The toboggan run at Pokagon State Park is attracting more Hoosiers this season than ever before.
Visitors wait hours for their turn on the track on the 30-second thrill ride. A 90-foot vertical drop shoots each toboggan down a quarter mile ice track. The fastest recorded speed is 42 miles per hour.
The track first opened to the public in 1938, when boys from the Civilian Conservation Corps chopped ice from nearby Lake James and packed it into the wooden track.
“There have been many changes to that first toboggan run to what you see today behind me,” says Park Naturalist Marie Laudeman.
The run has two iced tracks now, and the original tower expanded from 20 feet to 30. Today, it stands at 90-feet tall. The attraction gained popularity when the park installed a refrigeration system in the 1970s. Instead of closing down when the temperature climbs above freezing, the run can stay open all winter.
“No matter the weather. No snow, no problem,” Laudeman says. “We hope that in the future maybe we’ll have some sort of a system where the toboggan can be enjoyed in the summertime.”
The toboggan run is open every weekend through the end of February.