Let’s return to my 2007 road trip along Old State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway between Indianapolis and Bloomington.

Windows Live Local map, 2007

A few hundred yards after reaching the dead end of the previous segment of Old State Road 37, I picked up another segment at 700N.

Tracing north from where 700N intersects Old SR 37, past where the road goes through a trailer park, a ridge exists where the road used to go. Notice how it would have curved to flow into the 800N segment.

Looking at that ridge on the map as I researched this trip, I hoped for a juicy abandoned section of this road. I was not disappointed.

Here’s where 700N curves to become Old SR 37 southbound. Notice the path that continues northbound.

Old SR 37

The trailer park was just north of here on Old SR 37, but to access it you have to follow the curve and then drive through the parking lot (where my little red car is parked) to get back on Old SR 37. The trailer park is less than a quarter mile up the road.

Old SR 37

As I drove into the unusually tidy trailer park, a mound of dirt blocked my way. A branch stretched low across the road.

A mound of dirt

I started to get excited — how long would this abandoned stretch be? At first, it looked like the road ended a couple hundred feet ahead.

Abandoned Old SR 37

But as I walked near, I saw that this was where a bridge had once been, and that the road continued on the other side. Fortunately, the creek bank and the creek itself were shallow, and people had placed all sorts of objects in and over the creek to aid roadfans like me in their adventures, so I picked my way across.

Bridge out - Abandoned Old SR 37

As I came up the bank, I saw the concrete road pad with three layers of asphalt on it, a couch dragged out into the middle of the road, and then the road stretching out for a long way before me. Woohoo! I climbed up the bank.

Abandoned SR 37

The abandoned couch was a sad, sad affair. It looked deliberately placed, perfectly perpendicular to the road’s edge.

Abandoned SR 37

The northbound sight from there was glorious overgrown abandoned road as far as the eye could see. What I thought was a ridge on the map was really old road obscured by trees. I am always astonished that without human intervention, roads eventually look like this:

Abandoned SR 37

I couldn’t tell exactly how far I walked along this segment from where I left my car — I guessed about a half mile — making it the longest abandoned road segment I’ve ever seen. Notice how large the trees are beyond where the old road was cut off. This stretch hasn’t been a road in many, many years, at least since 1970, since my 1970 map shows the road along its current alignment.

Abandoned SR 37

The closer I got to the end, the more I could hear cars. At the end, I turned east and saw cars speeding by through the brush and trees. I was probably 30 feet from current SR 37.

State Road 37 from abandoned SR 37

That walk absolutely exhilarated me! It wasn’t until I was halfway back that it occurred to me that people from the trailer park probably used this secluded spot for illicit activities, and that it might not actually be safe to be in there.

Next: more of this old alignment, and the time the police came and chased me away.

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7 responses to “The most exciting abandoned road I’ve ever found”

  1. J P Avatar

    I was thinking that might have been a better trek for two than for one. But what a cool hidden place.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s happened a few times on my road trips that, in retrospect, I wished I had a companion. So far I’ve escaped even threat of harm, though.

  2. brandib1977 Avatar

    What a fun adventure!!! There’s nothing better than exploring and seeing something completely different than what you expect.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      This is why we go, isn’t it? To experience something unexpected and exciting?

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Yes! Because you literally never know what’s beyond the next bend.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    You know I love these columns Jim!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There are more to come!

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