Monthly Archives: July 2015

July 23, 2015

Four Beautiful Rustic Roads

Photo credit: Wisconsin DOT

If you’d like to take a trip back in time, just look for a simple brown and yellow sign.

These signs mark the location of officially designated Wisconsin Rustic Roads, routes that showcase some of the state’s most beautiful rural scenery. These routes help bikers, hikers and motorists plan unforgettable trips. The lightly traveled routes cover more than 669 miles and offer visitors a chance to experience unique terrain, outstanding views and timeless rural scenery.

The Rustic Roads program marks an important milestone this year – it’s the 40th anniversary of the state’s first rustic road. It’s a great time to explore a road less travelled by discovering one of Wisconsin’s 117 designated Rustic Roads.

Here are four routes that are great places to start your trip back in time:

Vilas County

Rustic Road 60: County K, between County N and County M.
Length: 11.7 miles
Surface: Paved
This route in beautiful Vilas County, winds through the 232,000-acre Northern Highland/American Legion State Forest. Canopies of coniferous and hardwood trees shade the route, which passes near old logging camp sites, hiking trails and an old saw mill located in Star Lake. The area features abundant wildlife and the route offers vistas of clear lakes and dense forestland.

West Bend

Rustic Road 52:  South of Highway 33, east of County Highway M.
Length: 6.7 miles
Surface: Paved / gravel
This route, located east of West Bend, traverses one of the highest points in Washington County and offers a scenic panorama of the surrounding countryside. There are several historical buildings and farmsteads on this wooded, rural rote, including a log home and an old fieldstone house that dates to the late 1800s. The route also passes portions of the Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area—one of the largest and most biologically diverse wetland areas in Wisconsin.

Oneida County

Rustic Road 70: Between Highway 70 and Blue Lake Road.
Length: 4.5 miles
Surface: Gravel/sand/paved
This lightly traveled wilderness road in Oneida County passes log cabins used by some of the original homesteaders in the Minocqua area. The route also passes through hardwood and pine forest and travelers will encounter abundant native wildlife.

Black River Falls Area

Rustic Road 54: Exit off I-94 at the Millston exit.
Length: 12.3 miles
Surface: Paved
This road travels through beautiful hardwood stands and pine tree plantations in the Black River State Forest. The route follows a portion of the Wazee Trail past the Pigeon Creek Campground and the Dike 17 Lookout Tower, where travelers can enjoy miles of marsh vistas. Sandhill cranes, bald eagles, ducks, geese and other wildlife are common sights on the route.


July 9, 2015

Four Unforgettable Bike Rides

 Three Eagle Trail - Vilas County

The Dairy State is known around the world for its outstanding cycling. With more than 112,000 miles of roads, streets and highways, and countless trails and paths, there is no end to the exploration you can do in Wisconsin. Here are four classic Wisconsin rides perfect for riders of all abilities. All four routes offer a sample of what makes here riding so special – beautiful scenery, safe and tranquil riding and ample trailside amenities. Pump up your tires, grab your helmet and get ready for a ride you won’t forget.

Here’s where to find some of Wisconsin’s best biking.

Stevens Point Area

Route name: The Green Circle Trail
Distance: 26 miles
This scenic trail in central Wisconsin, which is open to hiking and biking, loops around the city of Stevens Point. It passes through prairies and wetlands, parks and forests. It also connects to more than 20 miles of additional trail riding and it passes near great restaurants and comfortable hotels. You can find the trail’s headquarters at the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center.

Oneida County and Vilas County

Route name: Three Eagle Trail
Distance: 11.2 miles
Discover the beautiful Three Eagle Trail, which connects the Town of Three Lakes in Oneida County with the City of Eagle River in Vilas County. The trail is in two segments which are connected by a short stretch of road. Riders will enjoy flat stretch along a historic railroad bed and will pass cranberry bogs, the Three Lakes Winery, forests and wetlands. The trail features ample parking, a water fountain and restrooms.

Land O’ Lakes

Route name: Land O’ Lakes Trail
Distance: 8.5 miles
This gentle, paved trail just south of the border of Upper Michigan is a great way to enjoy beautiful Land O’ Lakes on two wheels. The trail runs west of town on County Highway B. The trail passes tranquil lakes, and stands of ancient hemlock and white pine trees. Just off the route Is Black Oak Lake, considered one of the clearest in Wisconsin. Tests by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources measured the average water clarity of this lake at 35 feet.


Route name: Pheasant Branch Conservancy trail
Distance: 1.2 miles; connects to additional miles of cycling paths
Middleton wins awards for its high-quality trails and you’ll find out why as you pedal the Pheasant Branch Corridor Trail. This trail will take you through a tranquil wooded oasis. Pedal footbridges that pass over bubbling streams and through wooded hills dotted with wildflowers. The scenery is so pleasant you might forget you’re a short pedal away from shopping, dining and a variety of attractions, including the National Mustard Museum. This is a trail that any rider can enjoy.