Indiana’s Historic Pathways

Indiana’s Historic Pathways

Indiana’s Historic Pathways, Indiana’s newest scenic byway.

Indiana’s Historic Pathways (IHP) tell the story of early settlement and transportation in Indiana and westward migration. It began with the footpaths worn by the now extinct Eastern American bison on their annual trek between Kentucky and the Falls of the Ohio to the prairies of Illinois. These footpaths, known as the Buffalo Trace, were later used by native peoples and European settlers.

The Buffalo Trace and its associated features like buffalo wallows are distinctly visible in places while other stretches have disappeared. The 142.6-mile route originally ran from the Falls of the Ohio to Vincennes.

After the creation of the Indiana Territory in 1800, a road, constructed just north of the Buffalo Trace, served as a stagecoach and wagon route and eventually become U.S. 150.

In the 1850s the railroad, along with a parallel road, provided east-west access across the region linking Cincinnati to St. Louis. Constructed in the 1920s and 30s, U.S. 50 linked the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Today it is still a major east-west federal highway crossing 15 states and the Nation’s capitol.

The byway which traverses 16 counties tells the story of the development of Indiana and the nation’s westward expansion.

Attractions on the Routes

Historic

  • Eight National Register Historic Districts
  • Three National Historic Landmarks
  • 19th century mansions and stagecoach inns
  • State Historic Sites and private sites and museums
  • George Rogers Clark National Park
  • Historic businesses and cemeteries

Natural, Scenic and Recreational

  • Ohio, Wabash, White and Blue Rivers
  • The “Lost River” (National Natural Landmark)
  • Hoosier National Forest
  • Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge
  • State parks, forests, and fish and wildlife areas
  • Nature preserves and old growth forests
  • Camping, hiking and horseback riding
  • Scenic rural countryside
  • Rolling hills with spring and fall color
  • Quaint small town squares
  • Rock outcrops, waterfalls, gorges and vistas

Archaeological

  • Buffalo Trace
  • Native and African American settlement sites

Cultural

  • Annual heritage festivals
  • Outdoor concerts and Interpretative programs
  • Amish and Quaker communities
  • Museums of art and history

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