Anderson, IN's Racetracks, Park Trails Encourage Outdoor Fun

Fast cars and leisurely hikes. Horse tracks and bike paths. Inside and outside, Anderson has plenty of action.

Kevin Litwin
On Friday, April 26, 2019 - 05:56

Fast cars and leisurely hikes. Horse tracks and bike paths. Inside and outside, Anderson has plenty of action.

Historic Anderson Speedway gives race fans weekly contests and the annual Pay Less Little 500 sprint car race each May. The speedway has divisions for super trucks, thunder cars, winged sprint cars and just about everything else on wheels, all on a track touted as the “the world’s fastest high-bank quarter mile oval.”

At Hoosier Park, racing has legs. The 7/8-mile oval has standardbred, thoroughbred and harness racing. The $300,000-stakes Indiana Derby is considered a premier thoroughbred event, inaugurated at Hoosier Park. Owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc., the track added a new 98,000-square-foot casino with 2,000 slots in 2008.

Not much of a gambler? Mother Nature provides plenty of options, too. Mounds State Park combines history and recreation, with 10 distinct earthworks built by prehistoric American Indians known as the Adena-Hopewell people. The largest mound dates to about 160 B.C. The park also has trails, swimming, fishing, camping and picnic areas.

The 180-acre Rangeline Nature Preserve lines White River with large meadows, a fishing lake and mountain bike trails. Rangeline is just one of many spots of natural beauty operated by the city of Anderson. The parks and recreation department runs four city parks, but the Shadyside complex is Anderson’s crown jewel. The park opened in 1897 as a private playground for railroad workers, and the city bought it in 1923. Improvements came quickly.

In 1928, a local nurseryman designed the Japanese Gardens, which are now along a botanical walk called the Terraced Gardens, and the site remains a popular spot for weddings. Separately, the city bought 87 acres from a sand and gravel company in 1970. Now called the Shadyside Recreation Area, the park features two connected lakes, a bait shop, a covered bridge and 2-plus miles of biking and walking trails that circle the lakes and connect with Shadyside Memorial Park and Anderson’s White River Trail system.


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.