The winding road to Bloomington: The Dixie Highway and State Road 37 in Indiana

Imagery ©2012 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2012 Google.

Modern four-lane State Road 37 bypassed 15 glorious, winding miles of the original Dixie Highway sometime during the 1960s. They are great fun to drive and, because they largely pass through a woods, show how beautiful Indiana can be.

The old road leads right to Bloomington, one of Indiana’s coolest cities and home to Indiana University.

The view along this road can be spectacular in the autumn when all the leaves are changing color. Many scenes just begged for my road-trip companion Dawn and me to stop for a photograph, but there were almost no places to pull over. So it goes on old, narrow, rambling roads.

Finally, a pond’s shore offered a place to park. Here’s the road southbound from there, with Dawn walking along the roadside.

On the Dixie

With few exceptions, the northern half of Indiana is flat and featureless. Thank the ice age’s glaciers for that. It makes for long, straight roads in that part of the state. The glaciers relented starting about this far south, leading to terrain that gets wilder and wilder as you head toward the Ohio River. This is hardly rugged terrain, but it still excites this transplanted northern Indiana boy.

On the Dixie

Autumn hadn’t yet reached its peak when we took this trip, but the trees that had changed were stunningly colorful. This has been a year of arresting oranges.

On the Dixie

We lingered at this pond. Noticing that few cars passed through, we took it slowly the rest of the way to Bloomington so we could enjoy this road as long as we could.

The longest old alignment I’ve found in Indiana is 21 miles long, and was once US 50. Check it out!

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8 responses to “The winding road to Bloomington: The Dixie Highway and State Road 37 in Indiana”

  1. Tori Nelson Avatar

    That pond view is just begging for a picnic. Gorgeous!

    1. Jim Avatar

      From the scene, Dawn texted a photo to one of her kids, who replied, “We need to have a picnic there tomorrow!”

  2. davidvanilla Avatar

    Indeed. Southern Indiana for scenery, Northern Indiana for corn and beans.

    1. Jim Avatar

      For the most part. When I was young, I remember that television coverage of ND football games during peak autumn season would always include a low flyover of South Bend showing the gorgeous color.

  3. Scott Palmer Avatar

    Beautiful. I used to drive to Bloomington a couple of times a week, but I never got a chance to see that. I might take a road trip when we get a nice day on a weekend.

    1. Jim Avatar

      You really should drive this road next time you go to B’ton. The trick is making the turnoff — it looks like just any other country road as you whiz by it on SR 37.

  4. ryoko861 Avatar

    Sort of reminds me of part of the Poconos. Lots of those double yellow lined country roads that are hilly and windy with gorgeous fall foliage with the occasional lake or pond! Very serene and calming! Makes for enjoyable Sunday driving!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Never been to the Poconos. To me, this is a typical southern Indiana country road!

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