Wild Rose Covered Bridge Tour

Scenic, easy riding on quiet back roads is what Waushara County is all about. As word of this wonderful area for bicycling began to spread, the county parks department was swamped with requests for information on routes. There are only a handful of unpaved roads in the entire county, so riding anywhere is fine. But, people wanted specifics. So local cyclists contributed ten premier routes that are available as Adobe PDF files on the park's website (www.co.waushara.wi.us/parks.htm). The Wild Rose Covered Bridge Tour is one of these routes. The picturesque village of Wild Rose with its cafes and Roberts Park on the scenic millpond makes a great trailhead. Pre- or post-ride you can tour the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery (open daily with self-guided tours 8am-3pm). Its cold-water ponds produce a quarter of all the trout and salmon stocked statewide.Covering gently rolling terrain and well-paved roads, the Covered Bridge Tour pays several visits to the Pine River, the area's Class A trout stream. The stretch along 19th Drive is particularly lovely. Any of the roads are great places for spotting pheasants, deer, fox and a myriad of songbirds. As you approach Saxeville, you'll pedal through the romantic light and shadow of a covered bridge over the Pine River on 24th Lane. When the old bridge needed rebuilding, public funds would only provide a nondescript replacement. So local people volunteered their time, skills and money to build this more appropriate reminder of the past. A landowner adjacent to the bridge has created a garden park making the scene even more picturesque. The tiny village of Saxeville is a popular stop for pie at the local cafe or supplies at its country store that looks little different than it did 100 years ago. Just outside Saxeville, you'll pedal along quiet 26th Road, (Rustic Road 48), that brushes the Pine River and curves around the rolling hills of the area's ground moraine. A pre-Civil War log cabin built on an original 160-acre homestead is visible from the road. In the middle of this 30-mile loop is Kusel County Park, a nice side trip on a hot day when a relaxing dip in a clean lake is a welcome break from pedaling. Nearby Mt. Morris County Park offers a grand overview of the area's lakes, forests and farms. You can hike to the top of this 250-foot remnant of Magnesian limestone that the great continental glacier could not subdue. That's the same glacier that made the rest of Waushara County such wonderful riding terrain.