One of the most revolutionary rides developed by Six Flags in cooperation with Arrow Dynamics Corporation was the log flume. Earlier in the 20th century, "shoot the chutes" style boat rides were the big innovation in amusement parks, but they were one trick rides and not very safe. The development of the log flume ride in 1963 was an immediate hit combining the thrills of roller coasters with water which were the perfect combination for the traditional summer season for theme parks. The flume ride became a staple of nearly all theme parks and amusement parks around the world, delighting millions of riders. 


From the earliest concepts of Great Adventure, a log flume style ride was envisioned as being one of the park's main attractions. The ride was planned for the Enchanted Forest and was included in the final design of the theme park when the modified and scaled down designs took shape. Warner LeRoy's visions for the park wanted everything to be larger than life and the biggest and best in the world, and the Log Flume was to be no exception as the world's longest flume ride.

   In early 1974 construction on the theme park began and one of the biggest attractions built was the Log Flume, which was designed to run through a wooded peninsula. Like with the rest of the park, construction was planned very carefully with the preservation of as many trees as possible.
Construction of the ride's station was a big job with the octagonal concrete base for the building serving as the foundation for the building as well as holding water.  The station for the Log Flume was one of the first of Arrow Dynamics flume rides to utilize a turntable loading and unloading platform, designed to keep the ride vehicles moving and increase throughput.

Once the concrete walls were in place, the wooden structure of the station roof went up along with a tower which would support the huge water wheel. At the top of the tower a chute would pump water onto the wheel, turning it and creating an additional way for guests to get wet.
In front of the ride station, the huge retention pond took shape with its concrete lining. The walls of the pool were lined with decorative stack stone creating a rustic look to match the western themed section of the park.

Out on the peninsula the ride's trough took shape, with the massive support columns being installed among the trees.  The steel spine that supported the trough was then installed and the metal brackets which hold the fiberglass trough were attached.  Finally, the fiberglass was put in place section by section and the pieces were sealed and made watertight.
As the July 1st opening day drew near, the final touches were put in place on the Log Flume. Despite all the best efforts of the crews, the Log Flume and the rest of the Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin' area of the park were not quite finished, and the area opened three days later on July 4th, 1974.
Once the Log Flume opened, it immediately became a huge success, becoming the most popular ride in the park in the summer heat. Long lines of guests waited for hours in the hot sun to get their chance to ride. Originally, the ride had no covered queue, with the lines snaking through the area where the queue house would later be constructed.  Lines were so long that an additional overflow queue are was setup on the walkway along the lake to accommodate guests.

The Log Flume was considered by many guests to be a nearly perfect ride, combining the thrills of a roller coaster with the exciting splash of refreshing, cool water. The long ride time made most guests feel like the long wait was worth it.

Like the other attractions in the Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin' area of the park, the details of the ride like the setting, the colorful shingled wooden structure of the station, the huge waterwheel and the crystal clear water of the retention pond were just fantastic.  While some guests had seen or ridden flumes in places like the New York World's Fair or Coney Island, no previous flume ride in the area had been nearly as large or as elaborate.

The Log Flume's final drop mirrored the neighboring Super Teepee and the giant structure looming next to the final drop served to make the final hill look even bigger and more daunting as riders ascended the lift hill before making the big plunge.

The final drop of the Log Flume was strategically placed so it could be viewed by no riders both along the pathways and from the patios of the Best of the West restaurant. The bridge that served as the entrance to Best of the West offered a great place to stand and watch the boats splash down. Though tame looking by today's standards, the final drop of the Log Flume was quite intimidating to many guests, and many enjoyed just standing and watching the ride.



The Log Flume featured an elaborate fiberglass log sign at its entrance and despite the size and visibility of the sign, guests often couldn't find the entrance (a problem to this day). Often guests would cross the bridge to Best of the West where the ride's exit is now located.

When we put the book "Images of America: Six Flags Great Adventure" we wanted to find a photo that really represented the park, and the Log Flume was the perfect symbol. As one of the original rides and still being one of the most popular, we felt it was the best choice.  We always get the question, "do you know who those people are?" and the answer is no, but we would love to find out!
  While doing research on the park, we discovered something unique that was not documented anywhere we could find, and that was that the Log Flume originally featured an uphill section.  Apparently this was a short lived feature that was located on the back edge of the ride where the second drop is now.  The track featured a drop that using the boats' momentum allowed them to climb up the small hill to the trough. The uphill feature was removed after several seasons most likely for safety and operational reasons. Other Arrow flume rides had this same feature as well, and most seem to have removed it with the exception of the flume ride at Kennywood park in Pittsburgh, PA.

  Something taken for granted in many parks is the "on-ride" photo, but the idea of doing photos like this was really pioneered at Great Adventure with the original Flume Photos. 

The way the system originally worked (before the advent of digital photography) was guests would go to the photo booth and pre-purchase their picture.  They would then be given a small orange flag which went into a hole in the flume boats. A photographer would be stationed in the Flume Photo building and would have to watch for those flags and snap a picture of the boat as it went down the drop.  The pictures were instant and guests could then pick them up after exiting the ride.

The system worked fairly well, but if the photographer was distracted or had a malfunction with the camera the guests would either have to re-ride or get a refund.  Most went for the re-ride since they were sent back up the exit and didn't have to wait on line for a second chance to ride.

Over the seasons the Log Flume has had minor modifications and improvements.  The color of the trough has changed several times as it has been repainted.  The lighting in the station has been updated, with the dozens of incandescent lights being replaced with large mercury vapor lamps which are more efficient and brighter. The waterwheel has been rebuilt several times as the wooden parts have rotted out.  Periodically the rubber lift belts and rollers beneath them have been replaced as they wear out. The metal tracks on the drops periodically are replaced as they also wear out from the constant use each season.
Early in the history of the Log Flume a boat capsized in the trough at the end of the drop. Modifications were quickly made, adding safety rails along the sharp curve sections in and out of the station, and additional holes were added to the trough to allow additional "watering-off" lowering the water level and reducing the amount of floating that the boats actually do.  The flume boats are designed to float, but are stabilized with wheels that roll down the drops. The drops on the flume are designed to have minimal water on them, relying on the wheels beneath the boats for added stability.

Manufacturer: Arrow Development Co. - California
Ride Model: Log Flume
Number of Logs: 27 Boats
Log Capacity: 5 Adults or 900 lbs
Number of Guests per Cycle: 135
Ride Duration: 5 minutes
Loading/Unloading Time: 90 seconds
Approximate Capacity: 1215 guests per hour
Water Provision: Ride reservoir: pump under lift #1
Station Turntable Rotation: Clockwise
Height of Ride: 40 feet 5 7/8 inches at highest point
Ride Length: 2160 feet

Source: 1994 Six Flags Great Adventure Fact Sheet

1974-1975 The Flume
1976-1977 Log Flume
1978-1980 Nestea Log Flume
1981-1985 Log Flume
1986 7-Up Log Flume
1987-1992 Log Flume
1993-Present Log Flume -
Gold Rush Saw Mill
As part of the park's safety improvements in 1988, a fence was added around the Log Flume's retention ponds.  Up to that point the low stone wall was the only barrier between guests and the water. 

When Time Warner owned Six Flags and the themed elements of the park were enhanced, the Log Flume was given a large new sign on the water wheel, with the new name Gold Rush Saw Mill.  At this time the flume boats were also updated with the Great Adventure name being removed and the more generic Six Flags name placed on the boats.

Originally, the path to the station featured side by side staircases - the right side was for guests going up to the platform to ride and the left side was for exiting riders.  Often those exiting riders would jump back into line, cutting all the guests waiting in the queue house.  This became such a major issue that around 1990, a new elevated walkway was built over the rotating station platform so that exiting riders were led away from the queue house of waiting guests and were deposited at the Best of the West patio without a chance to cut back into the line. 

The on-ride photo system was updated as technology improved with the original Flume Photo booth being removed from its location at the base of the last drop.  A new photo booth was constructed right at the ride exit so guests would pass by as they got off the ride and could see their pictures. 

Other changes made to the Log Flume in recent years have been the addition of coin operated sprayers offering an additional chance for riders to get wet. 

The park's Fast Lane (now known as Flash Pass) system was added to the ride as well, with the original exit  trail now being used by guests to bypass the queue house.

  As the Log Flume has aged over time, the trough has been patched time and again as leaks appear and are repaired. The retention basin has also been recently been patched during the off seasons with a new concrete lining being applied to the existing pond to stop the leaks that had developed over time.

The Log Flume had been so popular when it first opened that a second flume known as the Hydro Flume was added for the park's sophomore season. Over time with the addition of other water rides and a water park on property the second flume was removed and the Log Flume was once again the park's only flume ride.


More recent additions to the Log Flume have been lockers where riders have been required to store their belongings prior to boarding the ride.  Near the ride's exit a "family dryer" has been added allowing guests to dry off on cooler days.

The overflow queue area behind the ride was removed and replaced with grass after years of sitting unused.

The Log Flume has delighted millions of riders in more than 37 seasons and will hopefully continue to be a favorite of guest for many years to come.