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:
Rustic Road 60: County K, between County N and County M.
Length: 11.7 miles
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.
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.
Rustic Road 70: Between Highway 70 and Blue Lake Road.
Length: 4.5 miles
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.
Rustic Road 54: Exit off I-94 at the Millston exit.
Length: 12.3 miles
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.