride in gatlinburg tn

Earthquake the Ride is what some visitors might call a "tourist trap", located in Gatlinburg, TN (photo by Morgan Overholt/

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I’ve lived in East Tennessee for most of my life.

I have fond memories of spending my weekends and summers roaming around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, soaking in all the fun things these Smoky Mountain towns offer.

I’ve eaten at almost every restaurant and tried almost every attraction at least once.

Except that is, Earthquake the Ride.

But a couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to finally check that box.

After all, I thought, how bad could it be?

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What is Earthquake the Ride in Gatlinburg, TN?

Earthquake the Ride is a tourist trap theme park style thrill ride located in downtown Gatlinburg, TN.

The attraction promises to offer a “sensory overload” of “gut-wrenching high-tech special effects” and simulate the feel of a real earthquake.

Why does every cheesy attraction in the Smokies feature nightmare-inducing creepy mannequins? (photo by Morgan Overholt/

What is it like to ride Earthquake the Ride?

Excited to try this Gatlinburg-strip staple for the first time, we purchased our tickets and got in line behind some creepy mismatched mannequins with missing appendages.

When it was our turn, a ride attendant motioned us onto a prop subway train. And we were greeted by a few rows of movie-theater-like chairs with seat belts.

We, alongside the other guests, took our seats, buckled in, and secured our belongings.

Bags are permitted on the ride, however, you have to hold them in your lap.

The ride began with an “oncoming train” on the tracks – represented by a bright light al la Dollywood’s Blazing Fury.

“Station control – we have a train on our track and it’s coming at us” you hear the pre-recorded conductor yell over the intercom.

That’s when the floor beneath our feet began to move back and forth along the track on a tilt as we, for some reason, lurched closer to the oncoming train.

Then, the strobe lights kick in and the ceiling “collapses”.

After that, I’m not entirely sure what happened to the train because the next thing I knew I was surrounded by a mind-bending random assortment of props including but not limited to, a flood of water, a giant animatronic gorilla, a gaggle of alligators and a handful of rats.

There were also some sirens involved at some point.

As far as the earthquake simulation is concerned, I must admit I’ve never personally experienced a quake in real life. But for obvious reasons, I’m fairly certain Earthquake the Ride’s simulation lacks authenticity.

Editor’s Note: If you’ve been involved in an Earthquake where a gorilla and a runaway train were involved, feel free to comment below.

The entire ride lasts roughly four minutes.

An angry gorilla – because there’s one in every earthquake? (photo by Morgan Overholt/

Is it really that bad?

Yes, it really is that bad.

Some might even call it a big waste of money.

But it’s the kind of bad that almost makes it good.

Like the kind of bad that maybe, if you pre-gamed at Ole Smoky or Tennessee Hemp Care beforehand you’d find the whole thing hilarious.

Honestly, I was stone-cold sober and I kind of found it to be hilarious. But not so hilarious that I was willing to forgive the $14.99 price of admission.

I mean, if I wanted something to laugh at, Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is just a few miles away for a similar price tag. And it at least offers a full 4-minutes of dilapidated disappointment with dinosaurs.

Read Also: Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride Pigeon Forge: Tourist trap or beloved icon?

If you feel like throwing your money away, you can find Earthquake the Ride on the main strip in downtown Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/

How much is Earthquake The Ride?

At the time of this writing, an admission ticket for Earthquake The Ride is $14.99 for adults and $10.99 for children.

For comparison, you could spend an entire day at Anakeesta for $22.99-$34.99 per person … just sayin’.

Read Also: Is Anakeesta worth it? An honest review

Where is Earthquake the Ride?

Earthquake the Ride currently takes up precious real estate along the Gatlinburg strip and is located at 653 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 across from Fannie Farkles and Ole Smoky Moonshine.

Have you ridden Earthquake the Ride? Do you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo of author


Morgan Overholt

Morgan is the founder Morgan Media LLC, a graphic design agency and the co-founder of LLC – a media company that specializes in regional travel sites.

6 thoughts on “Earthquake the Ride in Gatlinburg Is Just As Bad as You Think It Is”

  1. I totally agree!! What a complete waste of time. Everyone was laughing because of how stupid we all were to have wasted our money on a kiddie ride gone wrong! And not wrong in the good way!

  2. I rode it many years ago and only paid 6.99..I thought it was fun not scary per say.. it is somewhat outdated, but still a part of Gatlinburg.

  3. Don’t care! This is one of the few remaining classic attractions left in the village and one myself and many others my age who have known it most of our lives and still visit it every time we get back to Gatlinburg appreciate it!
    You want to know what’s sad to me? Take a walk up the strip which you to be filled with unique locally owned and operated businesses, attractions, restaurants, and hotels are all being slowly replaced by the big hotel chains, chain restaurants, and expensive restaurants and upscale shops! In the past decade or so Gatlinburg has lost a lot of its charm, it’s architecture, and everything made it special! Why not go ahead to bulldoze the rest? I’m sure they could build more box plain shaped stores in their place.

  4. Went once, years ago. BIG disappointment. Now, when my wife and I stroll past, we stage whisper “you’ll be sorry!” to the people in line. It’s the least we can, in good conscience, do.

  5. This attraction, along with World of Illusions and Hauntings, gave Gatlinburg its unique charm. Now, most of them have sadly been replaced with Moonshine stores and other generic shops. Gatlinburg isn’t as fun as it used to be.

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