SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The newest roller coaster at California's Great America, Gold Striker, will now include the world's longest covered initial descent tunnel on a wooden coaster. Adding intrigue to the record setting feature, Gold Striker's 174-foot tunnel will be enclosed by wood on both sides, corrugated metal on top and in-fill underneath the tracks, to replicate a true gold mine feel. The only visible light on Gold Striker's initial descent, which will hurl riders down a 50 degree slope at almost 54 miles per hour, will be following the first turn, creating a nearly pitch black visual. "This fully-enclosed, twisting tunnel truly is a special element among wooden roller coasters," California's Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg said. "Gold Striker riders will experience the unique sensation of rapid acceleration in almost complete darkness." Leadership from the American Coaster Enthusiasts provided valuable research verifying Gold Striker's record setting tunnel, and framing has begun on the signature coaster element. "Gold Striker will provide the nostalgia of a wooden coaster, along with an incredibly smooth ride. It is where gold rush meets adrenaline rush," Rehnborg said. High-speed twists, turns, drops, a station fly-by and the Old West are additional features of Gold Striker, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2013. The ride will stand 108 feet at its highest point with a first drop of 103 feet, making it the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in Northern California. Riders will careen along 3,197 feet of track at speeds close to 54 miles per hour for more than two minutes. The ride's name was chosen to recognize the pioneering and adventurous spirit of the California gold-seekers who rushed to Northern California. Gold Striker is located in the Celebration Plaza area of California's Great America and will be the park's eighth roller coaster. From adding a coaster, to freshening up the entire park with new paint, California's Great America, and parent company Cedar Fair, are making a strong investment to continue being Northern California's premier family entertainment option. Gold Striker is custom designed and built for the topography of California's Great America by Great Coasters International, Inc. (GCI) of Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Two trains will accommodate 24 passengers each (two riders per car and 12 cars per train) with a capacity of 850 riders per hour. Guests must be at least 48 inches tall to ride. Those who cannot wait until spring may take a virtual ride on Gold Striker at cagreatamerica.com. Visitors of cagreatamerica.com may also access exclusive Gold Striker updates and features, including virtual ride renderings, ride statistics and construction photos.