SANATOGA PA – If you’re a little bit adventurous, and you like a fall walk in the woods – don’t worry, they’re not at all deep, and are dark only at night – you can still explore the remnants of Sanatoga Park’s famous Alpine Dips roller coaster. They’re easy to find, and out in plain view.
Travel to Lower Pottsgrove Township’s historic park by either one of two ways: via South Sanatoga Road from its intersection at East High Street (the corner where Cutillo’s Restaurant stands); or via South Park Road, which also intersects East High (across from the Sanatoga Corp. appliance store).
- We’ve relied on Google to map the routes for you (on the slim chance you’ve never been there).
South Sanatoga Road takes you into the park’s lower portion, fronting Sanatoga Lake (top) and its popular fishing area (above). If you park there, or nearby, look east … past the band shell and the covered picnic area, to the treeline across the top of the hill. That’s where you’re headed.
If you enter from South Park Road, you’ll be in the park’s upper portion, where the township has built a large children’s playground, a baseball stadium, a large soccer field, and a comfortable asphalt walking and biking path. There’s plenty of parking here, too. The treeline will be on your right, across from the ball field and just west beyond the marked spaces for cars.
The treeline stretches down the hill for dozens of feet, but this mini-forest is not dense, and you’ll easily see the parking at the top and the lake at the bottom. Walk carefully; the rolling hill can be a little steep in places, but not dangerously so.
You’ll find the roller coaster “ruins” there. Not much is left. A concrete buttressing wall (above) still holds the fixtures and one plank of a deteriorating bench. A former stone and concrete platform is now overgrown with vegetation that has filled its voids and cracks for decades. Trees have sprung from and rooted themselves among a series of broad steps that once led to popular food stands and out-buildings.
And, here and there, you’ll see squared concrete pillars which once held the supporting structure that kept the roller coaster aloft.
While you’re there, peer out west and down, toward the lake. Think what it must have been like to see its water from high in the air, at the peak of The Alpine Dips, just before riders plunged down and screamed while they laughed. Now that’s a thrill!
If you go on this field trip, some caveats:
- Make sure you visit the park only during hours in which it is open; you’ll risk a different kind of thrill – encountering Lower Pottsgrove Police, for instance – at any other time.
- Dress appropriately, including footwear. It’s possible to lose your balance or snag a shoe, and the township declares it will not be held liable for your frolics on park property.
- Go with others, not by yourself, so you have companionship and help in case problems arise.