Detailed experimental and numerical studies have been conducted on the heat transfer, pressure loss, and turbulent flow structure of a three-short-pass serpentine cooling channel with miniature W-shaped ribs on the wall under the Reynolds numbers from 8500 to 60,000. Steady-state heat transfer experiments were done to obtain the globally averaged and total heat transfer performance of each ribbed pass of the serpentine channel, and the streamwise pressure loss characteristics of the serpentine-channel flow were also obtained by multipoint pressure measurements. Additionally, the transient liquid crystal thermography technique was also used to obtain the local heat transfer distributions on the miniature W-ribbed surface of each pass. Furthermore, numerical simulations were done by using the AKN k–ε turbulence model to reveal the detailed turbulent flow and heat transfer characteristics in the serpentine channel. The experiments indicate that the miniature W-ribbed short pass has significantly enhanced total heat transfer by a factor of up to 4.0. The total heat transfer enhancement shows appreciably different values in different passes of the serpentine channel, and the second pass shows about 15% higher heat transfer enhancement than the first pass, and the third pass shows the highest heat transfer enhancement, which is about 15% higher than the second pass. The pressure loss measurements indicate that the two flow turnings contribute more than 90% of the total pressure loss in the serpentine channel with one ribbed pass with the miniature W ribs. The numerical simulations indicate that the flow turnings significantly increase the turbulent mixing in the flow of the downstream pass, and the miniature W-ribs on the wall appreciably improve the near-wall vortex mixing, which contributes the heat transfer enhancement.