February 14, 2012

Rolling Along the Rustic Roads

Take a journey into the past

The Rustic Roads of Wisconsin are designated stretches of quiet country roads that are recognized for their scenic qualities. These are quiet roadways, perfect for slowly taking in the countryside and enjoying the tranquility of the rural backcountry. Here are three of Wisconsin’s best Rustic Roads.

Just west of Minocqua in Oneida County is Wisconsin’s Rustic Road #58. The first half of Rustic Road #58 is Blue Lake Road, which runs west from Highway 51 to join Mercer Lake Road. You’ll then continue on Mercer Lake Road north to Highway 70. Rustic Road #58 is about ten miles long and passes through a forest of white pine and hardwoods. The road crosses the Bearskin State Trail, perfect for a bicycle ride or quiet walk. The road also crosses the gently flowing Tomahawk River, which offers canoeing and kayaking. The road is just minutes from Minocqua, but you’ll feel like you’re many miles from civilization.

Vilas Hwy 60 Rustic Road

Photo Credit: Steve Callahan

Just south of Boulder Junction in Vilas County, Rustic Road # 60 wanders for 12 miles through the vast Northern Highlands-American Legion State Forest. Much of the road runs beneath a canopy of white pine boughs. Numerous hiking trails intersect with the road, inviting you to stop the car and explore. Abundant wildlife can be found along the entire route, although you have to have a keen eye to catch a glimpse of woodland creatures amid the dense forest cover.

North of Onalaska, near the Van Loon State Wildlife Area, you’ll find one of the state’s shortest and most scenic Rustic Roads. Rustic Road #64 is a 2.7-mile loop that starts and ends at Highway 53/93. The highlight of this peaceful drive is McGilvray Road, also known as Seven Bridges Road. Stop your car and walk through this set of rare bowstring arch bridges. This little road is sure to become one of your favorite drives.

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