Perhaps the most enjoyable way to witness the picturesque landscape of America the Beautiful is taking the car out for a ride. But you don’t have to trek from sea to shining sea to experience its magnificence. Much of it can be found right here in Indiana, the Crossroads of America. Here are four scenic rides that are almost sure to take your breath away:
Brown County Loop
Indiana is known for its flatlands, straight streets, and sprawling acres, peppered with a cornucopia of agricultural products, corn included. It has its fair share of backwoods as well, perhaps none finer or more quintessentially agrarian than Brown County. The appropriately named Brown County Loop spans approximately 50 miles of serpentine back roads filled with eye-gazing attractions like The Story Inn, The Brown County Historical Society, and the Brown County State Park. The fall foliage makes the excursion “hue-rifically” colorful, but the rich shades of green in summer are a most welcome backdrop.
It’s only fitting that Parke County has the name it does: To fully take the gorgeous scenery in, parking is recommended. You won’t be idling for long, though, not if you want to realize why Parke County is the Covered Bridge Capital of the World. From the Big Rocky Fork Covered Bridge southeast of Mansfield to the Harry Evans Covered Bridge northwest of Coxville, there are nearly three dozen covered bridges spanning the Hoosier State, several of which were built in the early 19th century. Entering their confines is the closest thing to a time machine you’ll find in Indiana – assuming you don’t have a flux capacitor on board.
Wabash River Scenic Byway
For as long as it’s been here, this sizeable stretch has been known as the River Road Scenic Byway, but it went through a name change in 2008, now dubbed the Wabash River Scenic Byway, after Indiana’s state river of the same name, which spans an impressive 503 miles. The noon-day sun or the sparkle of moonlight reflecting off the Wabash’s gently bubbling waters is a sight to behold. And because it meanders through a huge swath of the state, the view is delightful from wherever you’re coming from, be it Haute, Huntington, Logansport, or Lafayette.
Historic National Road
Speaking of huge, Historic National Road fits the billing. At 824 miles, this infrastructural wonder was a groundbreaker, if you will, becoming the United States’ first federally funded interstate highway. Also known as All-American Road, the stretch combs through much of the heartland – including Indiana’s neighbors in Ohio and Illinois – but also Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.