Hit the road and enjoy the jaw-dropping nature views found on Wisconsin rustic roads.
In the ‘70s, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation started the rustic roads program to preserve some of the most beautiful country roads. Now, over 120 rustic roads span nearly 740 miles throughout 61 counties.
So, roll down the windows or take the top off. Maybe you’re already riding alfresco-style on a bike or motorcycle. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a leisurely drive and the present moment with family and friends on our rustic roads.
A Short Trip, Big Impact
Wisconsin rustic roads are at least two miles long and easy to navigate. Some feature a closed-loop, while others connect to highways or near state parks and forests, so you can enjoy the journey without worrying about getting lost.
Before cruising down a rustic road in a car or motorcycle, here are some things you need to know: rustic roads are either one-way or two-way and paved or made of dirt or gravel. Many feature bicycle and hiking paths. And there's no need to rush through the roadway — the max speed limit is 45 miles per hour.
So, how do you know what you’re driving on is a rustic road? Along each of the designated roads is a brown and yellow sign featuring an identification number and the length of the road.
A New Day, A New View
Every season offers motorists a different experience on our rustic roads. See the views blanketed by snow in the winter or the colors of red, orange and yellow in the fall.
Some of the must-see rustic roads include the RR26, a paved, five-mile road in La Crosse with views of the Mississippi River Valley and the Wisconsin Great River Road. The RR13 is a three-mile route through a forested part of St. Croix County and provides a challenging trip for cyclists as the paved path is hilly. Along this route, you’ll see breathtaking views of the Willow River State Park.
And the RR105, one of the longest at 13 miles long, is a loop winding through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Along the way, spot the Smith Rapids Covered Bridge and majestic horses traveling on the equestrian trail. Be sure to pack lunch for the family because you’ll want to stop at a picnic table to enjoy the views a little longer.
It’s easy to work a rustic road or two into your Wisconsin family trip. Take the road less traveled and hop on our beautiful country roads for a journey unlike any other.
Check out the Rustic Roads interactive ArcGIS map for exact routes and locations. You can also download the digital guide.