More than 90,000 intrepid travelers make the annual pilgrimage to Pokagon State Park in Angola to experience Indiana’s quintessential winter thrill ride down a refrigerated track. The Civilian Conservation Corps Company 556 constructed the legendary quarter-mile toboggan run way back in 1935, opening it up to public access a few years later.“The toboggan run is an iconic attraction,” says interpretive naturalist Nicky Ball. “It gives our visitors a feeling of nostalgia as generation after generation enjoys it each year.”
The adventure starts atop a 30-foot tower, loading up four passengers per sled before barreling down a 90-foot drop over the course of the run. Coasting at speeds up to about 45 miles per hour, it takes just 20 to 30 seconds to complete the exhilarating journey.
Expect to wait in line for at least an hour, or longer, during busy weekends. You’ll also pay a one-hour toboggan rental fee of $20 in addition to the $7 state park vehicle entrance fee.
“Riders are responsible for transporting their toboggan sleds back to the top of the run,” Ball adds. “Some riders have a driver meet them at the bottom of the run with a truck, then load the sled and drive it back to the top.” Smart.
More good-to-knows: Gloves are required, and if your hat happens to fly off, just let it go—staff members will safely retrieve it for you. Cell phone video recordings, as well as GoPro cameras, are strictly forbidden.
Make a weekend of it by booking a room at the Potawatomi Inn Resort and Conference Center ($125 to $250). At the very least, duck into the Lakeview Restaurant to load up on some good, old fashioned Hoosier cooking.
Want a ticket to ride? Better hurry. The season ends February 26.
450 Lane 100 Lake James, Angola, 260-833-2012, tobogganrun.com
VEAL PHOTO COURTESY JANET VEAL-DRUMMOND; POKAGON PHOTO COURTESY DNR; MUG PHOTOS BY TONY VALAINIS ■