The Best Guide to Motorcycle Roads, Rides & Events

West Central Indiana: Hwy 234 & Sugar Creek Canyon + ADD NEW ROUTE


16   in Indiana Indiana85 Miles

By Moe
on March 1, 2004

3.6out of 5

14 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

Start and end this ride in North Salem (Indiana) at the intersection of IN 236 and IN 75. There is a gas station with convenience store and cafe, a second café down the street, and the Red Dog Saloon: lots of places to meet your riding buddies. Go north on state route 75 from North Salem, and roller-coaster your way along Big Walnut Creek to IN 234 in Jamestown; then turn west. A lot of motorcycles have been crossing paths lately on Indiana 234. Things get interesting right away. Just try to resist wicking up the throttle on the first set of wide, flat sweepers after leaving Jamestown. Then, through Ladoga, it's more wide high speed sweepers: right, then left, then right - one after the other. Enjoy them now, because things are about to get a lot tighter. At the stop sign, cross US 231, then a few miles later, cross IN 47. Continue west on 234, and enter the "tingle" zone. This is a series of hilly, tight radius turns; all on a wonderfully smooth piece of tarmac. Each time your foot pegs scrape it, the back of your neck will tingle. If you notice, there's a neat old church, and a tidy old farm implement museum between the last right and left-hander. This is Freedom. What a great name for a town. Maybe you can make the stop; I never could. A little further west, pass by the entrance to Shades State Park. On the next section of 234, leave your "shades" in your pocket because the lanes narrow, the woods close in, and the road drops into Sugar Creek canyon. If it's early, the pavement may be wet. If you make it to the bottom intact, cross the bridge, turn left into the Deer Mill Covered Bridge parking area, and treat yourself to the view of this beautiful canyon along Sugar Creek. Mount up, and get back to 234 because there's more. Climb out of this tight wooded canyon heading west through one twisty after the other, being careful not to scrape any tree bark with your bar ends. Just hearing that throaty exhaust note of the big thumper reverberating though these woods reminds me of riding Skyline Boulevard heading for Alice's. Whoa! Reality check! A few roller coaster miles later, arrive at Hwy US 41 at the stop sign, and turn south. This is a beautiful section of old 41 as it meanders through wooded hills and past rock studded creeks. There are lots of Amish around these parts, and early Sunday, they're all headed for church in their horse-drawn buggies. So, watch out for them and anything the horse may leave behind. After a few miles, look for the IN 47 turnoff towards Turkey Run State Park and take a left there (head east on to IN 47). [A short, interesting side trip may be taken a few miles past the entrance to the park. Watch for a carved wooden sign on the left indicating the Narrows Covered Bridge. Turn off 47 for a few miles to find another fantastic view of Sugar Creek canyon at the Narrows.] If you're getting hungry, get back on IN 47 and head north past Turkey Run Golf Course and Waveland Lake and drive into the town of Waveland by turning right on IN 59 (now you're heading south) and look for Brenda's café - downtown on the left. Or, if you want wait to eat at the Red Dog Saloon, continue south on IN 59 through Waveland to the stop sign at IN 236. Here turn left on 236 heading east and take this all the way back to North Salem. There you can shut the bike down at the Red Dog Saloon where lunch is waiting. This trip is just under a hundred miles, and makes a nice early morning ride: Sunday or any day. So, here's hoping our motorcycles cross paths one day on Indiana 234.

Scenery

This ride covers Hendricks, Putnam, Montgomery, Fountain and my favorite, Parke County. One can expect to see carved sandstone canyons, covered bridges, two state parks, quaint old towns with old fashioned saloons, cafes and soda fountains, horse drawn Amish buggies and on any Sunday, a lot of motorcycles. It's easy to see why IN 234 is becoming a favorite among motorcyclists: the scenery, places to stop and visit, and best of all, excellent pavement.

Road Quality

IN 234 is a rider's ride. Viewed in that respect, it has everything to offer: broad high speed sweepers; narrow, tight curves through wooded hills, and roller coaster-like rides across lush countryside; all this on pavement that would impress a California rider, which I was for almost twenty years.

Roadside Amenities

After moving to Indiana, my wife and I wanted to continue our tradition of occasional Sunday morning rides. Besides smooth, twisty pavement, another prerequisite was a café that we could stop for breakfast. This ride offers both. I suppose the tourist in us likes to stop and check out places like North Salem with its quaint antique shops and old fashioned sundries store complete with original soda fountain. And there's the Red Dog Saloon, a favorite local watering hole and meeting place. Other "tourist" attractions include Ladoga, where one can enjoy viewing the graceful old Victorian homes along 234 - some restored; some not. Shades State Park is canoe country - Sugar Creek runs right through it. There's great camping here, but the best way to view the entire Sugar Creek canyon is by canoe or kayak. The river trip from Shades to Turkey Run is about four easy hours. Rentals are available at the Hwy 234 bridge crossing Sugar Creek. Turkey Run State Park is like nowhere else in the state of Indiana. There's great camping here too, but stop at the Turkey Run Inn for a great breakfast (open at 7 am) or lunch. If it's Sunday, the all-you-can-eat brunch is terrific. Not to worry, you can walk off that brunch on the trails in the park. Don't miss Sunset Point and the old Log Church. Then, hike down to the river, and cross the suspension footbridge. Turkey Run State Park is a very special place. If you golf, Turkey Run Golf Course is one of the most challenging in the state. You won't believe this place. Waveland Lake recreation area has great fishing, boating and camping, and the hamlet of Waveland has Brenda's Café with early Sunday morning breakfast!

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) : Moe

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By VStar1300
on August 15, 2012 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Yamaha (STAR)

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

A friend and I just did this ride last weekend while in Rockville, IN checking out the covered bridges and really had a great time....we are from Illinois just east of St. Louis which is almost entirely devoid of anything resembling twisties so it was fun to do this ride....No, it's not the Dragon but it's a combo ride where some of it is laid back and relaxing and at times it's a little technical. Road conditions were pretty decent in most areas and all in all it was a great way to spend one of our mornings in the area.

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By Guest
on October 8, 2010 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2007

Motorcycle Make Yamaha

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

I live in North Salem. Roads, scenery and anemities are very nice. Friendly people along this route. Red Dog Saloon (in North Salem) is no longer open. Many covered bridges in this area. Although some are on gravel and/or narrow out of the way locations.

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By Guest
on May 14, 2010 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

3.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1980

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Touring

Alice and I usually go out here to ride at least twice per month, if we're not off somewhere on a poker run. She was raised in Roachdale on hwy 236, so we end up riding around to see her "things". Great scenery. We just might have to make the stops mentioned in this article. Great write-up!

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By Guest
on July 10, 2012 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

2.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2005

Motorcycle Make Suzuki Boulevard C50T

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Since we live in IL. about 28 miles west of Terre Haute, we came up to this ride taking Rt.41 North out of T.H. and hot on Rt.47 That ride is a nice ride with some hills and curves. I'm sorry, but my wife and I just wasn't so impressed with the authors routes. Around Turkey Run Park and Shades Park was nice riding, but thats a very small part of this route. The other parts of it was just pretty boring to us. Seeing miles and miles of corn and bean fields and fairly straight roads on Rt.236 just doesn't trip our trigger. I will say, after we got back on Rt.41 off of Rt.234 we did ride back into Rockville and stopped for lunch at The 36 Saloon. That is a really neat place with great outdoorsmen related decor and we really enjoyed the ribeye sandwhich and fries and Pepsi ! That was pretty much the highlite of the trip to us.

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By redvette61
on November 24, 2011 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2010

Motorcycle Make Harley Davidson

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Ride was fantastic in and around the State Parks. Be sure to visit both covered bridges. Route East of 231 is standard farmland. No real excitement except tractors on the highway.

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By Guest
on August 1, 2009 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

3.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Nice peaceful ride, some twisties but nothing too major. Just be careful no to go too far down the road past Narrows Covered Bridge. It is paved, barely....

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By Guest
on July 16, 2009 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2000

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

we took 74 out of indy to 75 then 234. it was a great ride with plenty of scenery, great road conditions although if you go when its a little coolmake sure your dressed for the shade along 234 around shades park.we stopped in waveland to at at big mikes( thanks big mike) food ws great and so was service and prices.some good nastalga with stories for each piece.gassed up a little later and came back through plainfield. a little scenery of woman tanning on her roof on 267 in avonabout 175 mile trip well worth the ride.didnt cross the bridge at the jungle but will next time. see ya on the route

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By Guest
on July 12, 2009 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

3.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2005

Motorcycle Make Triumph

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Not a bad route. Easy ride with mostly open farm land spaces. Best part of the ride is close to the state parks where the trees close in on the road and the road has more turns. Several 90 degree turns along the way.

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By Guest
on February 23, 2009 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2008

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Took this ride in October 08. Loved the ride and color and the covered bridge on 234 off of 41. This was part of 1000 mile cruise that weekend and to be honest, there is no reason to go east of 231. Scenery pretty much the same as the rest of the state. Fields and straight roads with a few curves, nothing really interesting. Loved the road by the covered bridge so much actually stopped and turned around to do it a couple more times.

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By Guest
on October 12, 2008 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2005

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

We took 136 out of Indy to do this little loop. The color change is well under way. Saw no road closure at all. This is every bit as good as described, and is nthing any bagger should miss.

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By Guest
on July 29, 2008 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 1988

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Sport

Im lucky enough to live just a few miles from this area and get to ride through here all the time, just wanted to let other riders know this is as good as he makes it sound, try this ride.

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By Guest
on June 11, 2010 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

3.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2000

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Touring

nice ride. some great roads for bikes, some are ok. dont plan on the red dog saloon being open. it was closed when we were there, the local folks say its closed about as often as it is open.

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By Guest
on September 3, 2008 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2007

Motorcycle Make Suzuki

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

9/2/08 234 is closed between Jamestown and Ladoga. We rode 32 west to Veedersburg, then 41 south to pick up the rest of the route. This left out Shades, but it was still a nice ride. Bob

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By Guest
on July 15, 2008 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2008

Motorcycle Make Suzuki

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Just a little bit of info....this ride was great! My wife, who has been riding for only 3 months, had a blast! The scenery was wonderful and we are looking forward to re-riding in the fall.
The bad news is that Sunday morning, July 13th, the Red Dog Saloon caught fire. So far I have not heard of anything about future plans for the building.

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