Indy’s Top Sledding Hills


The hills reviewed below were largely influenced by this Indy Parks list of approved sledding hills in Indianapolis. We went to all of them, except the asterisked Christian Park*, which offers no worthwhile sledding opportunities.

Because of the way that the routes developed, some suggestions we received on our crowdsourced sledding survey were omitted (Forest Park in Noblesville, Brookshire Golf Course, Cool Creek, Fort Harrison) on this particular round of reviews, but remain on the docket for future reviews. Leave feedback on where we should go next in the comments.

A few additional notes our field study yielded:

  • Sleds: plastic is faster then metal, but metal will outlive plastic.
  • Never underestimate the power of a good push.

 

Holliday Park

Holliday Park

Holliday Park

Where it’s at: 6363 Spring Mill Rd, behind the Nature Center

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: .5

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 1

This hill was recommended to us by someone that completed our survey, who suggested it’s a good spot for younger children to sled. We would agree. There’s enough room for a handful of families to share sledding space and only a few obstacles here and there. There is ample parking space and the hills are easily accessible.

Butler Hill

Butler Bowl Hill

Butler Bowl Hill

Where it’s at: Butler University, right outside of Hinkle Fieldhouse

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 4

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 3.5

This sledding destination is one of Indy’s most famous, for good reason. The hills (one on either end of the football field) end with a pleasant bump at the very bottom, leaving the potential to catch a little air time. The slope is steep and consistent with no obstacles other than the field goal in the center of each side.

Rhodius Park

Rhodius Park

Rhodius Park

Where it’s at: 1001 S. Belmont St. (Haughville)

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 3

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 5

This expansive hill just west of downtown is wide and tall and consumes the entire southwest corner of the park. A sizable lot off of Belmont Street makes it convenient to reach and there are no obstacles in sight. It wouldn’t be rude to build ramps or make other modifications here, as there’s plenty of hillspace for everyone to stake their territory.

Garfield Park

Garfield Park

Garfield Park

Where it’s at: 2450 S. Shelby St. (southside)

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 2.5

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 4

Garfield Park is large and populated with many trees, buildings, parking lots, and other structures. It’s hard to identify which hill would be the most ideal for sledding, as there are many options. We chose the hills to the south and east of the Garfield Park Arts Center and took advantage of the steps leading to the top. Occasionally there were a few trees in the way and some bumpy spots on the way down, but a fun, safe spot to slide nonetheless. Some families may appreciate the shelter houses in close proximity, especially if Grandma or Grandma want to come watch.

garfield park sledding2

Glenn’s Valley Nature Park

Glenn's Valley Nature Park

Glenn’s Valley Nature Park

Where it’s at: 8015 Bluff Road (southside, nearest intersection: Stop 11 Rd & Bluff Road)

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 4

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 3.5

This sledding destination is a no-brainer if you live on the southside. The nature park is populated with trees and only a fraction of it is clear enough for sledding, but the handful of multi-level slopes offer more variety than most. It’s easy to pick up speed from atop the two primary hills and a couple of terribly placed tress present significant danger for inexperienced sledders. The parking lot by the entrance is small and fills up fast, but there’s additional parking at the top of the hill.

Brookside Park

Brookside Park

Brookside Park

Where it’s at: 3500 Brookside Pkwy S. Dr (east of downtown)

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 4

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 4.5

A fair comparison to Butler Hill in speed and slope, Brookside Park has a steady slant devoid of obstacles. Running parallel to the North-South stretch of Brookside Parkway N Dr, the hill has ample room for a nice running start. There’s plenty of room at the top for groups to congregate and the ride down was smooth and generally bump-free.

Elllenberger

Ellenberger Park

Ellenberger Park

Where it’s at: Ellenberger Park, 5301 St. Clair

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: .5

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 2

Ellenberger Park attracts families with small children because of its low-grade bunny hills. If you’re seeking thrills of any kind, steer clear of this east side park.

Southeastway Park

Southeastyway Park

Southeastyway Park

Where it’s at: 5624 South Carroll Road (New Palestine)
Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 4

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 3

Just a short drive off of I 74 tucked away in the rural outskirts of Indianapolis lays King Hill. A large mound backed up against a dense tree line makes for a narrow hill top that necessitates a lot of excuse-me’s and thank-you’s as you scoot along to your launch point.

I spent a fair amount of time waiting for meandering kids to make their way to the side because the speed captured on this hill will take out anything in the sled’s way- small children included. The people here were friendly nonetheless, both as we sat next to each other while waiting for out turn to go, as well as at the bottom when I asked if they were okay after running into my sled (wait for the :20 mark in the video below).

Paul Ruster

Paul Ruster

Paul Ruster

Where it’s at: 11300 E. Prospect St. (far eastside)

Gnarliness on a scale of 1 to 5: 5

Roominess on a scale of 1 to 5: 3.5

Of all the hills we stopped at, Paul Ruster was the only spot that felt like it was truly made for sledding. Climb the big heap of earth from any side of the mound to arrive at 360 degrees of sledding free for all.

Where’s you’re favorite spot to go sledding in Indianapolis? What are your best sledding tips and tricks?