Pokagon State Park, Aurora, IN: Toboggan Run

This past weekend I had the chance to go up to Fort Wayne to see my best friend, Ali, and to go to the toboggan run at Pokagon State Park. Pokagon is about 45-60 minutes north of Fort Wayne (depending where you're coming from in the city).

I had never been on a toboggan and it was a little bit like being on a cross between a normal roller coaster and a water roller coaster: normal roller coasters have tracks, and water coasters don't have seatbelts. It was immensely fun.

We were with two other friends, Kate and Noah, so we rented a four person toboggan. (There were also other sizes down from that, so you definitely don't need four people to go down the run. The maximum is four.) The registration process (below) involves one person filling out a registration card for your group, leaving their driver's license with the desk, paying for the first hour, and being assigned a toboggan. We had the choice between 30lb or 60lb toboggans, and the lady at the desk told us the heavier ones go faster. We took the 60lb one.

Do note that the toboggans are on a first come, first serve basis and there's a chance they will run out. There were plenty when we went on a Saturday morning, but it had been a concern of ours. Luckily (?) it was extremely cold and maybe that scared off a few people. There did wind up being a lot of people around as the day went on, though.

After getting our toboggan, we immediately trekked it up to the run.

A 60lb toboggan is pretty heavy and the four of us traded off carrying it, sometimes two at a time, sometimes three, sometimes all four. The stairs leading up to the launch were metal and kind of slippery. I wish there was a toboggan lift (some other places in the country have them) but perhaps part of the fun is carrying it around from the bottom of the ride to the top.


Above is another group getting ready to launch. There are launch attendants who will help get you onto the toboggan and then send you flying down the ride. There is a removable wooden board that keeps the toboggan from leaving too early, which the attendant will pull out of its slot when you are ready to launch.

The first person sits "criss-cross applesauce", as the attendant told us (aka indian style, aka cross legged), then the second person puts their feet in the first person's lap, then the third person puts their feet in either the second or first person's lap, then the fourth person does the same. It depends a lot on how long-legged your friends are. We took four rides down so that everyone could have a chance at being in front, which is by far the best seat. I got to go in the front first, then Kate, then Noah, then Ali. We also all sat in a different seat each time (I went from first, to fourth, to third, to second). The person in the back holds onto straps while the others hold on to the feet sitting in their lap. My feet went as far as the person in front of me, while everyone else's went at least two laps ahead.

Our first run down was the best, not just for the sheer anticipation and fun of it, but it was also the fastest. We were in the order of me, Ali, Kate, and Noah, and we were on the South Track (there are two - South and North). We went 35 MPH! There is a speed limit sign so you can see just how fast you're going - it's on the left side after the second hill. Unfortunately cameras are not allowed on the ride itself so I have no video of us going down, but it was extremely fun. In the photo above, you can see where the track ends. On this first run, our toboggan went about 15 feet past the end of the track. We didn't see many others do this, and we only managed to get off the track one other time, but only by a couple of feet. Our other runs, with different arrangements, were 33, 34, and 34 MPH. We were on the South Track for our first and fourth runs and the North Track for the middle two. The highest recorded speed is 42 MPH (of course, 42).

The trek back into line took us about 8 minutes, and waiting in line was anywhere from 15-25 minutes as the day went on. We managed four runs in an hour and half (they will charge you for half-hours, so time yourself if you are worried about that). We didn't speed walk to the line, but we didn't dilly-dally either. We saw some resourceful people have one member of their party be a driver who brings their car/truck down to where the toboggan ride ends, load up the toboggan, and drive it back up to the start of the line. We saw this mostly with people who had big groups with multiple toboggans, but it could work for anyone.

Other amenities at the toboggan run are a large parking lot (this photo shows maybe a third of the lot) and a warming building with a concession stand and bathrooms. We took advantage of hot chocolate (8oz for $1.50, 12oz for $2.25) to warm us up after our fun on the ride.

I highly recommend the toboggan for an afternoon of fun in the winter. It opens in November and runs through February (check the official schedule for dates), on weekends except during winter break when it is most days, and runs whether or not there's snow (the track itself is refrigerated). Entrance to the state park is $7 in state/$9 out of state license, and each toboggan is $13 per hour (half hours are $6.50).
Pokagon State Park, Aurora, IN: Toboggan Run Pokagon State Park, Aurora, IN: Toboggan Run Reviewed by Maria on 5:16:00 PM Rating: 5

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