Take a Scenic Fall Drive on Wisconsin Rustic Roads

Posted: Tue-Aug-2020

Wisconsin Rustic RoadsThe Wisconsin Rustic Roads program offers locals and visitors a leisurely opportunity to travel around the state. As you meander down these beautiful Rustic Roads, you'll encounter some of the best scenery in Wisconsin. Did we mention just how beautiful these drives are during the fall?  Fall in Wisconsin truly is one of our favorite seasons of the year, filled with vibrant colors and a seasonal bounty that we love sharing with our guests. 

Rustic Roads are everywhere in Wisconsin, which means you're free to roam just about anywhere your heart desires.  Whether you want to visit the quiet Northwoods of Wisconsin, the stunning Door Peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin, the hilly topography of Driftless Wisconsin in the southwest, the eastern shoreline along Lake Michigan, or any of the stunningly beautiful & diverse areas in between, know that there are plenty of scenic drives to be taken throughout the state of Wisconsin. 

Make yourself at home at any one of the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts you'll encounter along the way, and you have a recipe for a truly memorable and fun vacation. Our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast members take the meaning of hospitality to a new level, and, most importantly, are dedicated to keeping travelers safe during these unprecedented times. Experience the difference in lodging today, and book direct at one of our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts for your fall adventures!

The 15 Most Scenic Wisconsin Rustic Roads

The Wisconsin Rustic Roads program was created more than 40 years ago as a way to open up Wisconsin's scenic countryside to hikers, bicyclists, and motorists. Today, there are 122 Rustic Roads that have been designated around the state, which cross 61 counties and travel for nearly 740 miles. Though each road stands alone its unique character and scenery, all of them do have a few qualities in common.  According to the state Department of Transportation, all Rustic Roads in Wisconsin share these commonalities:

  • They have outstanding natural features, which include things like rugged terrain, native vegetation and wildlife, and open areas with agricultural vistas. 
  • They are lightly-traveled roads, and thus would be considered off the beaten path destinations. 
  • They don't undergo regular maintenance nor are there anticipated improvements that would change the very rustic nature of the road.
  • They are a minimum of 2 miles long, preferably in a loop, and always connecting to major routes at either end. 

Wisconsin Rustic Roads

Not all of these Wisconsin Rustic Roads are paved, either. You'll find some that are dirt or gravel, too.  Generally, the speed limits along Rustic Roads are slower, which of course allows you ample time to look around and take in the views. These roads are here for a reason, after all, so why would you want to rush your way through the experience?

While each of the 122 Rustic Roads in Wisconsin is truly worth traveling on, we've chosen 15 of the best that we think would make for an exceptional fall adventure. 

  1. Rustic Road 26 in southwest Wisconsin offers exceptional views of the Mississippi River, including the wildlife refuge on Goose Island.
  2. Nearby, you'll find Road #64, which encompasses the Van Loon Wildlife Area.  This area is known for its seven unique bowstring-arch bridges, which happen to make for a beautiful photo opportunity in the fall months.  
  3. Travel along Rustic Roads 55 & 56 in southwest Wisconsin's Driftless Area, and enjoy the fall foliage at Wildcat Mountain State Park.
  4. Get in some more of Driftless Wisconsin's dramatic scenery on Rustic Road 66, another gem in southwestern Wisconsin. 
  5. Central Wisconsin is home to charming roads like Rustic Road 49, which meanders along the Wisconsin River, an area lined with marshes, prairie grasses, and trees. 
  6. Take in some of the scenery of Natural Bridge State Park as you travel along Rustic Road 21
  7. Enjoy the fall bird migration and the stunning seasonal colors along Rustic Road 106, located in south-central Wisconsin, which travels at least in part through the famed Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
  8. Combine Rustic Roads 10, 86, and 115 in southeast Wisconsin together for a sensational 12.7 mile drive through Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit. While here, feel free to hop out of the car for a while and enjoy the hiking trails in the area, which include the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.  You can also climb the tower at Lapham Peak and enjoy one of the best fall views in Wisconsin.
  9. Drive through a 300-year-old tunnel of oak trees along Rustic Road 90, and enjoy some of the most spectacular fall colors in the state. 
  10. Rustic Road 62, just north of Central Wisconsin's town of Wausau, will lead you to the highest point in the state at Timm's Hill County Park. From there, sweeping views alight with the colors of fall are there for your viewing pleasure. 
  11. If you're heading north, find your way to Rustic Road 105 and enjoy winding your way through the stunning Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.  This route will take you across the Smith Rapids Covered Bridge over the South Fork of the Flambeau River, and is simply stunning in the fall. 
  12. There are a bunch of delightful Wisconsin Rustic Roads in the Polk County area - actually the second-highest number of all Wisconsin's counties. The longest of them is road 28, which crosses the Apple River and passes through forests, across farmland, and by old churches and cemeteries. 
  13. Travel along the scenic St. Croix River in Western Wisconsin on Rustic Roads 101 and 103, and enjoy the dramatic sandstone bluffs and trees towering over the river. 
  14. The longest Rustic Road in the state is road #32, which is in northeastern Wisconsin.  Travel along this road, and you'll enjoy the colorful trip through the hardwood forests and the rushing waters of the Thunder and Peshtigo Rivers.  There are plenty of waterfalls to enjoy here, too, as it's in Marinette County, known as the waterfall capital of Wisconsin
  15. Head to Waupaca County, and find three rustic roads grouped together, #'s 57, 23, and 24, which offer you the chance to drive alongside the Crystal River and the area's beautiful apple orchards.  We highly recommend you stop in an orchard or two for some apple-picking fun!

Wisconsin Rustic Roads

Your Home Away From Home

At the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association, we say that staying with one of our member properties is your opportunity to "seek the unique." What this means is that wherever your travels take you in Wisconsin, you can be assured that when you stay with one of our members you are choosing to stay in some of the most outstanding lodging accommodations around the state. There is nothing standard about a stay at a Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, where a comfortable bed to sleep in is just the beginning.  

Our Wisconsin Innkeepers offer nothing but the best in service and hospitality.  Your day will always start with a delicious breakfast - which, as foodies, is a real point of pride for our Innkeepers. Going the extra mile to ensure you have everything you need during your stay, including personalized recommendations for places to go and things to see, come standard with your stay.  

And, as a reminder, when it comes to small and safe accommodations this summer and fall, nothing beats our collection of Inns. Our dedicated group of innkeepers takes cleanliness and the health and wellbeing of our guests seriously, and all are dedicated to taking additional precautions to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of the Coronavirus. This fall, enjoy an entirely new hospitality experience. Book a room at a Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today!

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