Guide to RECREATION in Columbus, Indiana
Located five miles east of Columbus, off of Highway 46
More information and photos of Anderson Falls
Directions : from Columbus, go east on SR 46 about 8.5 miles to CR 925 E (on the right) and turn right. The road will turn sharply left, becoming CR 200 N. Follow this road about 2.2 miles to CR 1140 E (on the left just before the creek) and turn left. Go about 0.4 mile to the parking lot on the left.
Blue’s Canoe Livery is located just north of Columbus and nearby Indiana Premium Outlets. It is an outdoor recreation center that provides canoe, kayak, and raft trips on the Driftwood River, as well as camping and smallmouth bass fishing. The most popular river trips flow through a secluded state wildlife preserve and a part of Camp Atterbury wilderness area, where you may encounter deer, beaver, great blue heron, osprey, and wild turkey. There are occasional mild rapids for added excitement. Large groups are welcome, overnight camping is available, and a shelter house can be used for picnics.
See also Pathfinder Outfitters for more kayaking adventures in the area.
Columbus BMX is your home for racing excitement and family fun! Anybody, any age, can race BMX. All you need is a bike and a desire to have fun! Come join us at the track to learn more about the exciting sport of BMX racing! There is a spot for everyone in BMX, from the two-year-old on a Strider bike, to the expert racer chasing an Olympic dream, to Moms and Dads looking for a fun new form of exercise.
- View the CERA Park guide (PDF)
Or you can head indoors and use the 30,000-square-foot sports and fitness center with two full gyms, a cardio room, a running/walking track, a weight room, and locker rooms, as well as a Fitness Center to help you achieve your fitness goals! Outdoor enthusiasts will also appreciate how close the park is to two state parks that are favorites in Indiana: Brown County State Park, the largest in the state known for its stunning vistas, is only thirty minutes away, and Clifty Falls State Park, with its must-see waterfalls, is only sixty minutes away.
CERA is also known for its beautiful 355-site campground, including camping cabins, and has been a prime location for motor coach and camping club rallies. In 2013, CERA was given a ranking of 9/10 for facilities, 9/10 for restrooms, and 10/10 for appeal by Good Sam Camping Club and the park is now a Good Sam Certified destination. CERA also hosts many local youth camping retreats for scouts, church groups, and school athletic teams, because they have found that it is a perfect choice for team building and camaraderie.
TripAdvisor reviewer Rhilohso recently wrote, “We had a beautiful campsite right on the lake and under some beautiful pine trees. It was really the best campsite we have ever stayed in. So much nature but also so many others things to do there. We enjoyed kayaking (brought our own), putt putt, disc golf, driving range etc. We took a day trip to Brown County State Park for horseback riding and hiking. Great fall weekend with family.”
In addition, CERA is the host site for Bartholomew County Little League, Fastpitch Softball, and Baseball tournaments and leagues, and is an AAU-sanctioned park.
Photo by The Republic newspaper
The original Swiss chalet style building was designed by Harry Weese as a community building with warming house and changing rooms for an outdoor ice rink. The building exterior features rough-hewn granite boulder battered walls and glass with views to the exterior. The interior features triple-peaked roof with wood beams and planking. A central granite fireplace, highlighting the spacious interior, is surrounded by wooden benches, an inviting sight to chilled skaters.
Because of an increased community interest in ice skating and the need to extend the skating season, the community decided to enclose the outdoor rink in 1975. Koster and Associates designed the enclosure of the large ice arena as an extension of the existing center with similar exterior materials and architectural details, and now includes a regulation- sized hockey rink and an adjacent practice rink, so the facility offers year-round skating.
Jolie Crider Memorial Skate Park
The city’s latest design destination is unique – it’s a skatepark designed by Janne Saario, a Finnish landscape architect and former professional skater.
As noted in an Oct. 1, 2019 New York Times article: “The podcast ’99 Percent Invisible’ got Mr. Saario the job: Jonathan Nesci, a designer who lives in Columbus and is the father of a skater, cold-emailed the architect after listening to ‘The Pool and the Stream,’ a 2017 episode about the connection between curvaceous swimming pools and skatepark design featuring Mr. Saario.” – read the full NYT article by Alexandra Lange
See more photos of the skatepark
Mill Race Park is managed by Columbus Parks and Recreation. Contact them at (812) 376-2680.
Learn more about walking and biking in Columbus
Touch the Earth / Tangeman Woods
Touch the Earth
Located conveniently near State Road 46 just west of Columbus, this preserve is one of the larger protected natural areas in Bartholomew County and is an excellent spot for hiking and bird watching. Sycamore’s Tangeman Woods preserve is less than a mile away, just on the other side of State Road 46.
A mowed parking area along County Club Road provides access to two miles of mowed trails through scenic woods and former farm fields that have reverted to nature. The trail features several benches and an observation deck. Dedicated neighbors volunteer to keep the trail and parking area mowed for visitors.
Located less than a mile from Tangeman Woods
Tangeman Woods is a beautiful mixed hardwood forest with intermittent creeks, located on the eastern edge of southern Indiana’s rugged Norman Upland. The Outdoor Lab nature trail, created by the Bartholomew County Soil and Water Conservation District in the 1970s, is still used for school field trips, including those conducted by Sycamore’s Environmental Education Program.
The Outdoor Lab trail features bridges over shallow but steep ravines, which have been repaired and enhanced by several Boy Scout service projects. Sycamore staff have worked to enhance the forest by controlling invasive bushes including privet and burning bush, and monitor annually for garlic mustard near the trailhead.
Located less than a mile from Touch the Earth
Otter Creek Golf Course
Many championship tournaments have been held at this property, including: the 1991 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, AJGA tournaments, NCAA regional championships, the Independent Youth classic, and the Indiana Men’s Amateur Championship – 26 times. The course has also served as a qualification site for the U.S and Senior Open, plus the National Public Links.
- Go to the Otter Creek Golf Course page, with more information about the course
- View photos of Otter Creek during the 2014 AJGA golf tournament
Greenbelt Golf Course (9 holes)
1000 N Gladstone Ave, Columbus,
Previously Columbus Golf Club, the course was established in the 1930s. In 1974, Columbus Golf Club was turned over to the Parks Department, through the encouragement of the City Golf Club Board and the golf community.
RECREATION CLOSE TO COLUMBUS
Brown County State Park is located just thirty miles due west of Columbus. Nicknamed “The Little Smokies,” Brown County has nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges, and fog-shrouded ravines.
Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall colors hot spot, with nearly twenty miles of tree-lined roads and vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forest.
And, of course, Nashville is on the edge of the park and features dozens of art galleries, artisan shops, and restaurants.