The Westside of Indianapolis can be a difficult place to go running as this side of Indy is not usually pedestrian friendly; there are few sidewalks and no bike lanes. And, depending on the neighborhood, personal safety is often a concern. When I started running just over a month ago, I was on the lookout for good places to enjoy my new hobby. Here are the best three parks I’ve found for running on the Westside of Indianapolis.
Krannert Park is part of the Indy Parks system. It is located on High School Road, south of Rockville Road and north of Morris Street. This park has one short .3 mile paved trail, one .7 mile packed dirt and stone trail, and a slightly longer .9 mile trail that adds a brief but enjoyable loop through the woods off of the .7 mile. I like the mixture of paved and packed earth trails at Krannert Park, and the terrain is flat and easy to run. Best of all, on Sunday afternoon when the other parks are the most crowded, this park is nearly deserted. Even in the summer, when the aquatic facility opens up, the pool and family center are closed on Sundays, making for a good solitary run. The only part about running in this park that I don’t like is the lack of variety. I can only run three trails so many different ways before I stop being distracted by my surroundings and realize that I’m running.
Further west is the town of Avon. Going west out of Indianapolis on Rockville Road, you can find the Avon Town Hall Park on the right side of the street, past the intersection with Highway 267. The Avon Town Hall Park also has three trails: One .48 mile loop, one .52 mile loop, and one .5 mile trail to a nearby neighborhood. These trails are all paved and are a mix of running out in the open and through the woods. I like running here because the mileage is clear and accurate. I know for certain when I’ve run two miles. Every time I’ve run there, no matter the time of day or day of the week, there have always been other people in the park. People walk dogs, play the Frisbee golf course, jog or fish. As someone who is new to running, I tend to not want to do it around other people. But I will say that I have never seen the park look crowded; I usually share it with 5 – 10 others at most. This park also has a few hills, by Indiana standards anyway. I often run at the Avon Town Hall Park when I need to know exactly how long it takes me to run a certain distance.
Finally, a little further west and on the left side of Rockville Road is the Washington Township Park. This park is my favorite place to run in the early mornings on weekdays, when I have the whole place to myself. Also, because of the dog park across the street, you’ll almost never meet dogs on the trails. The Washington Township Park has at least a dozen different trails, all packed dirt and all through the woods. You can run every day of the week here and never run the same combination of trails twice. There are beginner trails that are good for running and biking, and advanced trails that are great for hiking or more adventurous runners and bikers. When running here, pay attention to the roots and rocks in the trail. My biggest complaint with this as a running park is that the mileages of the trails are odd. Normally I’ll run the .33 mile trail twice, run down the .13 mile trail to the lower trails, run once around the .43 mile trail and twice around the .4 mile trail, all the while doing math in my head to figure out how long I’ve actually run. Still, this is trail running at its best on the Westside of Indianapolis.
These three parks each have their pros and cons, but they all offer a safe, fun place for Westside runners.