Featured Photo #24 – 74 Years & 120 Feet

Featured Photos

Steel Force & Thunderhawk at Dorney Park

I took this photo back in 2003 near the end of a Knoebels & Dorney Park trip. The hyper coaster, Steel Force, dominates the skyline at the Allentown, PA park. And here, it dominates the classic woodie Thunderhawk. Steel Force’s peak reaches the 200 foot mark while the wooden coaster in the foreground is only 80 feet tall. There are nearly 75 years between these two coasters and the advances in technology over those years have been numerous.

Read my mini Steel Force at Dorney Park review.

What’s Your Take?
What do you Steel Force and Thunderhawk at Dorney Park? Leave a comment below.

Photos, content, and the most insightful, entertaining, or amusing reader comments from my Photo of the Week posts will be included my new book. Read more about my book project. All images are the property of TheCoasterCritic.com


  1. the juxtaposition of the old and new looks pretty awesome, although it makes Thunderhawk look fairly puny.

  2. Steel Force has some of the best airtime ever, I don't really remember Thunderhawk though.

  3. Grandpa and grandson side by side.

  4. I like the photo, as well as the title. I thought that you were talking about one of the coasters, not both.

  5. Just went to Dorney Park last weekend and rode both Thunderhawk and Steel Force in succession. It was my fiance's first hypercoaster, and my first REAL one (Goliath SFMM doesn't count). Quite the thrill and especially fun seeing as how I didn't tell her about the multiple camel humps at the end (she has a love/hate relationship with drops).

    • How does that not count?

      • Because Goliath at Six Flag Magic Mountain sucks. Yes, it's over 200 ft tall, but the drop is nothing to write home about at a 60 degree angle, and there is practically no airtime whatsoever on the ride. Great drops and airtime are the LEAST that I'd expect out of a hypercoaster.

        • It's still a hyper, it just focuses on the intense positive g forces. I guess you could call it a hyper twister like SFGAm used to market Raging Bull as.

  6. Dorney is my home park only 20 minutes away. I always notice these pictures with steel force and thunderhawk. It always makes me think the same thing that these are two different coasters from different times. On a personal note, i would be looking at my favorite(steel force) and least favorite(thunderhawk) coasters at the park. Steel Force is a good hypercoaster with lots of airtime and hills. The only problems I have with it is that its drop isnt steep enough, and that the trains enclose you in it as oppose to Intamin and B&M hypers. Thunderhawk is one of the worst wooden coasters ive ever been on. It has a boring and short layout, but is also very painful. Your head smashes against the back, you get thrown against the sides, thrown up against your seatbelt(airtime but in a harsh way), etc. The only thing i like about thunderhawk are those 2 or 3 small humps leading back to the station. Still, these are two game changers for Dorney. Thunderhawk because it was dorneys first coaster, and Steel Force because it was dorney's first big, modern, hyper coaster.

    • Thunderhawk wasn't THAT bad to me, but that was probably only because I had already experienced Wildcat at Hersheypark the day before. Now THAT was one of the most painful rides I've been on. Of course I rode El Toro the day after I went to Dorney Park and now I'll never look at woodies the same again…

      • yeah wildcat is very painful, more than thunderhawk. And no woodie is ever the same after riding el toro!

  7. Dorney was one of my favorites as a kid. Only the one coaster then, and it had no name. It did have a tunnel right out of the station, though and you could always smell the grease in the air on a hot day. And no such thing as trim brakes. It was fun! And Steel Force makes it into my Top 20 Steels. Incredible air on those bunny hops! I still love hitting Dorney Park. And Talon is INTENSE!

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